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The next day, Grandma(Mama), Papa(Daddy), J. and I went to New Glarus. The weather had turned chilly overnight, and we all wore windbreakers. Daddy wore the forest green jacket that Mama still wears in his absence. J. wore his Osh Kosh B’Gosh conductor overalls and cap with a navy sweatshirt. Mama and I wore cozy sweaters.
We thought that it was about time J. went to the Swiss Historical Village in New Glarus, where they have live demonstrations of how the settlers lived here in south central Wisconsin. After all, he was four years old, and had never been to New Glarus before!
The day was crisp and crunchy. The first of autumn’s leaves carpeted planked sidewalks, and memories of this dear town invaded my mind. I pushed them away, not sure I could handle the bittersweet pain of them at the moment.
The four of us came near the entrance where a construction worker poured concrete. Daddy didn’t see the sign. Wet concrete.
His foot made an outline. All was silent. J. looked up past the brim of his hat at the worker. This very shy, soft spoken child spoke. “Sorry, man,” he apologized for his grandfather. He hung his head in shame, as if a serious crime had just been committed. Little did I know that such a sweet and funny family story, would so effectively outline the kindness and character of who J. would become; tender, compassionate, funny, responsible and truly a man of God. His sister would later tell me that he was one of the people she admired most. Oops, did I say sister? That is quite another story altogether.
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