Thursday, 18 September 2008


Sunny, brisk wind, chilly

Well, we're in Toronto. Such a great city. We stay at one of the hotels right downtown, on Front Street. It's like a second, (or third or fourth) home to us now. Wonderful.

Had a really fun time with Marjorie and Margo. Went for lunch yesterday to La Cachette, at a vineyard in Niagara-on-th-lake. These two would (and did) drive for hours for a good meal! We have yet to admit we stop for double-doubles and Timbits on the highway.

It was 2 1/2 hours in either direction - Michael drove. But it was loads of fun. Stopped at fruit and vegetables stands along the way for fresh apples and peaches. In Marjorie's garden at home I helped harvst her tomatoes and squashes. With an old woven wood basket.

But what I really wanted to pass on to you was an email I received yesterday from a reader. I'm reprinting it here, with her permission.

I read The Cruelest Month several weeks ago and found it absorbing and thought provoking as a story and mystery. But for me one scene stood out, and it did not really have a lot to do with the story, just with the the village of Three Pines.

This is when Armand Gamache enters the church, St. Thomas, and looks at the stained glass window of the three soldiers, representative of those killed in the Great War. I quoted this passage in my blog, on August 29th because it said everything I needed to say about remembering our war dead.

My son Thomas was killed in Iraq on November 11, 2004, Remembrance Day, protecting his friends during combat. If you prefer me to take it down, I will of course (though I hope you will read the blog entry first). Our community, a suburb of Washington DC, is reluctant to memorialize our fallen and I do have a sort of fantasy of reading this aloud to our County Council to make the point that we need to remember those who have given their lives for us.

Lee Ann Doerflinger
Mother of Army SPC Thomas K. Doerflinger, KIA 11/11/2004, Mosul, Iraq

I wrote back, of course, to say how deeply moved I was by her message. And what an honour it is to have the passage on her blog and to please keep it on. I also mentioned that both Thomas and his mother seem to have lovely spirits. Here's her reply:

Thomas did have a lovely spirit--after his death, many people came to us with stories of his kindness and insight. I'm not sure how much I had to do with how well he turned out but I know that he loved us and that is enough.

He was named for all of the Saints Thomas that we could think of (Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Beckett, Thomas More, and of course Doubting Thomas). When he took a Confirmation name though it was Maximilian Kolbe he chose--a man who asked to be allowed to die so someone else's life would be spared.

God bless Thomas, and all the other Thomas's.

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