Kennedy Park was given to the county by Burdette Kennedy, an unkempt recluse. People ignored him. He would come into town periodically, and he often stopped at our house. He always asked, “Where does Ernie Tracey live?” My mother would give him directions and a sandwich.

Ron Thompson once went out to Burdette’s farm to ask permission to fish on his property. Burdette was cooking supper. Six cats and Burdette circled the pot eating pea soup together.

Two generations later, people enjoy the park as though it were donated by a philanthropist in a three-piece suit, not a man shunned.


Jim Krotzman is a retired English teacher at Watertown (WI) High School. He is a struggling haiku poet and fisherman.