I grew up in a tiny mountain town in the Adirondacks called Newcomb. A place where everybody knows everybody and most of the time everybody knows everybody else’s business. Like it or not, it is like having one giant extended family that you see every day.
Over the past few weeks, the town has lost two gentlemen from a group that I refer to as the “old guard”. Though these two men had recently moved out of town, their passing will still be felt. The “old guard” are the guys that were pillars of the community while growing up. People you saw on an almost daily basis and were an intricate part of life during some of my most formative years.
I find that death in a small town is a strange thing that I am not sure outsiders can really grasp. Living in Albany now, I barely know anybody that lives within my neighborhood. Yet, when I lived in Newcomb, I could drive through the town and be able to tell you who lived in almost every house in town, or who used to live there. You might not be family with a person, but when you have spent twenty plus years being around people, it does feel like family. Some of these people I have spent more time with than people that are actually related to me.
Who answers the call to arms to become the next pillars? To fill the shoes of the ones that were always there? I suppose the proper way to mourn would be to carry with me all of the memories that I have of all these different people. Never forget where I came from and how it has helped shape me into the person that I am today, to become a pillar within my own community.