Lapua is a small isolated farm town in the middle of the Finnish plains.  With a population of 14,000 it had all the nuances of any rural farm town, Finnish or otherwise.  But at least it was a town.  My visit with Mervi had offered no socializing outside of her immediate family and the hogs.

A single intersection comprised downtown Lapua.  Within a block of these four corners one would find the bank, the department store, the grocery store, the sporting goods store, a new and rather nice hotel (for whom, I didn’t know), the post office and three bars.  All the priorities, in order of quantity.  A large white wooden church sat immediately adjacent to the center of town on the banks where two rivers converged.  Its dark metal roof contrasted nicely with the tree-lined riverbanks.  Like any farm town, the air was fresh and cool as it still early June.  I could smell the soil.

Seppo’s parents, Keijo and Irma, lived in a small one-storey house on a small gravel road just south of town.  It was a quiet and tranquil setting but not what I expected.