October light at Keuka.

October light at Keuka.

The settings found in “A Sudden Gift of Fate,” the sequel to “The Cyber Miracles” range from County Clare in Ireland’s beautiful west to the Finger Lakes of upstate New York. A good deal of the story takes place on the shores of Keuka Lake, the Finger Lake shaped like a Y.
     I always wondered why my ancestors came from Ireland in the 1830s and ’40s to settle on the rich farmland in that region and open businesses in Penn Yan at the northern tip of Keuka. The answer came during a trip to Ireland in 1997.  A Hyland cousin gave me a copy of our family tree. It indicated that my great-great-great grandparents John and Margaret (Kilbride) Hyland were buried in Fossey Churchyard in Timahoe, County Laois. My mother and I stopped to see Fossey, next to stone church ruins that were accessible only by crossing a long cow pasture. (And we had to mind the cow pies with each step in the tall grass!)
     We looked at the old tombstones that had eroded with time. My heart sank. I do not know if I have any living relatives in Ireland. Making a connection to the land of my ancestors, through recognizing a name carved on stone long ago, was my last hope.
     When I stopped looking so hard, the obvious was noticeable. Growing around all the stones was my favorite flower — forget-me-nots. Then, as I looked up, I realized I could have been looking at the terrain around Keuka and Penn Yan. The setting of gentle hills was so familiar. It’s probably what those Hylands felt when they arrived in America, too. 
     The result, several generations later, is that both Ireland and Keuka are imprinted on my genetic code. I have spent part of every summer of my life at Keuka. (Wish I could say the same for Ireland.) Intertwined with my memories are endless vineyards covering the hillsides like wide-wale corduroy. I’ve witnessed the evolution of Keuka’s wineries into a world-class industry.  That knowledge is also woven into “A Sudden Gift of Fate.”
     The second draft is in progress. Can’t wait to get it done, edited and out to you readers!

Keuka Springs vineyard.

Keuka Springs vineyard.