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I can still hear the big man’s laugh

It has been years now, but he used to come to our home on Sunday mornings for a cup of coffee. Not every Sunday but maybe once a month we would be favored by his visit.

He was a relative of ours, a cousin of my Dad, and lived not too far away from our place. He was a big man, many called him Big Bonne. A man of broad shoulders and well over six feet tall. He had a very friendly disposition, always happy and full of a friendly spirit and positive attitude. He could laugh, making the walls of our small living room shake. He was so different from most people we knew, not a solemn demeanor like some folks in our area at that time.

As children, we enjoyed his visits, and even our Dad, a man of stern character, envied his lively attitude and manifestations.

Bonne had been around during Dad’s younger years and would travel during the spring and early summer months to certain regions in Germany and hire out as a field worker. German farmers needed men to cut the grass of their extensive fields.

This mowing was down by scythe, and Bonne was a master of that kind of work. He would work with like-trained fellows and continued to cut grass, going from farmer to farmer. It was an adventurous life and it suited Bonne to a T.

Later on, when he returned home, he would relate to my parents the stories of his work for those German farmers. He wasn't married at that time, and his Dad could deal with the work on their small farm at home. The mowing season lasted only a short time, and Bonne would return home.

Bonne was highly opinionated about the economy and political situation in Germany. He somehow knew and felt that a devastating war was waiting in the wings.

On Sunday mornings, Bonne would on occasion attend church services. It could happen that when the minister would expose a historical fact in connection with his sermon, Bonne would disagree with the explanation. He would stand up in the midst of the members of the congregation and raise his hand. He then would tell the minister that his interpretation was incorrect and announce that he, the minister, was wrong, and Bonne would correct him with the details of the historical facts, and soon the minister would admit that he had been wrong.

When Bonne came to our home, he would find a ladies apparel magazine and turn to the underwear section of the females. He would admire the picture section with the models dressed in underwear, and soon voice his opinion about their looks and shapes with coarse remarks, but seeing us around the room, he would apologize and laugh his boisterous laugh and tap loudly on the underside of the table and finish with a forceful smack on the shoulders of our Dad.

In later years, he received a large sum of money from the county when the county took a large section of his yard to extend the county road. Bonne then came more often. He sold the rest of his property and continued to visit and entertain us with his bluster and bravado.

He is no longer around, but at times I think that I still can hear his powerful laugh. What a man.

Tony Antonides lives in Central Point.

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