“Over the river and through the woods.” That is how poetry will remember Thanksgiving.
For our Hanson family, this is partly true. We don’t really go over the river but we do go through the woods and the former gravel pit. It isn’t at Grandpa and Grandma’s house anymore but at the home of Jim and Maryalice Hanson. It is hard to believe that it has been 25 years already since Jim and Maryalice have furnished home, food and entertainment to our family. They get a little help as those who attend bring their favorite dish to pass. We make and bring foods they don’t usually make for ourselves and they are gobbled up by the turkeys we are.
In that length of time we have seen loved ones come and go and their children grow. Someone else may be sitting in the chairs but we have memories of those who used to. They will always be there with us because they always loved the day.
Along with Thanksgiving there are a string of birthdays to celebrate in November and early December. We dispense with a birthday cake because there are so many we would probably burn the house down if we put all the candles on the cake and besides, after a feast at Jim’s, there isn’t room even for overeating.
We never forget Nov. 11, which was the day Uncle Paul was born. Nov. 11 is also day to remember our veterans, and here in the Midwest, the date is also remembered for The Armistice Day Storm.
My mother remembers what a nice day it started out to be and how horrible it turned out and of course that many years ago things were different. We can’t control the weather but in 1940, we also didn’t have the weather forecasting or the equipment we have now to help protect us from it. My mother also remembers that Grandpa was picking corn and also had a new pig house and chicken house started on the farm, but a long way from being done. Uncle Paul had been busy shoveling out corn. All that stopped and everybody got busy to getting animals to shelter in the buildings that were half done. Trying to carry in chickens in the poor visibility was really difficult, but they did their best.
The storm produced over two feet of snow, the temperatures plummeted to near zero, and the high winds piled snow into drifts, closing roads. Nearly 150 people died in the storm, including those who died in the sinking of three Great Lakes freighters.
Younger members will remember the Halloween storm, which was bad but nothing in comparison to the Armistice Day Storm, but always a a part of the dinner conversation. Of course, with Jim as the host and his knowledge and experiences there was always plenty to talk about. Victor and Kellie Mrotz have been with him to Europe where they visited WW I battlefields and the destruction that still remains after 100 years. Jim reports that there is still live ammunition buried in the fields. (And you thought farming was dangerous HERE!)
Jim was able to put the group right on top of the exact site of many battles, and they came back with many artifacts from The Great War. The Armistice ending WW I specified that fighting would stop at the “11th minute, of the 11th hour, of the 11th month” of 1918 (though the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until months later), and that date was known as “Armistice Day” until 1954, when it was changed to Veterans Day to honor all military veterans.
Needless to say, the Hanson Thanksgiving Day gets to be a really full day of food and conversation. It would be impossible to get bored. Name a subject, and someone will have a recollection or opinion on it. It is a day we all look forward to because this is perhaps the only day we all get together. It is a throwback to an earlier time, not only for our family, but for other families as well. We’ve been doing this for at least 85 years. We eat food we enjoy but don’t always make and the talk is endless. Like the Vikings of old, sagas and family stories are told, passing down family lore from generation to generation. It helps the younger generation connect with their forebears. It gives them a sense of where they came from and perhaps more important, who they are.
The Thanksgiving meal is almost like going to a church charity dinner. There is turkey of course, as well as ham, sausage, bacon, potatoes, gravy, dressing, homemade chicken and noodles, corn and other vegetables including beets and red cabbage, salads and raw vegetables galore, apple crisp and pumpkin pie, as well as some Danish dishes, including lefse, but no lutefisk. And for those who can handle it, just a bit of Great-Grandpa Chris’ homemade wine.
If it is makeable, it is there. The day ends with the Saberage or “Ceremony of the Sword” when Jim takes the top off the wine bottle with a sword.
I hope that each and every one of you will be able to enjoy a very special Thanksgiving Day this year with family and friends and may the magic and wonder of the day bless you now and forever.
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Some of our Star Eagle readers have commented that they like to read about events such as family and school reunions, birthdays and anniversaries, and birth and wedding announcements. In order to read about these important things we need our faithful readers to pass along the information to us.
Also, if you have an idea for a story that you think would be of interest to our readers, please contact me.
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, November 16th: Ross Sletten, Asa Daniel Russell Johnson, Matthew Marcus, Betty Brandt, Ronald Johnson, Fred Schmidt, Miranda Dubois
• Friday, November 17th: Eli Lutgens, Presley Ann Broskoff, Brynn Routh, Mikayla Sue Brouwers, Stuart Kubat, Nathan Larson, Milton Wayne, Gloria Jensen, Nathan Schmidt, Elvern Holland, David Kasper, Jim Olson, Daniel Ingvaldson, John Nelson, Trisha Cyr, Brad & Donna Borchert
• Saturday, November 18th: Edrea Marae Kubista, Toni Wayne Smith, LeRoy Peterson, Kim Lehmberg, Ernest Anderson, Paul Groth, Allen Schewe, Gordy & Karol Carroll
• Sunday, November 19th: Sidney Ellen Schultz, Kolby Dale Boverhuis, Deb Schmidt, Leah Scott, Roger Dulas, Jennifer Kycek, Chanelle McCamish, Darrin Peterson, Mandi Wobschall, William Conley, LaShawn & Gretchen Ray, Jeff & Julie Cornelius
• Monday, November 20th: Chuck Pence, Howard Pence, Eric Simon, David A. Hanson, Angie Blouin Sikel, Scott Brekke, Malinda Fennert, Alisha Waalkens, Heather Crabtree Krenke, Kristine Kelly, Rachel Nelson, Holly Mattson
• Tuesday, November 21st: Paul Wallace, Angie Johnson, Paul Kasper, Desirae Farr, Cheryl Harpel, Greg Schimek, Leah Leak, Abby Underland, Dustin Burshem, Leah Maddox Larson, Robin & Jan Jepson
• Wednesday, November 22nd - Mallory Luhring, her 15th; Whitney McCamish, Jodell Hanson, Keven Larson, Donna Maixner, Jane Tappe, David L. Hanson, Jason Peterson, Jacki Shadden, Elzo Peterson
• Thursday, November 23rd: Amanda Farr, Amy Hunnicutt Kromminga, Lisa Holmes Rietsema, Margaret Loven, Marietta Sommers Rupe, Rick Thompson, Sara Anderson, Joyce Ditlveson, Amanda Farr, George & Diana Ritz
• Friday, November 24th: Blaine Boverhuis, Deb Peterson Schmidt, Ellen Pearl LaFave, Heather Snow, Lisa Hunnicutt Vreeman, Bob Hanson, Rita Glynn, Abraham Ladlie, Kyle Layland, Scott & Lisa Rietsema
• Saturday, November 25th: Scott Groth, Calista Lerum, Randy Born, Mitchel Hill, Joel Langlie, Brian Vogt, Gideon Jude Long
Wishing you quiet moments of beauty on your special day and may Thanksgiving and everyday be a day for thanks Giving.
There are times I made mistakes regarding birthdays and anniversaries because of information I don’t know. Please look at it as a reminder that though they may no longer be with us it is nice to remember they once were and celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries.