Best January Coloring Pages

Biff America: Love and manure

On the day he died, Louie Jacque mistakenly thought he was 100 years old.

Born in Switzerland in 1898, his family migrated to Iowa eight years later. The life of an immigrant farmer during the early 1900s was no better in Iowa than in the industrialized cities. Though the air was clean and the work less tedious, rural employers considered the foreign laborers as little more than farm animals.

January Coloring Page • FREE Printable PDF from PrimaryGames
January Coloring Page • FREE Printable PDF from PrimaryGames

When Louie was in his teens, a wealthy land owner took a liking to his dad and leased out a small parcel to the family. Louie still worked 12 hours a day but was allowed to eat some of the food he grew.

Genie was born in a log cabin on a farm across Bear Creek from The Jacque’s place. She had the coloring of her Swedish mother and the temper and temperament of her Irish father. She told stories of her father bringing the family’s cow and mule into their one-room cabin on cold nights. This not only kept the livestock from freezing, but also added valuable body heat to their drafty home.

They met at a Fourth of July picnic and were married, on Valentine’s Day, less than a year later.

January Coloring Pages (% Free Printables)
January Coloring Pages (% Free Printables)

Love is no substitute for a good meal, but it does make a dandy appetizer. They acquired a small plot of land and worked together in the fields. From the first day of married life, they were inseparable. The neighbors would say that, “You’d never see Louie taking out a load of manure without Genie standing behind him on the wagon.” In an age where women were supposed to be home, keeping house and pregnant, Louie and Genie broke the mold of couples of their day. 

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They weren’t only husband and wife. They were partners, lovers and friends — and didn’t hide their affection. Louie, in his 70s, would share with his mortified grandson that when either one of them was feeling romantic they would ‘inkel’ (rapidly raise eyebrows) and the other would get the message. Though his grandson had heard enough, Louie felt a need to extoll the benefits of a small family touting his preferred means of birth control.   

One winter after Genie suffered a stroke and Louie slipped while shoveling snow and broke an ankle, the couple moved into a retirement community. They were both in their 80s and were tired of housekeeping. Nursing home life seemed to agree with them. Louie would say, “It’s a lot like life on the farm, minus the manure.”

January Coloring Page  Free Download
January Coloring Page Free Download

To everyone’s surprise, their health later improved, and they remained active octogenarians. The two of them would often take drives down to Bear Creek with Louie at the wheel and Genie enjoying the views of her youth. Though they had separate bedrooms, they had two easy chairs in Louie’s room. They would sit there for hours holding hands and dozing.

The years didn’t lessen the couple’s affection for each other. Without seeking approval or permission, Louie would crawl into his wife’s bed every Valentine’s Day in celebration of their anniversary. “Genie doesn’t ‘inkle’ anymore. But we still make love in our memories.”

Louie had a few bad years after Genie died. He was in his early 90s, lonely, and his awareness seemed to fluctuate with the seasons.

January Coloring Pages - Cute Coloring Pages For Kids
January Coloring Pages – Cute Coloring Pages For Kids

Then he got it in his head to live to be 100.

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Louie pursued the century mark with the same good-hearted determination that he used to overcome his humble beginnings. “If I lived to be 100 years old, now that would be something.”

Louie began pacing himself. He would sleep most of the day, waking only when family would visit. Every birthday they would bring him a cake and sing happy birthday. When they were finished, he would say, “Today, I’m 97. Now, if I live to be 100, that will be something.”

Louie had only six months before his 100th birthday when his health began to fail. Heart and lung issues sapped all that was left of any remaining quality of life. His family was called to the nursing home a few times in November and December for what everyone thought would be a final goodbye.

He regained consciousness on Christmas Eve. His family was around his bed. His family hung a new calendar on the wall and flipped the page to “May 1997, Louie’s birth month.” The contradiction of Christmas decorations in May was lost on Louie. He believed he had lived to be 100 years old.

His family sang happy birthday to him for the last time. Louie smiled and said, “100 years — now that is something. I can’t wait to tell Genie.”

Louie Jacque squeezed a lot of life in 99 years and seven months. …

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