One day long ago

“One day a long time ago,” I tell my granddaughter, “when my father was only two years old, he wandered away from his house and yard, he went right down the sidewalk and he walked for a long while until he was lost and he didn’t know how to get home, so he began to cry. A policeman saw him and said, ‘I’m a policeman and I can help you,’ and he took my dad to the police station. He was only two, and he didn’t know any English, only Swedish, so he didn’t know what the policemen were saying to him and they didn’t understand him either. But it was a very small town where everyone knew everybody else, so they figured it out and called my dad’s father. And it was his two-year-old son that he thought was safely at home. When he got to the police station, guess where my father was—he was sitting on the very high counter in the front and eating an ice-cream! And that’s how the police helped my dad when he was two years old and he was lost.”

This is the first time I’ve told my four-year-old granddaughter this story, or any story, about my dad. “Did this really happen?” she asks.

“Yes, it’s a true story and it happened almost one hundred years ago.”

I have no explanation for the tears that fill my eyes. They baffle me.