It’s hard to know where to begin in writing about my 25th class reunion at Luther- but for some reason, I want to begin with my nephew Kaj, who delighted us to no end almost from the first moment we got to Decorah. Kaj and most of his family (minus sister Anna, who was at a sleep over) joined Marshall, kathy and me at Mabe’s Pizza Friday night- our first stop of the weekend- and was along with us for a good portion of Saturday as well. Under some circumstances, having a young tag-along nephew might have been a headache or a hindrance, but not my nephew- He is a Joy. I can’t think of a better way to say it. He is such a happy child, so warm and interested in others, so generous (trying very hard to give away a lot of the candy from the homecoming parade – asking me repeatedly to ask the friends we were talking with if they were thirsty, because he was happy to share some of his fruit punch with them) and so interested in what is around him.
It was especially interesting to see how easily he interacted with complete strangers, and how they seemed to fall in love with him from the first words of the conversation. At one point Randi said that Kaj has this amazing ability to get people to do things- he might walk up to a group of coeds and say “Hi – Do you want to play ring-around-the-rosy with me? I can show you how.” and they will drop whatever else they’re doing and join in the game. And as Randi told us that, something dawned on Kathy – that her dear friend from Carthage, Mitch Spencer (Matt’s older brother) had very much the same quality. Mitch is long gone (his life claimed by AIDS almost twenty years ago) but in a sense here is a precious reminder of him in my beautiful little nephew.
I am so glad we could have some time with Kaj – and maybe having him with us reminded us of what made college so exciting for us way back when- that amazing sense that one was experiencing a world full of new wonders.
pictured: Kaj and his Aunt Kathy exploring the bell in front o Luther’s student union.