Once Upon a Memory

A photo of young Veijo — my god father — years before I was born. He was a simple man who created a beautiful life.

Have you ever met someone who’s soul just shined through their words, smile and actions?

A person who made the world a better place with just them sitting with you on an old wooden deck. 

They are not loud, prideful, sparkly. No, they found a way to bring light into moments without the need of a spotlight. 

Growing up, my experiences allowed me to meet these rare kinds of people and share my time with them. As a kid, I would swear it was a special characteristic of Finnish people, cause I would only find this simple refreshing beauty inside my cold home. 

I can remember the man who took care of my father like his own even though they shared no blood or DNA. 

Veijo, a man who accepted every wrinkle, scar and mark on his body as a memory of his hard work and life adventure. A man who found no need to raise his voice or scream, he found power in the carefully selected words that left his lips. 

When I was a kid, I would be in awe of him, because he would have this light float around him and he just knew how to simply put a smile on someone’s tired face. 

For me, he would always make me breakfast while my parents were still asleep from the night of sauna time. 

For my father, he would always take the time to check in and make sure my father had warm food filling his stomach. 

For my mother, he would sit down with her and have a cup of coffee to discuss the homeland of reindeers. 

For his wife, he would hold her hand while sitting on their deck overlooking Moon Lake. 

As a child, I would swear it was the Finnish snow that created special people, like Veijo. But, once again, my child self is in awe of the people I have met in Abilene and how they share the same glow. 

I met a woman who spent 103 years finding beauty in Solomon and not needing to ask for more, because she created happiness in her simply beautiful life. 

I met a church couple, who came to Abilene to share the guidance of God and their home with everyone. They never ask for things in return, because they created their happiness in their simply beautiful acts. 

I met a man who worked for the city that raised him and served the community that knew him since birth. He created his own happiness in his simply beautiful hard work. 

I work with a paper that became a home to people who cared for their community and loved to show simply beautiful Abilene. 

As a child, at night, I would thank the powers above for my time with those people in Finland and now I thank them for my time with those I have met in Abilene. 

AJ Raaska is a reporter with the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle

 

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