Tuesday, August 24, 2010

continued story -- at last

just a note . . . the first part of this story is back in May 2009

Krysta and I took supper over to the guys at barn #2. The guys were sorting pigs - getting ready to load them the next morning at some unearthly hour. They worked up quite a sweat inside their navy blue coveralls and rubber boots. Fortunately the curtains were down and the breeze could blow in on all sides. Who would ever have dreamed of all the changes in hog units over the last twenty years. Now they have curtains for walls instead of a normal wall. These curtains open and shut depending on the temperature. All with automatic sensors of course. The walls are equipped with bird netting to keep birds from flying inside when the curtain is down.

We had a real tailgate party. While Krysta was walking along the barn screeching at the pigs I threw a table cloth down and arranged our supper. Sloppy jo and buns, pickles and potato chips. Sugar free kool aid to drink. (times have changed!) Ellis used to say he would never drink that sugar free *slop.* Deanne baked some bars for us. Applesauce made from our very own apple trees finished the feast.

By that time Ellis, Jeremy, Evan and Jorgan were ready to eat. As they chowed down we listened to the first spring peepers in the swamp. The leaves on the trees were that wonderful shade of green you find only in spring. A soft breeze carried the scent of black earth. A new moon sailed high in the sky.

I couldn't help thinking of farm families all across this land taking supper to their men, spreading red checked cloths on the ground and eating at the edge of fields. Faintly I remembered another picnic: a family of four girls headed west on a trip to visit relatives in British Colombia.

Mom raised chickens and butchered them. Before we left on our trip she got up early and fried chicken for our lunch. I hate to think of how early. She packed a wide mouth thermos full of hot, fried chicken. When our stomachs started to growl Dad pulled off on a prairie trail. We stood around the car and ate our fill. That was so far beyond any food from a fast food restaurant today.

Or how about the time Trenda and I made huge pizzas and hauled them to Hayfield, the small neighboring town where Jerry and Ellis were building a new house. They wanted to work as late as possible while the sun shone. The pizza was scrumptious.

This past week we met with our church family for a picnic in Rochester.
We had a potato bar. Everyone brought two toppings for potatoes and one topping for ice cream. It was a chance to sit around and relax after a full day of all the things we do to fill our days. Everyone agreed we should do this again -- soon.

Since we are no longer taking care of hog barns #1, #2 and #3 it is easier to do spur of the moment things like drive to Rochester for a picnic or drive to WI for a birthday party. Thanks again for the invitation!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


a quote by -- DONNA ATKINS

If I knew how I would scan a picture of Grandpa and Grandma Skrivseth's wedding picture here and the title:

Ben and Christine Skrivseth
May 22, 1937

They had three boys and six girls. Two of the boys, Arnie and Sid, grew up and married cousins, Leona Martin and Ruth Kauffman. Leona and Ruth are first cousins once removed or something like that.

We used to visit Sid and Ruth. Our two families could easily fit around one looong table. Memories include washing and drying stacks of dishes with Arla and Evie, sitting around in the living room and listening to stories, laughter, piano playing, talking about the latest books we've been reading, playing with the newest addition to the family . . . Arla and Evie had baby brothers and sisters!

Far off in some of my earliest memories -- Dad and I were there for a conference? Leah was with us and I'm not sure who else. I informed everyone that Mom and Ladina couldn't come 'cause Ladina was sick and had to be in the hospital --

On the same occasion stories of bats swooping through attics were told. I was imagining bats getting tangled up in long hair and was scared to go to sleep. Foggy memories . . . did a bat really appear?

Fast forward to the year 2010 . . . Now when Arnie's family and Sid's family get together it takes more than a looong table to seat them. It takes a big room with lots of tables. There are thirty-five people and counting in Arnie's family. Sid and Ruth counted up their family for us last night. They have seventy-one and counting -- if we did the math right.

So far that's counting the boys in Ben and Christina's family. We haven't started on the girls.

Cousins are fun. They are people you can connect with and start talking right where you left off the last time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

50th Wedding Anniversary

Here we go -- for those of you who couldn't be here for Dad and Mom's 50th wedding celebration
We had a lot of fun planning this weekend. We started way last June 2009 at our family reunion with a guest list and jobs assigned to everyone. Ideas and menus, finding a date that suits and on and on . . .

found out there is even the possibility of being too organized and planning too far in advance as in this little episode:

Drove to the Senior Center one day last fall to check if we could reserve the place for next spring. "Oh, you are way too early. I don't even have my calendar for next year. I'll write those two days down for you. Next spring come in and I'll give you the key. you're all set."

This nice gal grew up in Northern Mn. Her dad and mom went to Williams school with the Skrivseth crew. They promptly sent Dad and Mom a beautiful anniversary card. All systems steam ahead.

This spring when I stopped in to check everything out again and pay for the two days she was quite frantic. "I forgot you wanted two days. I only saved Sunday for you and I have someone booked on Saturday afternoon." I took a deep breath and told her not to worry -- we would figure something out. She said, "Have you tried the city center?"

I said, "We did, but they don't rent it for family groups."

Determined look on her face, "They will for me."

We walked over to the city center and the gal behind the desk listened then said, "We don't rent it for family groups. You have to be a business."

Lori looked at me and said, "You just became a business."

Gal behind the desk saw that Lori would not be moved. "You'll have to talk to Mike. I can't rent it to you."

We waited for Mike to appear. Lori introduced me to him and told the whole story. He stroked his chin and said, "I think we can do that for Arnie." Later I told dad he has friends in high places.

So on Saturday, April 24, 2010 we gathered at the City Center in Blooming Prairie. Almost everyone in our family got to be here. How do you pack 50 years into two short open houses?

Ladina put together a lovely power point presentation. lots of old photos saw the light of day. We gathered old photo albums and brought them along so people could browse through them. Trenda made a scrapbook with more recent pictures.

Guests arrived and memories overflowed . . .

There was a time to share stories and memories.

Dave and Leah played guitar and violin and sang:

The Eliezer Call
O get ready, evening shadows fall
Can't you hear the Eliezer Call?
There's going to be a wedding
And our joy will soon begin
In the evening when the camel train comes in.

Dan sang Amazing Grace after someone went online and got the words for him since we had no song books in that place. Dad played a couple songs on the violin. Dawn, Ladina, Trenda and Maria bravely sang two of the old songs from days gone by. It was only by that Amazing Grace that we didn't break down and cry half way through because of all the emotions that float to the surface on a day like this.

Perspective of a nine year old going on ten . . .

Will there be anyone my age?

Looking at it from the eyes of a sixteen year old . . .
Why is the open house soo long?
11:30 - 4:00? That's such a long time!

Maria made decorations for each table. She found old drawers from an ancient sewing machine cabinet. A candle in each and decorative berries twined around the top. Sorry--wish I had a picture. Words are sometimes inadequate. The candles were cream and burgundy.

Carol brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers.


There were lots of salads to choose from. Including the world famous potato salad made by my friend, Viv. All the makings for sub sandwiches on bread or dinner rolls. There was punch and coffee. cake and ice cream

All together a day filled with fun and laughter. We missed all of you who couldn't be there.
At the last when everyone was gone we cleaned everything and hauled our stuff one block over to the Senior Center and set it up for the next day.

Went home -- to the Bible School and relaxed for the evening where there was more food and conversation and good times for all.