October 19th, 2022
Our son, Stefan, came over to our house yesterday evening. He brought a gift with him for his little nephew, Asher. It’s not winter in Wisconsin yet, but Stefan was thinking ahead, and he had a cold weather jacket with him for Asher to wear when the snow falls and the wind blows out of the north.
Stefan bought Asher a lined, insulated coat from Carhartt. Carhartt mostly makes cold weather gear for adults who spend their winter months outdoors. Carhartt clothing is top of the line. All the guys that ever worked for me on the loading dock wore Carhartt coats and coveralls during the months of mind numbing cold. I didn’t realize that Carhartt made clothes for toddlers, but Stefan found a jacket for Asher. The coat was expensive. It cost $70. An adult work jacket sometimes costs double that amount.
Karin thanked Stefan for being so generous. He said,
“I’m making money. I can afford to get Asher something good.”
He has been buying Asher good stuff. He got the boy some good shoes for the cold weather. They are toddler-sized versions of Stefan’s work boots.
Stefan looked exhausted when he came into the house. He had on a sweatshirt, jeans, and his work boots. He sat down on a bench and rested. He had been out at the construction site all day in the wind and the cold, doing his Ironworker thing. I remember how it was when I worked my entire shift in the cold. That wears a person out. When you finish the job, all you want to do is eat something warm, take a hot shower, and sleep like a dead man.
I asked Stefan how it was at work. He has been doing a welding gig at the power plant on the shore of Lake Michigan. I could tell by his face that he had been windburned. He showed me an image on his phone. He had a video of the whitecapped waves on the lake crashing into the rocks on the shore, throwing up geysers of spray.
We talked for a bit. Asher was wound up. He was throwing his toys, even after we told him not to do that. Stefan watched the boy, and then he got up and seized Asher in his hands. He tossed the little guy in the air and caught him again. That got Asher’s attention.
Stefan smiled at his nephew, and said, “Hey punk, what you gonna do now?”
Asher briefly squirmed in Stefan’s arms and then gave up the fight. Asher is a strong lad, and he’s smart. He knows when to back off. He also knows that Stefan loves him.
Stefan set Asher back on the floor, and the boy ran to Karin, his “oma”.
Stefan got up to leave. He grinned and said, “Asher was a little surprised when he went up in the air. I get edgy too when I’m up high on the lift and it bounces a little. He’s okay. No damage done.”
I told Stefan, “He’s a boy. He’ll get banged up now and then.”
Stefan looked at Asher and noticed a bit a road rash.
“Yeah, I see he’s got an early start on scrapes and bruises. He’ll be fine.”
I replied, “If a boy grows up without getting a scar or two, he ain’t doing it right.”
Stefan smiled, “I got a few of those.”
That he does.