Sharon Kennedy: A Letter from My Uncle, 1969

“But I like the Great North. Each season holds something special. It might be a soft snowfall, a grey morning with a storm brewing, clearing skies and a dig out after a snowstorm, or maybe the sparkle of a million diamonds on a cold crisp morning as the winter sun beams on faraway fields. Such are the things only lovers of nature can see and feel and admire.

“So often the young generation cannot see the forest for the trees, but that is neither here nor there. Most will never know the aromas I miss that signal home. Green wood smoldering in the old iron stove, bacon and eggs sputtering and sizzling in a cast iron frying pan, coffee brewed on a wood fire.

Uncle Steve during WW2 with his sisters, Marie Daly and Ann Kennedy

“I recall with fond memories the cookout we had on the sand knoll during deer season and when I retire and move back to the sideroad it will be an annual event. And all the womenfolk will be guests. Mac McCrary was in his glory as the sparks and flames shot upward.

“I hope this miserable war will soon end, but our hopes must never fade. When sadness overcomes us, we must think of the courage, faith, and determination of those who have gone before us. Our parents had no money, no jobs, plenty of debts, no transportation, and a life that was raw and hard. I guess what’s helping me write this letter is the darkness at the close of a cold day.

“This will end our visit for now. Keep well, salt the ice on the stoop, and I’ll return next November to hunt in the fields of our father. Oh, yes. I wrote to Buck to let him know he’s in my prayers for a safe return home from Vietnam. I owe Sharon and Judy a letter. All is well here. Always, Steve.”

This letter was written to my mother and was among many I found as I sorted through old boxes. Some readers know Steve Cottelit was Mom’s brother. What most do not know is that he had the heart of a poet and wrote beautiful letters full of imagery and memories of days gone by. I named my daughter Stephanie and gave her the middle names of Mom and her sister Marie, two strong women who never flinched in the face of adversity.

Perhaps Uncle Steve’s gift of writing passed from him to me in some small way. I think he would be pleased to know I see the beauty in his words and in each season as one gives way to the next. I hope readers will be touched by his letter and his love of life’s simple pleasures. Mark recently invited me to contribute to EUP.news. My “news” will not be sensational nor will it be salacious, but, hopefully, it will bring a smile to your lips as we share a common memory.

Sharon’s weekly newspaper columns can be found in the Sault News and the Cheboygan Tribune. Her latest book The SideRoad Kids: Tales from Chippewa County can be purchased directly from her or from Island Books & Crafts in Sault Ste. Marie or from Amazon. Email her at sharonkennedy1947@gmail.com.

Sharon Kennedy
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Sharon Kennedy

Sharon’s weekly newspaper columns can be found in the Sault News and the Cheboygan Tribune. Her latest book The SideRoad Kids: Tales from Chippewa County can be purchased directly from her or from Island Books & Crafts in Sault Ste. Marie or from Amazon. Email her at sharonkennedy1947@gmail.com.

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