Giving Thanks and Gifts

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Mary Anne Zak

Giving thanks at Thanksgiving time and gifts at Christmastime, we count and share blessings. Reaching beyond unease toward peace on earth many yearn to rest, not necessarily as “merry gentlemen,” but as faithful people recalling more comfortable times.

Among the blessings we count are each other. Suffield is blessed to be cared about by hundreds of “each others”. We call them volunteers. They serve and care for us in countless ways.

Protecting our lives and property are police, fire, ambulance, health services and young and elder care. “Each others” plant seasonal flowers and flags and stand or sit out in the cold to collect food and clothing for those less fortunate than ourselves. They enrich our lives and spirits with generous gifts of experience, expertise and nature.

A grand gift of nature in recent years has been the Canal Park and Trail along the Connecticut River. Steve Sorrow led the way to the Park.

Following heart surgery fifteen years ago, Steve requested and received permission from the Ahlstrom Corporation for a group of retired volunteers to “hack and slash their way down the old towpath” to create a recreational and historical experience. The Friends of the Windsor Locks Canal Park and Trail organized to create and maintain the safe and beautiful walking and biking path many enjoy today.

Susan and Jonathan Sorrow shared that history along with family history in their joint eulogy of their father. Steve’s memorial photograph is set against a background photo of the Connecticut River Canal Park and Trail area.

Steve Sorrow shared his life in other ways. A volunteer fireman, he was buried in his uniform on his ninetieth birthday, five days before a celebratory luncheon was scheduled to be held.

During the week of Steve’s funeral, our country experienced other tragic deaths in California as vicious forest fires were claiming an unusual number of lives.

In Suffield many mourned not only Steve Sorrow’s passing but also the passing of strangers. We watched with millions of compatriots as people gathered along highways, interstates, overpasses, and sidewalks to honor the funeral procession for Ron Helus moving solemnly through Thousand Oaks, CA. Soon afterwards, we mourned crosses in Flanders Field and the mounting count of the dead in California fires.

Honoring known and unknown dead, we found comfort and healing in sharing sympathy and support. We united in the national, noble spirit of goodness and kindness, and for that great gift, we give thanks. 

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