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.