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Date:8/28/2014 8:14:47 AM
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The "other" Old Frenchman
As I had mentioned before, my Pa respected very few men. To be honest, it was a marvel that no one had killed him before his demise of natural causes at the age of 75. During the great spring storm of '73, when a northeaster had blown down the bay of Green Bay and had flooded and permanently altered the make-up of the bay, a home-owner had lamented the destruction of his property on the bay's west side. This was at my Aunt Jennie's café in Stiles Junction. Pa was seated upon his usual stool and told the man, "Serves you right! No one told you to build on the lowlands of the bay and chase out the frogs and the ducks. You got what you deserved!"

This proves to show just what kind of man my Pa was. I mention all this because one of the few people that my Pa treated with respect was his daughter-in-law's father, Leo Monette. My Pa practically fawned over Grandpa Leo. He and Leo were of the same background, though of different temperaments. They both had worked the lumber camps of Northern Michigan. They both knew horses and farming. But Pa recognized the worth, capabilities, and dignity of this grand old man and Pa took pains to treat Leo with honor. I remember back in the mid '70's when my brothers and I played tavern league softball under the Stiles and House of David banners, that after a game we would gather at Pociopa's Bar in Stiles. The whole tavern would be a kaleidoscope of sounds and sights, with pool games and boasting matches and jukebox music dominating the scene. Pa and Grandpa Leo would sit together at one end of the bar and nurse a shot of brandy and a glass of water and compare logging stories. They were an oasis of quietude in a storm of festivity. Even the most boisterous of the young farmers and ballplayers would extend to those two a certain respect. (Never doubt even a ribald young countryman's regard for old flannel-shirted grandpas) As for me, once I had the glow of two 8-ounce beers in my scrawny 16 year-old body (you have to remember that back then one could drink in a tavern if his parent was present) I would stand next to those two and lean against my Pa and be proud that I was descended from such men. Even back then I had been made aware of what was important in a man. I had only to listen to what those two had to say. -- Gary
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