Grandpa Zeke

Another fall season has come and gone and once again I must deal with the leaves, mainly oaks and maples. I pause from my task and reflect on a magazine from my youth, *Wee Wisdom*, of which I was fortunate enough to be a subscriber and even more fortunate to have saved an autumn issue of 1943. It reaches out to me. Laying my rake aside, I fetch the old copy and thumb through the yellowed pages. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, World War II is evident throughout the issue–rationing, conservation, scrap metal drives, patriotism, and more.

However, what impressed me most was the ongoing story of a three-generation family sharing a home somewhere in the heartland of America. Many of those who are not drafted to serve abroad are either at work or school, that is, everyone except Grandpa Zeke.

Illustrations for this adventure are simple pen and ink drawings depicting Grandpa Zeke as a frail, skinny fellow with suspenders and a corncob pipe. He could be in his 70s or even his 80s. The EPA does not yet exist. Local ordinances are lax, therefore, no one objects to his leaf burning.

Ah, but the years have accumulated in my wake, I have become a modern Grandpa Zeke and duty calls. After returning *Wee Wisdom* to the manila folder from where it came, I return with my task of preparing my leaves for the city pickup.