Dear Dan,

You had your own language when you were a toddler. I don’t remember it since I either was not yet born or an infant at the time. It is, however, part of family history. “Peeame,” “umfunger,” “wadipot” and “ginkamuk,”were just a few of the words that had to be interpreted by the family unit.

Dad and Scott thought it was cute. Mom was worried that you would never learn to speak properly. When she spoke to Dr. Welch, he said if Dad and Scott kept speaking your language, you never would learn to speak theirs. Grandmother and Granddad just thought you were an alien. Okay, so they weren’t far off the mark.

I guess it wasn’t until you were in school that you finally began to learn English as it is spoken around these parts. “Peeame” was “piece of meat.” “Umfunger” was “air hammer.” “Wadipot” was “lollipop.”

What of the ever-popular “ginkamuk?” Ah, that, my brother, isn’t family history; it is Family Legend!

Dad, mom, Scott and you were coming back from a visit with Grandmother and Granddad in Camptown. Dad was driving, Mom was in the front seat with a migraine, and you and Scott were in the back seat. You sat behind Mom, tugging the back of her seat. You rocked back and forth, saying “Ginkamuk, ginkamuk, ginkamuk,” in a rhythmic sing-song.

Finally, you blew the buffer Mom’s very low tolerance limit. She turned around and yelled, “It’s ‘drink of milk.’ M–I–L–K–MILK!”

You slumped back in the seat and said, “m–oo–k–muk.”

To this day, Mom isn’t sure if that was backtalk or if you were trying to correctly repeat what she said.

And to think, in later years, you graduated from Toastmasters and had a career in local politics. 

I love you, bro!

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