Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Visit from the Late Penny Helzer?

Many of you may recall my predecessor, the late Penny Helzer.  I had the opportunity to briefly work with her.  During the later part of her illness, on occasion I volunteered to answer inquiries on her behalf, until she was feeling well enough to resume her normal duties.

Shortly before she passed, I received the most unusual phone call from her.  She shared with me her plans for her funeral and post ceremonies.  She left very clear directions for her son, one of which was to round up several of her closest friends for a ceremony to release butterflies in her memory.  She asked me if I would do the honor of joining her friends and family for this special task.

I was hardly prepared for such a request but felt this would be the final act of kindness that Penny would ever ask of me, so I was flattered to be in their company.  When the butterflies were released, there was one in particular that fluttered around us, almost as if it was Penny giving her final goodbye.

This week I visited the gas station on my way to work, when I noticed the most beautiful large bodied butterfly, with a color pattern that I don't recall seeing before.  It was clinging to the base of the gas pump.  After paying for my purchase, when I returned to my car, I looked to see if the butterfly was still there.  I found it on the pavement crawling, so I stood and watched to try to assess if it had been injured.  Much to my surprise, it decided to cling to the rim of my car tire.  Then I gently lifted it from the tire, to ensure it was not harmed, and watched as it flew up and away beyond my line of vision.  As I drove away, I had the thought that maybe that was Penny in spirit, sending me a brief hello. 

Penny had the butterflies mail ordered and purchased a variety that was said to be very people friendly.  I'd like to think she was checking in on me.  Perhaps this was an offspring of the butterflies released at her ceremony. 

May the butterfly continue its journey, placing smiles on the faces of everyone it visits.