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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



It's always big news when a baby is born. Especially big when it's a new great grandchild, or perhaps someone's first grandchild. All these things came to pass this past week with the birth of Cousin Jason's first child Zoe.

Suddenly the Aunt who has always been just a little bit on the fringe (she's a Vikings fan don't cha know?) has suddenly been thrust into the role of Grandmother. How scary is this folks? The Aunt who named me as her favorite when I was a wee lad, who put up with many trips to see her in the north country, the green scuzz parties, riding beans, and constant late night phone calls after the lowly Vikings succumbed to the mighty and majestic Packers is now a Grandmother? Man, now she seems so old!

Certainly I can be somewhat calm and understanding about being replaced as her favorite; after all I am nearly 37 now. But does this child really know what she is in for? Does my Aunt know what fate awaits her? She'll have to learn all about girl things, and Grandma Van Hove certainly didn't get much girl raising with two boys in the house. I can already see her maxing out the credit card on frilly girl things, Strawberry Shortcake items and ?Gasp!? Vikings apparel. I can see her going hog wild up at the Mall of the America's, which is kind of funny because then we can tease Uncle Don about getting a second or third mortgage just to afford the Polly Pocket super duper might princess castle with alligators, a drawbridge and a moat. I can see my Au...err..Grandma Van Hove making us sit through hours of slide presentations as Zoe takes her first step, then second and get the picture. They'll do crafts, making things out of pig skin and dead weeds I'm sure. What's next? Teaching the child that strained lutefisk is good forse youse in the Vinter?

I'm absolutely overjoyed that Cousin Jay now will get first hand some of the same treatment that we other Cousins (did I mention that we are all boys? Yes, Eight of us, All boys) have had to struggle with as we became the minority in a houseful of women. Suddenly you have to remember to put the toilet seat down, no more scratching yourself while watching football, or in Jay's case soccer, no more looking uninterested as your spouse holds up three thousand different outfits the grandparents bought for the child for you to see. Nope, Jay buddy, you think your life has begun to change? You haven't seen anything yet. Soon she'll be 8 years old and wanting a cell phone! And what's more then she'll turn 12 and want to get her ears pierced, and then she'll want a car, and to date...and not just date..but date Boys!...We were boys once Jay. We remember how boys are! Oh my!!

Somehow I'm sure that the child will survive this onslaught of cute and froofy niceness, and am sure that the elders in the family will teach her all the important aspects of teasing and being teased, and certainly of eating pickled herring and cheese on saltines as she grows up. And I'm sure that with just a bit of Weesner blood in her she'll only be half as stubborn as the rest of us, and she'll grow up to be a wonderful young lady.

So maybe it isn't all bad after all. Maybe it's the continual march of time, and I shouldn't worry so much about it being the end of the world. After all, it isn't as though Cousin Kyle has popped the question yet. When that happens, I'm looking for a bomb shelter for sure.

See you next week..Remember, we're all in this together.