It is snowing heavy and 5 degrees here in Utica. The sun has risen. I can tell because it is grey and not black outside. No actual sun to see.

The sun actually rarely shines here for 5 months during the winter. Utica sits in historic Mohawk Valley and clouds cover the valley in the winter. To see and feel the sun, you hop in your car and drive in any direction fifteen minutes to a mountaintop.

My days are uneventful. I spend them in an intensive care unit at a local hospital.

There is an old saying that you meet the strangest people in the strangest places. Yesterday I did.

In the intensive care unit.

In 1941 my father bought a two family house on James Street here in Utica. My Aunt Ange and Uncle Frank moved in upstairs with their three daughters, my cousins, Theresa, Albina and Francine.

Italian families clustered like that back then.

My aunt and uncle are long gone. I have not seen my cousins in years.

And there they were in the intensive care unit! All three. Except two were standing and one was in bed. Theresa had a kidney stone. Was killing her! I could see pain all over her face and body. Within minutes she was wheeled to surgery.

I was there after surgery when she awoke. I am happy to report all is well. She even smiled. A beautiful woman. I had not seen that smile in years!

The point of the story is it was good to see my cousins after all this time. I grew up with them. They were part of my every day life. Families tend to drift. Such is life. But again, our meeting though under severe circumstances brought back many fond memories.

I was happy to be with them again. I was sad one of them was in pain.

My eyes welled with tears at seeing them. I thought how sad our paths take us separate ways and the joys and relationships of our youth drift away.

My cousins brought back memories of good family days long gone by.

I am not ashamed to say that my eyes are filling with tears again as I write this.

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