If Richard Collin Barbour was left alone, he would have hunkered down in his home in Barkhamsted, Connecticut and waited to join his wife Helen. After thirty-seven years of marriage, her death created a terrible vacuum; especially since their union was sweet and their lives achieved more than either of them ever imagined in love and respect. He didn’t give up because he lacked the courage to go on. No, it was a matter of will. He lacked the resolve. What was life without her? That’s the way he felt until several months later after her funeral. That’s when he began to think about her end-of-life confession, and he came to accept what he privately and fantastically observed in a vision the night she passed away.
In the months leading up to Helen’s death, she read the letters of Naomi Humphrey Barber. Naomi was Richard’s 3rd great grandmother. Her son, Heman Humphrey Barbour, compiled and published her correspondence in a book, ‘My Mother, My Wife.’ In her correspondence, Helen found a woman of great faith and trust in Jesus. Throughout her life (1794 – 1863), Naomi was frail and ill but always wrote to inquire about the welfare of her family, neighbors and her Canaan, Connecticut church family. When she attended church, she took under her wing a young black girl named Lucinda. Sadly, others spurned the mulatto child. A sincere Christian and true abolitionist, Naomi spent time with Lucinda going over her Sabbath school lessons. Indeed, the more Helen read about Naomi, she felt she couldn’t measure up. Facing death, she didn’t feel she deserved God’s love and mercy. Then, in the final two weeks, Helen asked her hospice nurse, Florence, to read the Gospel of Matthew.
Two days before Helen passed, she stopped responding to Richard and her daughter, Rebecca. The doctor said it was unlikely she’d regain consciousness. However, minutes before passing away, Richard went in her room to check on her. Incredibly, Helen awoke, and bid him to come close. She gently touched his arm, then whispered to him that the Master paid the same wage to those who came late in the day. With that said, she drifted away as a soft smile spread across her face. Later, Richard learned from Florence that Helen was referring to a parable that Jesus taught in Matthew, Chapter 22. When he asked and told her what Helen said, Florence muttered ‘Thank you, Jesus’ and turned aside in tears. For him? Helen’s words created a divide that he couldn’t cross; that is, not if he hunkered down to await his fall and ride on the slipstream of the Farmington River that would take him into the mist – but, that wasn’t to be. Within weeks, Helen not only returned to haunt him, but his friend, Charley Alexander, harassed him. ‘Get out – do something!’ They both prodded. And with that, he embarked.
Richard Collin Barbour – family genealogist, games-creator and agnostic – was about to take his crossing. In many respects, his journey was fueled by his heritage and became metaphorically real. No, it wasn’t as real as it was for his ancestors – John Alden, Myles Standish, John Howland, Richard Warren, Edward Fuller, William Mullins, John Tilley and Henry Samson. They crossed the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower. They found the courage to embark on a voyage that would take them to a new land and wilderness. On the day the Pilgrims left Plymouth, England on September 6, 1620, there was no looking back. That wasn’t just true of the Pilgrims, but for many other of Richard’s ancestors that crossed the Atlantic during the Great Migration, 1620 – 1635. Of course, for any of them to have set sail, they first had to show up at the port and dock. And that, my friends, is what Richard had to do. As a result of Helen’s encouragement, Charley’s persistence, and Rebecca’s pressing need for him to watch his grandchildren, David and Prudy, they all arrived at the port and dock together. Little did they know that it would mean a crossing for all.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Genealogical/biographical, New England
Sub-topics: Autism, Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM)
Age: Adolescent and up.
Heritage Crossing will be published and available for purchase in late 2016.
[Note: In Fall 2016, Millpond Ink LLC hopes to release Heritage Crossing, a novel by David Marchuck Barbour under the pen name, David Marchuck, which hopefully will eliminate any confusion between the author and his fictional characters. Originally scheduled for release during the summer of 2012, its release was delayed by the publication of the Gang of Twenty and Six: Alphabet Adventures and Ambient, an anthology now available for purchase through Amazon. For more information about Heritage Crossing, please refer to the Heritage Crossing tab preview and enjoy Rick Elias’ ‘Pilgrims’ performed in the background (Windows Media Player 11 required).]