Cambrian: Opinion

John Brannon: A joyful coincidence concerning Cambria

One of the things I find most satisfying about life is we are not granted to know what the future has in store for us. Each day is brand new, and we don’t know what it will bring—good or bad—until we live it.

I have never had much use for fortune tellers. You shouldn’t have to make an appointment to see them… they should know that you are coming.

During this past week, I had two conversations with friends relating to a fascinating subject: Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to visit with departed parents and bring them up to date with our lives. My mother died in 1961; my father in 1970.

I’d like to thank my mother for her genes that gave me my love of music. She’d be quite pleased that I, too, weep when I hear Puccini.

My father was born and raised in Massachusetts. My family photo album is graced with old, faded pictures of Cape Ann. He and his family had a summer home there, overlooking the sea.

How marvelous it would be to have him, a carpenter by trade, wander through my home, asking questions relating to its construction…my home, overlooking the sea.

His great love was reading. When glaucoma dimmed his vision, it took much from his enjoyment of life. May I humbly state that he would be thrilled that I am invited to write these weekly columns?

My father, in particular, has been close to my thoughts all week. This is where the irony steps in.

During the week, my sister had been preparing for her high school reunion in Pasadena. While searching for her yearbook, which she keeps in Dad’s old footlocker, she was startled to find a small, maroon-colored book, its title embossed in gold. She doesn’t recall seeing the book before.

Her note to me declared: “You must keep this book!” As I removed the publication from the envelope, part of the aged binding crumbled in my hands.

My mouth dropped open when I saw the gold letters on the leather binding: CAMBRIA. Inside was the date 1912; my father’s signature at the top of the page. It was a reference manual of formulas and steel products manufactured by the Cambria Steel Company in Cambria, Pa. One story about how our village was named Cambria came from an early resident saying, “This area reminds me of Cambria County back home.”

I felt a powerful sense of connection with my dad at that moment, realizing that he had held that book in his hands and undoubtedly had spoken the name of where I have lived for 28 years.

Yeah, I would love to be able to sit down with Mom and Dad and bring them up to date with my life. That is, if they are not already aware.

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