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Steve Birdsall

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Wisconsin Family

Part One

As I was getting on Highway 53 headed towards Little Green Lake in southern Wisconsin, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly sad. There was a part of me that was happy to be hitting the road, but 99% of me didn’t want to leave Rice Lake, Wisconsin. So how did I get here? I guess I got ahead of myself so let’s tell the rest of the story first.


I arrived in Rice Lake Wisconsin at the Kargus family’s home around 2:30 in the afternoon September 20. Amazingly this was exactly as planned, to have driven all the way across this country and I land exactly when I was supposed to. Cody’s wife Amber was home when I drove up, she came out and gave me a big hug and let me know how happy they were to have me come visit. I was overwhelmed by a sense of both relief and joy that I had finally made it. I had gotten very close to Cody over the years at Crossway church in Port Orchard where he was our pastor. However, for whatever reason I had not developed much of a relationship with Amber or their four daughters, this was about to change. Cody was at work and she expected him to come home later in the afternoon. Amber and I talked for a while about how amazing it was that after all this planning and driving I had really managed to get here. There was always that shadow of doubt that I would not be able to make the trip or turn around and go home. Cody got home later in the afternoon as was expected and we exchanged hugs and talked about how cool it was that I managed to make the trip.


It seemed like almost immediately we sat down and started talking about what I wanted to do while I was there. Cody went to work on writing out a schedule of things we wanted to do and when they would most fit in around his work commitments. Cody loves to work on schedules and one of the fun things about Cody once you get to know him is he always over schedules every day and somehow manages to get 99% of that done anyways, I don’t think he ever stops moving. It was fun talking about things I would like to get to do, things he wanted to be able to show me and share with me. We talked about different types of fishing we wanted to do, different lakes we would go to. They have a farmer’s market where they have something weird called cheese curds, more on that when we get there. One thing about working on a schedule with Cody for my time there is that you must remember that Cody is the head pastor of a large church, father of four girls who are very busy and husband to a wife who is also busy homeschooling two kids and leading a women’s Bible study. Not to mention taking care of a household with five other people in it. She’s amazing; I don’t know how she does it. So, as you would expect, our schedule and plans fluctuated almost daily.


As each daughter arrived home Cody or Amber made sure to reintroduce me to them. I think all four girls remembered me to some degree. I know we had dinner shortly after that but I can’t really remember what our first activity was. So; if Cody’s reading this he can chuckle at the fact that I might’ve mixed up the sequence of events, but I guess that’s what makes retelling the story fun.

One evening that first week we went to the farmers market and had amazing donuts that are handmade by a Mennonite family while you watch. I could not believe how good they taste, they melt in your mouth. We also took some home for the rest of the family to have. While we were there we got a package of fresh cheese curds. Now these things are cheese, but they are weird little pieces that are about the size of a peanut in the shell and they squeak when you chew them. It is the strangest thing you’ll ever experience and probably the only place you get to do it is Wisconsin.

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