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  • It is late summer, and we are visiting my husband's family in the central Wisconsin area. My children are blessed to have two great-grandmothers still living, along with their grandmother, and many great-aunts and great-uncles and cousins galore, most residing in or near the small town my husband grew up in.

    We are visiting Great-Grandma B, who has a small cement-formed basin on a wooden platform in her front yard serving as a bird bath. The water is still running and overflowing as we arrive, but gets turned off.

    Late that afternoon, my kids are in the yard. The youngest, J, not yet two, gives that table (which has a post down into the ground) a shove when we are distracted - and over it goes! The basin of the bird bath falls upside down on the lawn. My oldest attempts to flip it so it's right-side-up, and when it lands it shatters in to four pieces.

    By the end of the visit, we will have replaced it (over Great-Grandma B's protestations) so that she can enjoy the birds. But before then, there is picking up the mess. The table is righted, the pieces of the old bird bath set on it and gently pushed together so it looks right.

    My oldest - who is not yet five - wants to put the water back in so the birds can drink it. We explain that the cracked basin cannot hold water any more, and he is downcast. After a moment he darts off...and returns with his brother's plastic sippy cup, which he sets carefully onto the bottom of the basin. "Now the birds can drink!"

    We did leave her with a new bird bath...and the memory, of course.
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