Lost Weekend in Madison, 1929

My grandfather’s birthday is today; he would have been 91. In his life he was a farmer, a teacher, a fireman on a steam locomotive, a salesman, a trouble-shooter, a successful businessman and an eternally curious observer of life and the human condition. He was also a writer and storyteller from a young age. Blessed with an eye for detail, a keen memory and the patience to write it all down in longhand, he wrote mainly for his own interest. While he rarely submitted anything to be published, we grew up with his stories of the people he had met and known in his life.

One story we heard often, either in its entirety or in bits, had to do with a true adventure of one of his best friends. Eventually he got the story down on paper. In honor of his birthday and because the story takes place at this time of year and in town not that far from here, I’m posting it. All of the people involved are long gone, as are many who ever heard it told. The written version has never, as far as I know, appeared outside of our family. It is something that I will always cherish, though I must warn those of you want to continue that it is not a story for those with a faint heart or weak stomach.

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