Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash


By Charles Towne

You most likely haven’t given this much thought, and therefore are going to find it difficult to believe… but… there is a better than even chance that if your folks never had any children, you won’t either.

My daddy, as far as we can discern, was born sometime in 1911 – of somewhat questionable parentage and bewildering ancestry, so the precise details are a bit sketchy.

A year later, the impossible happened. The “unsinkable ship” – the ocean liner Titanic – proved that she was unworthy of that lofty title when, in 1912, she struck an iceberg in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. With a one way, two mile plunge to the bottom of the ocean that netted great loss of life, she sits there still today, slowly but surely rusting her way to oblivion. Not that daddy’s birth had anything to do with it, but it’s notable how close history touches us sometimes.

Take a leap further back in history to 1890, and we find my mother’s mama, my grandmother Agnes Regina, was born in Sweden.

Agnes Regina’s old photos reveal her as being a beautiful young woman. I wonder what dreams… what aspirations… she had?

Jump forward now to 1915. That was a very good year, for that’s when my mama, Ruth Florence, was born.

And three years later, in 1918, the Spanish flu struck. With a vengeance. Agnes Regina, my grandmother, along with many others, became ill.

One year later, in 1919, Agnes Regina died. Just another of Chicago’s 8,510 reluctant victims of the pandemic. Another touch with history.

Now, here it is in the year 2020, and we are in the midst of another, historic pandemic that threatens to annihilate… how many people?!

This time, the touch of history hits closer to home than ever before.

My darling wife – my lady, my sweetheart, my cuddle bear – doesn’t have a clue what is happening around her. All she knows, and wonders about, is that she is forced into isolation. Why? A “quarantine” they call it. “What is a quarantine?” she asks in confusion.

And, if you were to mention a “pandemic”, she would be just as apt to ask with questioning eyes, “What is a pandemic?”

How do I answer her question when I can’t fathom it myself?

She has no hard and fast rule by which to measure that which can’t be measured, so what is left, besides uncertainty, confusion, and bewilderment?

Thanks to modern technology, for the last three weeks I have been able to reach out to my precious wife on face-time, via our cell phones.

Face-time is better than nothing.

I try to keep our conversations on the light side, but Nanny gets a quizzical expression and asks, “Charles, when can we be together again?”

“Soon Honey, very soon.”

A pensive smile crosses her face and she tentatively reaches out as if to touch the screen.  We make small talk, and then she exclaims, “Charles, when can you visit me?”

“It won’t be long now, sweetie.”

“Yes, but when?”

“Well honey, the doctors don’t want to take any chances with somebody bringing the flu into the nursing home.”

“I don’t understand why we can’t be together? I want to be with you.”  And after a moment of silence she asks, “Charles, don’t you love me any more?”

“Oh, my darling lady, yes, I love you so very much!”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh yes, sweetheart, I love you more than I can even began to describe!”

“But Charles, I miss you so much!”

I am lonely myself. How do I even begin to answer her questions?

How does anyone answer the plea of a broken heart without our Holy God?


I come to you, O Holy God!

I come to you because you are my blessed hope, my refuge, and my holy friend. 

Yes, I come to you… but then, where else can I go?

 You are my strength, my healer, my provider, and my great joy! 

O God, how I love you! 

I shout your praises because you, and only you, are worthy of praise. 

As the multitude of angel hosts praise you in voice, mind and spirit, so do I wish to do.   

You give me peace, even in time of great trouble. 

O Holy God, please, let me feel your gentle hand upon my brow and hear your voice speaking my name in love. 

Let me feel your great and merciful love flood my soul. 

Wash me, make me clean, that I may be worthy of your boundless love.

 As I am a caregiver to one of your children, so are you caregiver to all the world. 

Reveal yourself to all people and deliver us from evil. 

As you speak words of hope and promise to my soul, let me do the same to all I meet.  

As you, O God are able, help me to cooperate with you in love, so all of those I come into contact with will know that I have been walking with you. 

In Jesus’ most wonderful, glorious and Holy name I ask it, Amen


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. A truly heartfelt story…poor Nan. It is so difficult, isn’t it? How do you tell a young child or an aging person with dementia about keeping them safe when they are unable to comprehend it? Breaks my heart. All they know is they hurt (and so do you). Prayers to you and all the caregivers out there my dear friend!

  2. On boy! I REALLY love the stories w/ errors! Think Chaz, under what circumstances is it possible that your parents never “had” any children? Could you face similar circumstances?
    Seconly, there is not a single ounce more of that in the Titanic than there was when she sank! Think about oxygen which is necessary for metal to rust! Last , the mortality rate of “Spanish Flu” is generally listed as 2.5% and our present day Covid 19 is between .3% and .5%! I am really beginning to think that our present response is based more on politics than medicine.
    Aside from all that, the true terrible cost seems to be that families and loved ones and friends are being ripped apart and fragmented and like your Nan, those who have a compromised understanding are especially bewildered, which is agonizing and heartbreaking to us all! We must all recognize that especially now, we need His guidance! God bless you mightily my friend, love reading about how, and learning how to be a human bean!
    My first statement….. Think about adoption! That kid could say his parents never “had” any children!

  3. Oh Richy me boy, you are a hoot and it gives me great comfort because Papa God loves hoots, which said fact gives me a chance! You take care and be greatly blessed, Chaz

  4. A baffling puzzle has confounded the scientific community for a long time as I am sure you are aware. Thus and so the Titanic is being devoured by iron eating bacteria in spite of the lack of oxygen? This results in rusticles forming that when they are dissected reveal reddish iron oxide. Hey, what do I know, Chaz

    • Herbert, you are kind. Papa God is blessing me on a daily basis with the fact that though it is difficult, he is changing me into the man He wants me to be. I am so thankful that Nanny, unlike so many people, is sweet. Bless you my fiend, Chaz

  5. You give us many stories on all kinds of topics but your love stories about Nancy really tug at my heart. Having been VERY fortunate several years ago to have met Nancy today’s tale of separation makes me realize how cruel this pandemic can be. People who whine about wearing a mask (I “was” one of them initially) have no idea the kind of emotional pain you experience. Chin up sir – FaceTime will lead to face to face when God determines the time is right.

    I have another possible explanation for the rust on the Titanic. Like Richard, I have long understood that rust (oxidation) cannot occur without oxygen. Iron-eating bacteria may be a contributor but have you given consideration to the oxygen content of a fish fart?

    • Mike, you my friend have bought astuteness to a whole new level of something, I know not what? Fish farts, otherwise known as pisces methanes gaseous, also known by the scientific name, pisces poopus intestinal rooten tootenous could be the answer! I am glad I am surrounded by such brilliance. Have you ever heard, or smelled for that matter, fish flatulance?

  6. See Mike, you absolutely astound me with your perfidious wise guyness. Now that you have introduced kitty cattus meowus meowus into the equation you must be a connesuer of fine catt scatt? You be greatly blessed, Chaz

  7. Mike McFadden: A kindred spirit! A pleasure to meet you sir!
    There is a therom in philosophy called “Occams Razor” which when reduced to simplest terms is that the simplest answer to ANY problem is very often the correct answer! I have changed my analysis and I am going with your theory of fish farts!

    • Richard: It is a pleasure to meet you also and together we shall endeavor to keep Chuck on the straight and narrow- no simple task I might imagine.

    • Sir Richard, the therom you speak of known as Occams Razor is false because I happen to know from first hand knowledge that Mr. Occam, Tom Occam, (his maa called him Timmy, little Timmy to be exact) never shaved, therefore he had no use for a razor! I rest my case, Chaz

      • Well, once again the need for a small correction arises. The theorm of which I spoke was by William of Occam, a Franciscan monks from circa 1300, so I am guessing Timmy of whom you spoke is merely a distant descendant

        • Ah Ha, Richard, William of Occam’s full name was in actuality little Timmy sometimes known as William the Occam of Occamville, otherwise known as Tim the wise.

  8. I have so enjoyed the bantering back and forth. It brought a smile and a chuckle to me, in a not so happy time. I pray for you and so very many people in the same situation!! One hope to cling to is the fact that God and only God is in control of everything, everyday. Thank you, Jesus for loving us, protecting us and bringing us through all of this ;very, very soon. In the meantime, let us hold each other up in prayer and support! God bless you!


  10. Thank you again for sharing your life with us. I love to hear about things I am not personally experiencing…learning to think beyond my own little corner of the world. Hugs for you and your sweetheart…and Happy Birthday! Finally got it on the right post!!! Love, your daughter…

  11. My dear little girl, I love you so very much. You are your mama in so many ways. We are proud of you, Your papa. Bless you and yours, himself

  12. Chuck, I join you in the lonely feeling! Betty gone in 2018, came to Kansas 2018…just in time to see my son-in-law die of cancer in 2019. Get to see my oldest Daughter about once a week, get to see my youngest Daughter maybe once a month. But, I always have a friend with me: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10” and then there is this: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39”

  13. The words you speak give hope to a broken world my friends. Why do they give us hope? Because they come from our “forever friend., and AS YOU SAY, HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US! Bless you pal, and comfort you with grace. Chaz

  14. This is so incredibly well done. These are such uncertain times and it is so encouraging to know that there is a God who loves and cares for us all. I cannot imagine how difficult now must be, both the loneliness that would come from missing your wife and MISSING THE WORLD WHILE QUARANTINED! It is good to know that God will never leave nor forsake us.

  15. Aaron, we are because He is, and isn’t that a greet testimony of His magnificent love. What does He yearn for from us if not our love for His own. Life in these crazy times is only tolerable because of His love. I miss my darling and this in and of itself beyond me except for the fact that He is and was intolerably grieved whenever He loses a child , one of His own. Bless you and all of yours Aaron, in our blessed Lord’s name and for His sake we ask it, Amen. Chaz


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