Indeed. That’s me, at right, with my cousins Craig (left) and Gary. I think we were probably high-school seniors or freshmen in college. It was taken on a lake in upstate New York – we were out on the water with our Uncle Elwood on his small cabin cruiser.

Uncle Elwood was the older brother of my mother and her older sister Charlotte. Aunt Charlotte, who I adored, lived on a farm in upstate New York’s Mohawk River Valley region, where I spent many wonderful days all through my childhood and adolescence; it was my own personal “Fresh Air Fund” escape from Yonkers, plus it was home to Aunt Charlotte’s two boys, Gary and Craig, who were exactly my age…(and many a tale of adventure do the three of us tell, and at least some of the tales are true!)

Unfortunately, geography makes our visits infrequent. Gary’s been in Arizona for years, and Craig’s in Texas. But there’s still that deep family bond of blood and memories. Both cousins have recently showered me with messages of encouragement and love as I’ve dealt with my recent health crisis. Craig sent me this photo this morning.

So, thanks, Craig. And a tip of the hat to Uncle Elwood on this Memorial Day – a truly colorful character, “Unk” was a World War II veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, having lost a leg after being wounded by shrapnel during combat in Europe.

Here’s an appropriate song: Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence,” performed by Bruce Hornsby, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin, et al. It’s certainly a song about bygone days. And it’s a song about America, very appropriate in this dark age of hatred and bigotry and violence on this Memorial Day.

 

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