Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 30, 2013

JOHN CANNON: Now a part of the elder generation

ASHLAND — My mother’s recent death at the ripe old age of 95 marked the end of an era. Suddenly, my three sisters and I were a part of the oldest generation, the elders who now are responsible not only for carrying on the family traditions but, in the case of my family, just keeping the family together.

Mom was the glue that held the family together, and now that she is gone, there seems to be a severe shortage of glue for my sisters, my cousins, my nieces and nephews to hold the family together.

As we gathered together for last week’s memorial service for Mom, I could not help but wonder if we would ever again be together as a family. I certainly hope we will be, but it won’t be easy.  

For the last two years, I have made two or three trips a month to visit Mom in Washington Court House. Now that she is no longer there, I wondered if I would ever again be in the town where I grew up. Probably, but maybe not.

I still have a first cousin, a niece and a nephew in Washington Court House and I’m fairly certain my wife and I would be welcome in their homes during a visit back to Fayette County, Ohio, but beyond that, I don’t have a lot of reason to return “home.” I will probably visit the graves of Mom and Dad, my maternal and paternal grandparents and a beloved uncle during the Memorial Day weekend. After all, my wife and I have been doing that for many years. The only difference is this year Mom’s grave will be added to the list of those to “decorate” on what we used to call Decoration Day and we always visited Mom that weekend. This year we will have to find someone else to visit.

Two of my three sisters have an added reason to return to Fayette County. They still own Dad’s farm. I sold my third to them many years ago and, in so doing, closed the door on ever returning “home” to Fayette County.

While I have friends who have spent their entire adult lives dreaming of returning to their hometowns when they retire, but I have never had such a desire. Ashland is my home. Fayette County is just where I am from and nothing more.

My sisters and I are not particularly close. While the two sisters who own the farm talk regularly, my contact with my siblings is mostly limited to a phone call on their birthdays — if I remember. My wife and I have occasionally visited their homes, but not often.

We didn’t even spend much time together as a family at Mom’s funeral. Because the weather was horrible, one sister and her husband, son and daughter left soon after the services to travel to Columbus to get a room for the night near the airport. Another sister spent most of the time with her three children who were in town for the services. After having a meal with my children and grandchildren following the services, my wife and I played cards with my sister and brother-in-law at the motel where they were staying until nearly midnight. That was fun. My sister and I got “creamed” in a game of “hand and foot” against my wife and brother-in-law, but we got even when we played Euchre.

On Saturday morning, we had breakfast with my oldest sister, two of her children and my cousin and his wife before departing for home to watch my granddaughter compete in the district Governor’s Cup competition.

As we drove home, I wondered if my family would ever again be together. It likely will be years before any of Mom’s great-grandchildren will be married, and weddings, like funerals, are always an occasion for families to get together. Well, come to think of it, Mom’s great-grandson is a senior in college and a great-granddaughter is a freshman in college. So maybe it won’t be so long before we gather again as a family — and this time for a much happier occasion than a funeral.

Still, it is going to take work to maintain my family’s ties. As an elder, that is one of my responsibilities.

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.

com or at (606) 326-2649.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • jeremymccombs.jpg Jeremy McComb enjoys Tri-State's limelight

    Jeremy McComb’s career has been a wild ride, especialy in the last week.
    The lead single from his latest album was released on iTunes last week and it was a huge success right from the start.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Festival to showcase new plays

    The ACTC New Play Festival will feature 10 student and faculty written plays (short scenes, monologues, ten-minutes, one acts) that will premiere at 8 p.m. April 25 and 26 and at 2:30 p.m. April 27 at J.B. Sowards Theater on campus.

    April 17, 2014

  • 0420mongol1.JPG A ride to remember

    Riding 50 miles a day is no big deal to Amy Whelan.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0418melodies.jpg Melodies & Masterpieces returns Friday

    Anyone strolling through downtown Ashland at lunchtime Friday will have a chance to enjoy the artistry of one of the area’s most-respected guitarists as Chris Kitchen kicks off the return of the Melodies & Masterpieces series on Judd Plaza.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418odell.jpg MSU professor appointed state geographer

    Dr. Gary O’Dell, a professor of physical geography at Morehead State University, was named state geographer in January.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill to benefit AK Steel

    During the 11th hour of the General Assembly, a bill extending important sustainable incentives for AK Steel’s Ashland Works was pushed through for approval Tuesday night.
    House Bill 483 was created to extend the plant's incentives provided by the Kentucky Industrial Revitalization Act in 2004.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pathways begins autism services

    Pathways has extended its community outreach in a big way by providing services for families facing autism.
    Lena Harmon, central director for the company's Kentucky Impact Youth Council, said these services can save families the trouble of being added to long queue lines in Cincinnati and Louisville.
    Harmon said she has heard some families testify having to wait up to 12 months for appointments in faraway cities.

    April 16, 2014

  • Russell academic new dean at OUS

    Nicole Pennington chose a two-year community college degree track in 1991 because she wanted to enter the nursing work force with as little delay as possible.

    April 16, 2014

  • 1936 Indian lasting wedding gift

    When it came time to present his future wife with a symbol of his undying devotion, Virgil Erskine gave her a 1936 Indian motorcycle instead of a diamond ring.
    “I’ve always called it my wedding present. It’s my diamond ring,” said Charlene Erskine, explaining she and her husband were married at Sturgis, S.D., in 1983, found the antique Indian Sport Scout in 1984 and had it restored and on the road in 1985.

    April 16, 2014

  • Boyd Democrats take floor at Elks

    Boyd County Democrats met at the Elks Lodge for a matchup between candidates for two of the hottest primary races in Boyd County: sheriff and judge-executive.
    The candidates, sponsored by the Boyd County Democratic Women’s Club, each took to the podium to face the crowd Tuesday night and discuss the candidacy and platforms for the race that is still over a month away.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone