In the mid ’80s Jamie’s cousin, Bob, built his home in a lovely rural neighborhood in Morris. I was working for the phone company at the time as a Yellow Pages sales rep. I travelled to different parts of the state canvassing small businesses to advertise in the phone books and I was assigned the Bethlehem, Morris, Litchfield area. This was the first time that I had ever been to this northwestern corner of the state and I immediately fell completely in love. I remember being particularly impressed with the beauty of the sky. At night there were more stars visible than I ever remembered seeing in Connecticut. By day, the sky was a clear, bright blue; it seemed closer to me, almost touchable, and the clouds seemed whiter and puffier. There were rolling hills, open fields, farms, lovely views, country stores! It felt like a place to call home and raise a family. Jamie fell in love once he visited the area also, and soon after we bought a 2 acre lot and in 1987 built our home adjacent to Bob’s property.
During those early years Bob planted nut trees on his land, and we planted fruit trees on ours. Once mature, Bob’s trees began producing beautiful annual harvests of chestnuts and black walnuts. He and his family didn’t take to gathering these gems each fall, so in recent years he told Jamie to help himself. Wow! We’ve been so fortunate and so grateful! Gathering the chestnuts and walnuts has become a welcome addition to our harvesting routine, especially now, because with a heavy heart I write that Bob suddenly passed over late this July. So last week, while Jamie and I gathered these treats, we reminisced about Bob and the good times we shared while raising our families as next door neighbors; he is sorely missed by our entire family. Our neighborhood has suffered a loss, yet the seasons will continue to roll along, the nuts will still drop from the trees, and we will gratefully gather like squirrels preparing for winter.