Quote of the Day: May you find JOY in unexpected places. Katrine Trobisch Stewart, my journaling mentor, author, and speaker
My parents had a VIP guest visiting this week. My dad’s cousin Erling from Norway was over here to attend his 50th high school class reunion. He was born in Norway and came to Minnesota in the late 50’s with his family and graduated from Ada High School in 1960. He and his family returned to Norway where he lived and worked, married and raised children. I first met him when he was here for his 25th reunion, and a few years later when I went to Norway while in college.
I wasn’t sure I’d make it back to the family farm to see him during his short stay in the States. But, Mom called on Friday morning and we decided that I could just drive there on Sat., spend the night with them, and then I’d get to see Erling and spend time with family.
My hesitation was from resisting the three-hour drive, there and back, alone, because my kids were with their dad this weekend. I would have been happier taking them with me to visit their grandparents and meet a relative “from the Old Country,” as they like to put it.
My first stop was in Ada where they said they’d be at some festivities at the fairgrounds/Pioneer Village, a museum location in this small town. I drove up and few cars were there. The food was all gone, and the vendors were packing up their booths. I wandered into the museum to see if my parents were there. No. Then, I noticed people walking into the old church. Well, if my parents would be anywhere it would be the church. I walked in and heard a gorgeous string quartet starting the first strains of a concert. I moved in farther. A man in the back pew whispered that there was seating up front. I didn’t want to interrupt the concert, nor push my way forward, so I whispered back, “Thanks, I’m looking for my parents.”
I didn’t see my parents, but I did spot my Godparents, and the music was pure sweet goodness, so I stood back, took out my camera for a silent/flashless photo, and enjoyed.
They are the 8th Street String Quartet, the “all star” ensemble of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Benjamin Sung talked to us in between songs to give us the story behind the pieces – one of my favorite things! I particularly liked the Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, “American” by Antonin Dvorak. He was inspired to write this piece after visiting the United States, even as this nation was building itself. I could hear the vastness of our country in the strains of music. Ah, Joy in a very unexpected place. Plus, I got a photo with my Godmother, Clarice.
Then, I had dinner with my sister, her husband and his parents – a delicious spread of soup, sandwich meat, chicken salad, smoked salmon, variety of cheeses, and lots of candied almonds! I slept like a baby at Mom & Dad’s house and went to our little country church where the pianist raised the rafters with her grandious playing, and we were leanin’ and swayin’ on our way out to “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leanin’ on the everlasting arms!”
More food. My neice Holly and I were celebrating our birthdays with chocolate cake and fry-bread tacos (Thanks, Nancy!).
Holly’s a model for her friend’s clothing designs and they used her picture for the advertising postcard.
Here’s the celebrity of the hour, Erling, holding the little tractor that my uncle carved for him. My Uncle David, my mom’s brother, worked with him on a farm when Erling lived here.
Erling and my dad. I think they’re talking farming and offspring. Erling asked when I planned to come back to Norway. I’d love to bring my kids there some day. When Nancy goes there for her dream stay, I’ll take the boys with me to visit her and all the relatives in the Old Country.
Bye, Erling! Hope to see you soon!
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What a great reunion. I would have loved to have listened to his stories.
My folks are from Ireland and England. The only story I know was about the England dude who was an Earl and disgraced his family or town or whatever and had to leave and quick.
Hey Mary, I’m so glad you had a fun time with your family. You look like you enjoyed it. The food sounds lovely.
You always find adventure, wherever you go, whomever you’re with. That IS the right word for you. 🙂
This was really fun reading. And I even learn a new thing or two.
Great pics! I had great grandparents that took a ship to America from two countries: Ireland and Germany. In fact, I remember always calling my great grandma and great grandpa, oma and opa. Not sure if that’s spelled correctly. I also remember my oma speaking in German when she got angry. 🙂
Sounds like a memory-making “magical” weekend! I love your description of the church and the music. Made me envious I missed it! Good post Mary 🙂
Mary, what wonderful memories you made.
Sigh. Our heritage stems from Native Americans and the English, and we have no contact, really, with other those who spanned seas to get here.
Only one aunt has family pictures to speak of. There’s a VERY sketchy background.
Sigh. I’m jealous.
how blessed you are , Mary!
and i so get the unexpected joy thing.
I am always so ready to back out of things, that end up in the end to blow me away with their gifts.
I LOVE that you’re able to connect with family members still in the “old country”. My families (moms and dads) come from England and Ireland with some Native American thrown in somewhere. I’ve been wanting to do some research into both sides of my family but until then, I have a book about my dad’s family someone put together years ago. Very fascinating stuff!