September 17, 2019

‘Little Chapel On The River’ by Gwendolyn Bounds

Fact is often better than fiction.  Have you ever looked at a brightly colored fish or flower and thought, “It is not possible that that just appeared in nature.  I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it.”

Fact is like that too.  Imagination is contained by our perceptions so it makes sense, but some plots are so wonderful you think they must have been monkeyed with.  “Little Chapel On The River” is true.  What a wonderful thing that Wendy Bounds is articulate enough to have captured such a true moment in the world.

After evacuating their apartment across from the World Trade Center on September 11, Wendy and her girlfriend have to move on.  Literally and figuratively, they must find safe ground from which to grow new roots.

Fatefully, Garrison, N.Y., is waiting.  Unbeknownst to Wendy, it will save her and transorm her life.  She, in turn, will return the favor.

Guinan’s General Store and Pub is a long standing bastion of comfort, safety and beer in a tough world.  The more things change the more they stay the same at Guinan’s and this is the gift.

Wendy befriends a wonderfully honest, grizzled, kind, amusing group of people.  All real, all amazingly human.  As she bartends, opens the store for the 5:07 a.m. commuters, listens to stories and winds her way into the hearts of the Pub, Wendy blossoms from a Wall Street Journal writer to a woman of many talents.

Each new door that opens bring her back to the gifts of her childhood and the joys of life she has been stepping over and around to get to work.  Her truest self is re-emerging and she and the town are delighted.

Her sense of belonging to something larger than her self was in dire need of Guinan’s.  We all are and through her book we find it.  Much like my thoughts on “World Made By Hand”, the things we need the most are seemingly small, often overlooked and right there for the taking if we simply open our eyes.  We all have the spirit of Guinan’s within reach if we know where to look.

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