Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Putting a Capstone on it

A Norfolk Southern approaching Weissport, PA from the Packerton Yards. 
Check the video bar at the right to watch and hear footage of this train.

Recently, Cultured Carbon County did three postings on tragic deaths in our area, some current, some distant and a few that were mysterious.   (Story #1 - Marking Unseen, Quiet Burdens, Story #2 - Soothing Yet Deadly: The Lehigh River's Waters, Story #3 - Secrets of the Big Creek Valley: The Rise and Fall of Pierce F. Rehrig)

In an attempt to leave this topic for a while, I would like to leave you with why I feel such examinations are important.  Just as no life has yet to escape death, there too is no living life here among us that has been untouched by it.

Historical knowledge is a keystone of the democratic-minded citizen.  One devoted to this mindset can become intimate with history within the microcosm and nuance of the every day lives of those who actually lived it.  Strolling by any grave site, one can see the punctuation mark at the end of the story of someone's life.

It was my hope to explore these lives, to give them a minor rebirth, to breathe enough life back into them to learn from them, to allow their spirit to roam among us, and perhaps allow us to see a bit of our own humanity in it.

It was for these reasons that I have dug into the lives of both people I knew and only knew of.  In the process, I dredged up emotion, some of pain and of love, that may have been lying quietly and untouched, yet all a burden still.  For those who may have read my words and were repulsed and hurt by these emotions, I beg your forgiveness.

So, in leaving this topic back on the shelf where I found it, I leave you with one personal anecdote sent to me by a faithful reader of Cultured Carbon County.  To the Murphy family, I thank you very much.

"Ron, thank you for sharing these stories. I showed them to my mother who became upset when reading them. My great-grandmother, Lilly Moser, used to walk the railroad tracks between Lehighton and Weissport her entire life. In the early '80s she went missing for a short while. She had taken a walk and was crossing the train bridge between Lehighton and Weissport. She fell through a large opening in the walkway of the bridge and drowned in the river. She was found behind the Midas. These rivers, streams and canal have always been of much importance to our area. From allowing our area to begin and thrive in the 1700's through today to enabling us all to connect with each other with not only the memories of fun times, but tragedy and the awe we feel thanks to the raw power of nature.
Thank you for sharing and thank you for helping us remember those we have lost. What started as sorrow quickly turned into a lot of fond memories of a wonderful woman my mother loved.
Thank you.
Merry Christmas to Kim, yourself and your whole family. We all have a lot to be very thankful for."
Well said Ron, we truly do and I thank you.

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