Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Did Winnie the Pooh say, "I will be back."
Or Christopher Robin?

I will look that up.

Silence - half of February, all of March and April . . . I have been writing . . .
just not updating this blog.

May 1, 2019

That sounds like a new start.
There has been a blog post running through my head and it is time to get it on paper,
er, blog post. I was reminded of it when Krysta and I were shopping for fabric for her

Krysta held a bolt of white fabric up to her face and said, "Won't I look so pale on my
wedding day? I think I need to get a tan before June 29th." This question and statement
made me laugh.

You see, if Krysta is going to be a bride that means I will be the mother of the bride. (MOTB)
This has never happened to me before. So far in our family weddings I have been
the mother of the groom. Three times. It was an enjoyable position. I always thanked my
lucky stars that I didn't have to start out as (MOTB)  - because I was sure I would be a failure.

I am not an organizational whiz. In fact if someone else wants to go to all that work
"more power to them" I always say. Just give me a job back here in the corner and I will be
happy. I'll clean or wash dishes or do food prep (or sit in another corner and read my book
or crochet or knit.)

The other reason I laughed was the memory of a story from a master story teller.

Robert Fulghum


I have been collecting his books for a number of years. When things happen that remind me
of his stories I laugh again and go look up the story. This one about the MOTB is in his book

(That sentence reminded Robert of a quote he had copied in his journal. It was written in Latin,
from the writings of Horace. "Quid rides? Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur." The translation: "Why do you laugh? Change the name, and the story is told of you.")

The story of the mother of the bride tells of a wedding disaster to end all disasters. Mother
had planned everything down to the minutest detail. When at last she sat down at the wedding
she breathed a sigh of great relief. While nine bridesmaids floated down the aisle Dad and the
bride were wandering around between tables piled high with delightful hors d' oeuvres. The
bride was tasting these yummy creations, then her dad gave her a glass of pink champagne
to "calm her nerves."

So when the bride started down the aisle the only thing people noticed was her white face.
And when she got about even with her mother she threw up -- actually Robert says
"she hosed the front of the chancel--hitting two bridesmaids, the groom, a ringbearer and me."

A never to be forgotten wedding!

I was thinking about weddings today -- and getting ready for them. It kind of reminds me
of getting ready to have a baby. At about seven or eight months into the pregnancy the
mother-to-be is planning the nursery d├ęcor and cleaning and going to Lamaze classes and
practicing all the breathing techniques and relaxing exercises. She is educating herself and
her husband by reading every book she can find about labor and delivery. She is walking
every day and trying to keep in shape because she's been told "labor is like entering a marathon"
and "this is the hardest thing you will ever do!"

She is thinking inside her head, "What have I gotten myself into?" And "I'm stuck!"
"There is no way out of this! I can only go forward." Gathering every ounce of fortitude
she prepares for the BIG DAY!

That's sort of how I'm feeling right now. I've even begun to walk a mile every day to get my
energy up and build up my fortitude. It's not that I, in those long ago days as a mother-to-be,
would have gone back and changed anything. I was thrilled beyond words with each of my pregnancies.

And I certainly wouldn't go back and change anything about Allen and Krysta's courtship, engagement and up-coming wedding. It just seems like the past twenty-one years since Krysta entered our family have flown by with the speed of light!

About that education . . . if any of you who have been the MOTB have any bits of wisdom to
send my way I would be most grateful to hear from you. When you think about our family in the
next two months you can send up a prayer for all of us.

I want to be like that other MOTB. At the 10th anniversary of this calamity, she threw a party.
Set up three TV's to show three videos of the gory scenes. The part that I admire about her is
that she was able to forgive everyone involved, including herself. And she was able to laugh at
herself. Robert Fulghum says, "There's a word for what she has. Grace."

P.S. I forgot to say - the title MOTB is not original with me.
It is borrowed from Robert Fulghum's story.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Technical difficulties

Well, well, well.

Now I know - don't monkey with the font size. But I have done that before without trouble.

Hang in there everyone. Help is on the way. Don't strain your eyes reading that small print.

I will be back . . .     (as Winnie the Pooh says)

Pepper Plays Nurse

Mom, my sisters, and I have quoted a sentence out of this book for most of our lives.
We must have heard this book being read to us so many times we memorized it.
Pepper decided to start a small animal hospital and collected needy animals to care
for. The sentence we quoted is, "Clear the way! Sick duck with a cold!"

More recently, after saying that I'd think, "I wonder where I could find that book?"
One day I asked Krysta to help me look it up. To start out I thought the phrase was,
"Make way, sick duck with a cold!" Typing that line brought up the book
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

"That's not it!" I was frustrated.

"What's the book about?" Krysta asked.

I had to put on my thinking cap. "It seems like there was a little girl that pretended
to be a nurse. She found a duck and rushed off to her house with it."

Krysta typed an abbreviated version of those memories and this image popped up.
"There it is! Oh, her name is Pepper! I forgot that part of the story!"

Image result for pepper plays nurse

image credits go to Google

Maybe having this book read to me made me think I would be a nurse some day.

It never occurred to me that I could be a vet and take care of animals.

(Those were the days before James Herriot wrote All Creatures Great and Small)

Or maybe there were so many aunts in my life who were nurses that I thought I would

be one, too. Later on I found out I love to read books about nurses, but I don't want to be one.

There was Aunt Hellen, who lived in Baudette during my growing up years.

Mom stayed with her when she had pneumonia and Trenda was in the hospital with pneumonia.

There was Aunt Luella, married to Uncle Joe. Great Grandpa Jake lived at their house. 

I remember many family reunions at Uncle Joe's house where the small fry traveled many miles

(in their imaginations) by "riding" around in the old cars behind the house.

Aunt Elnora lived in a little house close to Graceton Beach. Her nick name was Auntie Norn.

She wrote short essays that were published in the local newspaper. Later, those essays were

published in a book, North of Nowhere.

Aunt Lenore lived in Chicago. She and Uncle Slim would come to Minnesota to visit

Grandpa and Grandma Skrivseth. They would have all of us in stitches.

So many hilarious, deep belly laughs. This must have been a great stress reliever for everyone.

(That's what they say now anyway. Relieve stress. Laugh with your family.)

I didn't know Aunt Marge. She lived far away in California. I don't know if I ever met her. 

All of these gals are my Great-Aunts, Grandpa Ben's sisters.

My dad has six sisters. Strangely enough my sisters and I didn't attach 'aunt' to their names.

They were simply Norma, Sharon, Carol, Jo Ellen, Rhoda and Leah to us. Leah is only three

years older than me and always seemed like an older sister, not an aunt.

Carol and Leah graduated from nursing school.

My brother, Hans, is a nurse.

Now I am grown up and an aunt myself. Some of my nieces and nephews are grown up and are having their own families which means - scary thought - I am a Great Aunt.

When I was little I always thought my great aunts were incredibly old. There is probably no longer any danger that I will be a nurse some day. I would rather read books out loud to small children. It's fun for me to recommend books to someone who says, "I can't find anything to read."

Maybe I should volunteer at the library some day.




Wednesday, January 16, 2019

January 2019

Dear Friends and Family, It has been a long time since I've written. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered there is a blog that should be updated. December flew by with wings as we prepared for Christmas and a family reunion. It just gets more and more complex with varied work schedules, vacation days and all the joys of winter travel. 

Jeremy and Elizabeth Harshbarger

Evan and Chelsea Harshbarger

Krysta and Deanne Harshbarger

Jorgan and Zoey Harshbarger

Allen Nolt and Krysta Harshbarger 

Leona Skrivseth
(my mother)
Deanne traveled by train from western MT. Allen and Krysta picked her up at the train station Christmas Eve morning. They had a leisurely trip home with some sight seeing thrown in (the capital building in St. Paul) and a stop at Chick-fil-A for sustenance. The train ride was 24+ hours so Dea was a bit hungry.

They were giving me time to get the table cleaned off. It has a habit of being perpetually full of stuff and very messy!  These are the pictures I sent Dea to admire. She said, "Wow! So we can come home now?" Then I sent her the next photo in the line-up.

All that stuff had to go somewhere ... and it was time to wash dishes.
I texted, "I want my mommy!"
She texted back, "I want my mommy, too."
I think we were quoting Odyssey.
Or maybe Ree Drummond.

We had a wonderful time.
It was way too short.
The week went way too fast!
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!
 Best wishes for a Happy New Year from our family to yours!
Love, Ellis and Dawn Harshbarger

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

July Travels

Monday morning, July 2nd, Mom and I drove over to WI to visit Aunt Grace. I thought about all sorts of people I could call and visit while I was there. In the end I just relaxed and listened to Grace and Mom reminisce.

I have a lot of memories in that neck of the woods, too. Every Christmas we went to WI for a
Martin reunion. Since the Martins were together we might as well have a Skrivseth reunion.
Four of the Martin clan married four Skrivseths. We would have a lot more relatives if they wouldn't have doubled up like that! ;) On top of that two more Skrivseths married cousins of the Martin family.

One of my younger cousins asked his mom to explain the family records. It truly is something that becomes more clear if you write it all down on a chart and read it. This young man listened to the whole explanation and then said, "Mom, by the time you and Dad got married didn't you feel like
you were related?"

Tuesday morning we drove to Sheldon and got groceries. On the way home we stopped at the cemetery where Grandpa and Grandma Martin are buried. Then we drove past the home farm.
On down the road and around the curve, across the bridge and through the woods to the spot
where Mom and her sisters picked berries every summer. They walked there, picked berries then walked home. Ate lunch then walked back and picked more berries. Grandma canned them in jars and they had berries for winter eating.

Listening to Grace and Mom talk was a little like reading an Anne of Green Gables book. They walked everywhere. To school, to the pond for skating, to the woods to pick berries.

As we drove down the road we passed a pond on the left hand side. Mom said they used to
skate on that pond. That comment intrigued me. Since Mom and her siblings skated there why
hadn't they shown us that sweet spot? We drove around the curve and crossed the bridge.
I slowed down and said, "This is where we skated. We went down that bank, put our skates on
and went swimming." The instant the word fell off my tongue I knew it was wrong.

"No, no, I meant skating!" I protested above shrieks of laughter from Aunt Grace and Mother.

What causes these twists of the tongue?! I have no idea. I looked at the water flowing under the bridge and the word swimming came to the surface.

At any rate there used to be a week of Winter Bible School held at the Sheldon church between Christmas and New Year. We studied, listened to lectures and sang during the day and skated in
the afternoons. Now my mind comes up blank. Was there an evening session back at the church? Someone help me remember if you were there all those years ago.

Mom and I drove to Boyceville, WI Tuesday afternoon and attended a 50th anniversary celebration for my uncle and aunt, Amos and Carol Kauffman. All of their children were there - cousins I haven't seen in years.  This was a momentous occasion. The reception was held in a large green house at my cousin's place. Tables and chairs were arranged in long rows. We helped ourselves to an assortment of delicious food at a buffet then we could sit down and eat.

The weather cooperated with a beautiful summer evening . . . sunny and warm. Eventually there was a sunset, too. What fun to look at old pictures and memories and meet so many people.

There was another slip of the tongue to embarrass me on this lovely day. Mom and I got there early. We drove up to the house and went inside. There was a bustle of activity with last minute food preparation. Two lovely gals were spreading a cream cheese/ranch dressing on the pizza crusts. To make conversation and be friendly and fill in the silence I said, "I don't know your names."

My cousin looked up and said, "I'm Michelle." At the same moment I remembered the other gal was Evelyn, my cousin Curt's wife. Laughter is good for the soul. We had lots of funny stories to
tell to keep us laughing.

Congratulations to Amos and Carol and to their beautiful family. It was a lovely party!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer in a Bowl

"Did you plant some berries beside the shed?" my husband asked me a couple weeks ago.
"No, I don't know anything about them. What berries?"

It turns out that Ellis saw red - raspberry looking fruit on prickly vines every time he mowed past
the shed at the edge of the lawn. There is a big walnut tree shading the shed. The foundation of the old chicken coop is hidden under brambles and stinging nettle. Some rotten wooden pallets are hiding there too. They make treacherous footing when you step on them and reach for a big black berry that hangs just out of reach.

While I was on a mini vacation to WI Krysta braved the mosquitos and picked these berries. (They turn black when they are ripe.) Then she looked up a recipe online for blackberry cobbler and turned them into a scrumptious dessert. It was soo delicious that I followed her to the patch and helped pick more berries so we could make more cobbler.

The garments required are leggings and knee socks, old tennies, an old dress that doesn't matter because it will get ripped from brambles, and a long sleeved shirt. I lit some mosquito coils and hung them on branches near by. That will keep the pesky creatures at bay.

I dangled an ice cream bucket over my arm and prepared for battle. The shade from the walnut tree was wonderful. I thought garden things won't grow under walnut trees. The combination of seeds planted by birds in well aged chicken manure must be the trick because these berries are flourishing.  We still don't know if they are blackberries or black raspberries. Is there a difference?

I contemplated all these thoughts and questions as I picked. And I thought about my dad. Every summer Dad went to the back side of his property and picked berries just like these. Every summer Mom made a pie for Dad's birthday with them.

This year my daughter and I picked berries from a corner of our property and made a cobbler. On July 9th, Dad's birthday, we had a hot dog roast at Mom's place. We sat in the shade in the sweltering heat and enjoyed lemonade, baked beans, lettuce salad, braats roasted on a fork. Mom had a fresh raspberry pie on hand. Krysta made the blackberry cobbler.

Ellis dished up a bowl of amazing purple yumminess and took a spoonful. "It tastes just like summer in a bowl," was his happy comment.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Travelogue

April 16, 2018

It's in the middle of the day in Edmonton, AB. The street lights are on - it's that gray and cloudy. or should I say grey since I am in Canada. What a whirlwind of events for the past month or so. We (Mom, my sisters and I) didn't know if we would come on this trip or stay at home.

At last it was decided. Yes, let's go! The search for tickets begins. Motel reservations are made.  A vehicle is rented. Trenda is our travel agent. She's doing a superb job. Maria is flying from Ontario to Edmonton. Our cousin, Laura, flying in from Mosinee WI. All plans forward to go to AB, Canada to help our aunt, Norma, celebrate her 80th birthday. All of Norma's siblings are planning to go except for two sisters. Laura is going to represent her mother, Sharon. Jo Ellen and her husband have plans to go to Belize instead.

Mom and I planned to leave early Saturday morning, April 14th. When we heard the weather forecast we changed our plans and left Friday evening after my bus route. We were ahead of the storm. We arrived at John and Ladina's house about 10:00 pm. Sleep was wonderful!

The next morning John and Ladina served a brunch of Belgian Waffles. They are famous for these brunches! Jorgan and Zoey, Jerry and Mandy and Pat and Taylor came, too. We got to meet the newest member of the family, a little son born to Jerry and Mandy. His name is Grayson. He joins his big sister, Bailey. We got reacquainted with Paisley, Pat and Taylor's daughter.

After brunch I went with Jorgan and Zoey to see their house. Jorgan shared some of his birthday pie. Peanut butter pie! mmmm! Made by Zoey's mom, Kim. It was amazing! I had a few things to pick up at Wal-Mart and Zoey got her pizza, then back to John's for a pizza supper. Jerry, Trenda and Brooke came over. Also Jeremy and Janine with their three sons. We had Papa Murphy's pizza plus Janine made a couple yummy pizzas, too. This was a great evening with lots of family joining us for supper and coming over to see Grandma. There are so many cousins and now so many little people, Mom's great-grand children. So much fun!

We are on the way!

- to be continued