Posts Tagged ‘brother’

My youngest daughter and I headed down to Florida two months ago. It was her Spring Break and she was looking forward to a respite from the Vermont weather. I was happy to be visiting with one of my brothers.

I like a day at the beach just as much as the next guy. But I also like to do a bit of exploring. So, on one of the days, I suggested visiting an orange grove. Because Florida has miles and miles of citrus farms. Plus I like orange juice.

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There were no tours on this particular day so we scoped out the place and sampled some of the different fruit slices that were being offered. Bought some freshly squeezed juice to bring home.

Leaving the grove we began a version of what my daughter calls, “Moose Hunting.”

You might ask, “What on earth is that?”

Here’s the short version. Said Mary never.

There are many signs posted all over New England highways.

Bear Crossing-Stay Alert

Moose Crossing-Stay Alert

Deer Crossing-Stay Alert

Or the one I observed this past weekend in Vermont.

Wildlife Crossing-Stay Alert

It’s like they (the sign makers) just sighed, gave up and lumped all the animals together. Lazy scuts.

Back to my point. For all of these roadside warnings it is very rare to see a moose.

Deer? Yes.

Bear? Maybe.

Moose? Nah.

They exist, for sure, but no one actually ever sees one.

Enough with the warnings already.

So when my daughter and her college friends go exploring it’s called, “Moose Hunting.”

Sort of like rambling.

Whoever is in the passenger seat will give directions. Knowing they won’t see a moose but keeping hope alive.

“Go left.”

“Go Straight.”

“Go right.”

In the end they will arrive at some random town/destination. It’s just a fun way to get out and explore.

On this day in Florida, my daughter was in the passenger seat as we we left the citrus farm.

She said, “Take a right.”

And then another right.

My brother follows her directions. Drives a bit.

There is a cemetery on the left hand side. He slows the car.

He says to me, “Because I know how you like cemeteries and history.”

What he actually thought was probably more along these lines, “As good a place as any to stop for a smoke.” 🙂

Looked like a nicely maintained cemetery. We drive in and pull to the side. Lots of trees dripping with Spanish Moss.

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We get out and stretch our legs. Have a look around the area.

There is a big tree with things on it. Signs that say “Truth” and “Respect.” Another one says something like, “Thief or SOB. Think before you steal from the dead.”

I’m not sure what all is going on with that tree.

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To the right of this tree is another one. This also has something posted. Looks like a “Reward” sign is nailed to it. We get a little closer to see what exactly it is.

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Oh my goodness. It is the unsolved murder of a young boy. His grave is behind the tree where the “Reward” notice hangs. His name was John Welles and he was killed in July of 2003.

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This town appears to be very small. Seemed like a few surnames dominated the cemetery. Probably the founding families of the town. Welles was one of the names.

It is always sad when a young person is taken too soon. But horrific when it is an act of violence. This poor family never having the opportunity for any type of closure. No one ever being held accountable for taking the life of their child. Someone getting away with murder. Sixteen long years for his loved ones.

We looked around the rest of the cemetery on our way out of there. Confederate flags provided a pop of color on some of the older graves.

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Took a last look and we were back on the road.

Now we were very curious to know more about what happened to poor John. Surely, there would be tons and tons of information on such a case. The killing of a young white boy from a small Southern town, descended from settlers, would most definitely be plastered all over the news. I imagined reading about on-going campaigns to reopen the case, reward offerings, articles, etc.

So, after dinner, we put Google to work. What we found was next to nothing. His obituary and one article from a “Most Wanted” type of site. Quoting his mom. That’s about it. Very, very strange.

His mother, after the murder, posted more than 350 notices on billboards in three counties asking people if they had tips to contact police. Apparently, it didn’t help at all.

John’s obituary here.

His mother’s plea here.

Seemed that John arrived home from Walmart that Sunday morning at 11:30am. Within five hours he was found dead in a creek near his house. It was originally thought to be a drowning but an autopsy showed that he was shot in the eye first and then put in the water.

How does something like this happen in a small town on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of summer? No one sees anything? No one knows anything? Why does there not appear to be any interest in solving the case?

So bizarre.

I did come across another article about a young man who was also found dead in the creek. About the same age as John. Found that to be a bit curious.

It is my sincere hope that one day John’s family will finally receive the answers and justice they truly deserve. That one day they can finally take down the sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today is my little brother’s 50th birthday. I sure wish I could be there to celebrate this momentous occasion. To give him a huge hug.

Last week my cousin Rosemary and her lovely family from Ireland were visiting New York. I wished that I could have been there for that fun family gathering.

But neither was a possibility.

I live so far from home and I also have a child in high school.

The following is written by my brother’s wife, Patty. It was sent to her email subscribers and associates. It’s about choice and destiny.

I already know the story because it’s a part of my family history. The priest at their wedding even mentioned the story of the two families being joined by marriage. But I loved reading it. It somehow made me feel happy and connected. Even though I am miles away.

It really is about choice and destiny.

My husband and I made a choice to move to Malaysia for a job opportunity. Knowing we would be far away from our loved ones. Would miss out on family gatherings and events.

And yet destiny allowed us to experience and meet so many wonderful people who we will never forget. People meant to be in our paths so that we could grow, flourish and see the world through different eyes.

From Patty:

This past weekend my children met their cousins from Ireland for the first time.   It was a pretty wild experience for me personally because seeing all their little faces side by side reminded me that part of our life is shaped by choice and part by destiny.

Let me explain.

These cousins are on my husband’s side of the family but I grew up believing they were my family.  

My husband’s grandmother and my grandmother were close friends in Ireland.   My grandmother came to the States, my husband’s grandmother stayed in Ireland.

My husband’s father and aunt later came to the States and remained good friends with my father so I grew up viewing them as family.  

I grew up knowing and loving many people in my husband’s family (but I didn’t meet my husband until I was much older.)

At least four times in the ten years prior to meeting my husband, different family members had talked about setting my husband and me up.  It never happened.   

Each time his cousin or mother would suggest we meet, I declined.  It felt weird to be set up.  I made a CHOICE not to pursue him, yet DESTINY intervened.

16 years ago this week we sat next to each other at a wedding and we’ve been together ever since.

My husband and I both pinpoint the moment we fell in love – it was about 4 hours after we met.  I know our grandmothers in heaven had something to do with it.  

And as they watch their great grandchildren sitting on this couch I wonder what they must be thinking.  They both grew up in a very small town in Northern Ireland.   And now their families, joined by blood and love, are connecting in Brooklyn, NY 100+ years later.

I truly believe that most of our life is shaped by CHOICE.  And certainly the WAY we experience life is shaped exclusively by the thoughts we choose.  But there are pieces of the puzzle that are shaped by DESTINY.  There are forces that guide us to key people we are meant to meet and experiences we contracted to have in this lifetime.

This knowledge gives me a deep sense of peace because it shows me that you and I can’t screw this lifetime up.  The stuff that really needs to happen, will happen no matter what.  And everything that happens in between is up to us to choose based on what we want to experience.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?!!!

In this week’s featured article I talk about taking small steps to make what you CHOOSE to happen come true.   Read below to make sure you are doing everything in your power to create what you choose!

In love and light,

Patty

Patty is a crowdfunding expert, business coach, author and speaker. If you want to learn more about her then please check out http://www.pattylennon.com

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