His name was Jacob.

Jacob was born back, even before the 'Old Days', in 1878. Just 13 years after Abraham Lincoln left the planet, Jacob was born.

He was born to an already elderly couple. His father died when Jacob was just an infant, a baby. He never knew his dad, and Jacob and his mom and a couple of siblings left that place then. They left it and went on a journey. Truth be known, I suppose Jacob left his home before he even knew it was his home.

And so Jacob built a new home, a fresh home, and a new life. Uneducated in a new place, a new land. He traveled all the way to the middle of this new land, the belly of it. And this would be Jacob's new life.

He worked hard, mostly in what would be called menial jobs I suspect, laboring jobs, hard work jobs. He wasn't noteworthy, this Jacob, not in a worldly sense. He wasn't famous and he didn't amass a great fortune.

Except for one thing...Jacob did amass a fortune.

Jacob met a woman and they fell in love. Her name was Grace and she was filled with that very word. Small in stature, large in beauty, and deep and warm in heart. There are pictures, of course, pictures of this man, tall and broad-shouldered, stern-looking for the most part, and quite plainly handsome. And that lady sitting by his side, hair long and body small, and in a way I can't quite describe...determined.

Jacob and Grace made their way together, made their way from one place to the next and the next, never rich and sometimes poor but always, they made their way. There were children for Jacob and Grace, nine in all...and they all made their way.

Not particularly successful in the classic sense of the word, this family, but successful in a more important sense: They were held high by the most important people in the world, the people who knew them, the people who loved them.

And all of this from a man named Jacob, a man I never knew, never met. And strangely, a man I miss.

Born in 1878 and baptized in the church that gave birth to the Christian Reformed Church in a faraway land, a land called The Netherlands. A faraway land he left as a child and grew into a man in the United States of America.

Jacob lived 70 years on God's Green Earth. When he left, back in 1948, he left behind his beautiful Grace, who would live alone for another 23 years. I was 16 years old when this 'Grace' passed away and as I look back, I wasn't concerned enough. At 16 a boy's thoughts are on cars and music and girls. And so I didn't ask Grace about this man she married, about living when the calendar moved from the 1800s to the 1900s, about 2 World Wars, about a Great Depression.

Or about losing her husband 23 years before.

I didn't ask about those things because at 16 I didn't really care that much. Now, staring face-to-face at 65, I care about that a whole lot. I wish I could ask her, but I can't.

My Grandma Grace died in 1971 at 91 years old. I miss her, and I miss her husband, a man I never met, never knew.

His name was Jacob.

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