Dear Baby Alff…your story begins long before your arrival next month, it began almost fifteen years ago when I met a family at church, the Alff family. It was the usual “church-type” family. One father. One mother. Three kids, spaced out a couple of years apart. The oldest kid, a boy, was about five feet ten inches tall…and only eight years old (I tease…he was closer to six feet tall). He had two sisters….Jenna and Jessie…both nice girls but sassy as all get out (is it any wonder that the boy was so quiet?). When the young man turned sixteen years old I hired him at our store where he would work with us for five or six years, becoming an assistant manager and also fixing a lot of stuff in our store. This nice young man has a gift of fixing broken things. This young mans name is Jacob (he’s your father).
Meanwhile, down in historic Osceola Iowa, a young lady was working at the same company that Jacob and I worked for….feeding the good folks of Clark county fried chicken, potato salad and baked beans. This same young lady called me one day telling me that she was going to attend a local college in our area and wanted to transfer to our store. I told her that we didn’t HAVE a kitchen area in our store and while I would love to have her transfer in I wanted to be upfront with her. She stated that she wished to work in a small store, get her education in becoming a bakery chef then open her own bakery. That was in July of 2013, she transferred in the next month. This young ladies name is Lacey (she’s your mother).
Well….long story short, your mother did an outstanding job for us. Whatever we gave her to do she absolutely knocked the ball out of the park. She was very quiet at first, but soon her sassy attitude started bubbling up to the surface and letting us know that she wasn’t so shy after all. Lacey did so well that we decided to make her an assistant manager as well, and who better to train her than Jacob? Somewhere, somehow, sometime a romance sprang forth from that “training”….which is kind of weird since I never ever told either one of them “go fall in love with Jacob…he’s a terrific guy with a respectable bowling average” or “do yourself a favor and wear some Old Spice tonight then give Lacey the ol’ ‘come hither’ look when showing her the Dairy cooler”. It just happened. Before long I heard whispers of “Jacob and Lacey are dating…” to which I replied “who cares? Get back to the Dairy cooler, no one filled the 2% last night!” It just happened and continued on.
Sadly Jacob left our store for another company where he’s moved up the ladder and become a big-shot (I credit his quick ascension to the remarkable training that he received from yours truly). Nonetheless the romance continued between your father and mother….so much in fact that last spring your mother announced your impending arrival this fall (how exciting!!).
Now let me say this…your mother is rather ornery, not in a bad way….just a little stubborn. I’ve gone out on the limb and have predicted to her that you (Baby Alff #1) will probably be the same way (some call it Karma….but I think that God’s got a wonderful sense of humor so that’s what I’m going with). You’re coming into a wonderful, loving, Christian family. Your Grandma Alff (Jackie) is a wonderful person and I cannot say enough good things about her. Your Aunts, Jenna and Jessie, both work with me at the store (I hired them both….the Alff family has supplied three employees to me which sets the record for MOST EMPLOYEES SUPPLIED BY ONE COUPLE). Between Jenna and Jessie you’ve already got two boy cousins to torture you, so I’m sorry about that. I feel a little responsible for your Aunt Jessie and Uncle Luke meeting and procreating a cousin for you but they went to high school together and worked at the same time at my store and since I hired them both….I’ll take partial credit. Maybe Jessie was watching Luke fill the cottage cheese one night and the cooler lights hit him just right and she thought to herself “hubba hubba!! I’d like to get to know that kid a little better if you know what I mean!!” and since they’re an old married couple now I can say that….just know that your cousin Stephen isn’t fond of me yet so don’t believe him if he starts talking trash about me. Jaxson, though, Jenna’s boy…that kid loves me. I’m not lying. Jaxson adores the Ripman.
So….Baby Alff #1 (and any Baby Alff’s that follow, which chances are will be…) welcome to planet Earth. I’ll keep my distance until you’re cool with me. Also….you’ll turn 16 in November 2031. Have your drivers license and social security card ready. Apply for a job on-line, I’ll give you a cursory interview before hiring you. Oh…and by the way…you’ve got big shoes to fill plus I expect fresh baked and frosted bakery goods from your mothers bakery on the first and third Mondays of the month. Welcome aboard.