200 words for Fred

“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.” And the song goes on. Some might think it’s sappy, but I like it. It was written and sung by John Denver back in the mid-70s. I can’t think of John Denver without also thinking of Fred Greiner. Fred was, when I was thirteen years old and beyond, the older brother that I never had. What? you say, you already had three older brothers! Yes, but Fred was the older brother that didn’t mind spending time with me and who would talk to me like I was a real person.

I remember riding in Fred’s very cool Ford Thunderbird. I went a few times with him to pick up Lisa and Jenny by myself. He was quite a tailgater, as I recall. When Jeanne and Fred decided to update Mom and Dad’s kitchen, Fred made the cabinets himself. We hung wallpaper, put in a new floor, and painted—all in one weekend, as a surprise. What son-in-law does that?

Fred was an integral part of my young life. He was a good guy. I loved him in those days. I hope he finds the sunshine.