Iowa Roots Run Deep

Iowa Roots Run Deep
Written Summer of 2010

As another one of my sons prepares to leave the nest, I again grow weepy about his life so far and whether we taught him the things that we should have.   If I reflect back on Jordan’s life, I remember a delightful, funny, engaging toddler with an attentive smile for everyone.   He was never quick to talk, but when he did, his words carried weight.

Jordan most closely resembles my husband’s father in appearance and in demeanor.  They both have a slender build with a short stature; both slow to speak but full of wit.  They’re deep thinkers and rarely take offense. And just like Grandpa, Jordan loves golf and a good debate.

But some of the likenesses end there since Jordan’s grandfather grew up in Kokomo, Indiana as a part of the Old Order Amish church.  Since Grandpa was the oldest son, he had a lot of responsibility as the oldest to keep his brothers in line and do his share of the farm work. He enjoyed school but had to quit school after 8th grade to help out on the farm.  When Grandpa was 12, his family moved to Kalona, Iowa and a few years later, left the Amish church for the Conservative Mennonite Conference.

Jordan, on the other hand, grew up in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, far from the Midwestern corn fields. He went to a Mennonite church all of his life, but rules and regulations were probably not stressed as much as in the Amish church.  Jordan is the middle child and grew up akin to compromise and smoothing out differences.  He thrived in school, although perhaps not as motivated as he might have liked.

When Grandpa died last year, he left a legacy of honesty and integrity, frugalness and loyalty.  Jordan and Grandpa grew up so differently and in two different parts of the country, yet I’ve learned that character comes from within and it seems as if it can be born into a person.  Jordan loves the Midwest and feels most at home in the open countryside, golfing the quiet holes of Kalona, Iowa.  And just like his grandpa, he is frugal to a fault, never wanting to buy new clothes even when it’s obvious he needs them.  He is someone that does not spread gossip and can be entrusted with secrets aplenty.  These are things that I doubt I taught him, but that he was blessed with.  Best wishes, Jordan…may you make your grandpa proud.  -BBM

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