Letter of the Day:  A
A is for Actor, those wonderful creators with interesting voices and expressive faces and bodies that pull the words off the page and breath life into the characters.  I’ve always loved acting.

A is for Aalgaard, my last name.  Whenever I spell it out loud to a new person they say, “Wow, that’s a lot of A’s.”  I say, “Yes, I get all the A’s in the box.”  The double A is an English spelling of the name that originates in Norway.  My brother James will explain a bit more.  I come from a family of writers and wanderers.  Words and music have been our greatest connectors.  James also has a blog called the Wandering Norwegian, which he posts on whenever the spirit moves him, which isn’t often.  James is a Lutheran Pastor living in Ontario, Oregon with his family. Here’s his story:

Ålgård is a place that has given us a family name: Aalgaard. There’s a stream that courses through this little country community in Southern Norway. When I was there for a short visit in 2009, I asked what the stream is called. No one could tell me! The surrounding lakes had names, but for some reason the stream did not.

It’s difficult to find a flat patch of ground on Ålgård. The mountains and hills have been rounded by time. Berries, wild flowers and grasses are abundant, and many of the the people who live there can say this has been their home at least seven or eight generations! That’s what you call having deep roots!

I learned firsthand how much it can rain over there! We spent a day hiking around those hills, seeing other places that were also part of my family’s history. The grasses were tall and the trail sometimes unclear. It was pouring rain all day, and when it was time for me to take off my borrowed rain boots, I turned one upside down, out came a few CUPS of water! All I can say is I had very clean feet for the rest of the day.

It means a great deal to me that there is a place called Ålgård, and that I can trace family back so many generations. What’s especially meaningful is that our relatives welcome us for visits any time. There has been a renewal of those friendships recently, and I see that as a blessing!

This past summer my sister Joy, neice Holly, and Marlin (relative who lives in Norway who might be a second cousin once removed, or something like that), climbed the hill above Ålgård for the traditional family shot.  My parents have a similarly posed picture hanging in their house with my dad and two of his siblings.
When I was there, 23 years ago, as a young college student, it was a quick stop, minus this hike and photo.  All I remember is that when we pulled up, my great uncle Carl was in his bee keeping gear, and just as we stepped out of the car, he got stung!  We had a communication barrier, so he sat and talked to my dad’s cousin while my friends and I just wandered around.  When we got to my great aunt Signe’s house in town, I walked in the door and immediately had the sense of coming home.
Thanks, James for writing a guest post on my blog today.  Thanks, family for staying connected and sharing your stories and passing along these great gifts!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt:  Where do your roots lead back to? What gifts, talents, and traditions have been passed from generation to generation?