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December 29, 2019




By jim richmond

     Like clockwork, the middle aged man drives slowly up to this grave, as I walk past in Memorial Park cemetery many days for more than a year.

     He stops briefly, as if saying in front of the grave: “Dad loves and misses you”

     The grave decorations break all the decoration “rules” of Memorial Cemetery. But staff never touch or trash these ornaments. That are tasteful and changed often

     There is something profound and unusual about this man, this grave, his dead teenager.

     Many, perhaps most of us, just internalize our grief, our longing, our fun memories of a dearly loved one now dead. Thinking of them suddenly, often, reminded….

     Today, there was a beautiful little Christmas tree with gold silk sash, an elaborate red and green wreath on the grave.

     A small yellow package of M and M candy

     A green unopened bottle of Squirt soda

     And a thin, white carton of chocolate covered mints.

     A young person’s death brings trauma that never goes away.

     But a better place for having been in our lives, in that place and time.

     I meander on my Memorial Cemetery walks….but they always take me by and for a small prayer, those or their who I knew, passed young or old.

     Most of all I remember the memories of time shared with them and their families: Nichols, McCann, Laws-Clay, Adams, Ptacin….others

     I pray, hope the young father with lost daughter can move on…… But if not, may his visits bring happy memories, love, as well as sadness

It is never easy for any of us.


December 16, 2019


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by Jim Richmond

In my 50 years of writing newspaper columns, and, more lately, infrequent blogs -- almost all have been about everyday people doing extraordinary things for others.
The Powell Family Stands out.

They belong to little Yorkville Community Church in Richland, Michigan -- a polyglot, some would say,  a true blended family of haves and have nots. On one side of M-89, people of poverty; the other side, some of great wealth along South Gull Lake.  All praying together on Sundays.
The Powells, are a modest family that doesn't seem to see much about status and stature --- but, yet do, about matters in so many other warm, welcoming ways, about this Season, and their own family values.

The four Powell kids....sets of twins (three girls), Carrie and Julie about 16, and Jack and Rachel, say 19, were home schooled ... enrolled in schools or colleges today.

They are nothing short of breathless as expert young concert musicians -- all 4 -- but it isn't music that makes the world go round in the Powell Family.

One suspects it's a sense of purpose, hard work, assisting others, since they attend Church most all Sundays.

They decided as a family they would help those who worry about falling on the ice outside the Church,  with scheduled Powell Family member "valet parking" and helping arm on wintery Sunday morning.

Jack, Rachel and one of the younger daughters also work in non-school hours waitressing at the Dandelion Cafe near South Gull Lake.

I suspect this is just a glimmer, a fraction, a little light, on what the Powell Family contributes, does for others without publicity, notoriety.
A wonderful light in this season of light, giving, and hope.