132 YEARS OF SERVICE to Southern Minnesota
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Driving our HHR Chevrolet, Genie and I left in July and came back in August from Charlotte, North Carolina.

The reason was the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (WELCA) Convention in Charlotte. Genie attended the meetings and I ran a display booth for Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots (LAMP). Genie and I have taught summer vacation Bible school a number of years at “First Nation” locations in Northern Canada through LAMP (thus the connection). We were where the ice road truckers go in the winter!

Winston-Salem is where our daughter and son-in-law life. We met them at Applebee’s for a very good evening meal of shrimp. As you entered, the special of the day was, “Buy one beer for the price of two and get the second beer free.” (You might want to re-read the free beer purchase.)

We arrived at our destination early afternoon Wednesday and checked into the Holiday Inn. Genie helped me set up the LAMP display shortly after we got there as the activities started Wednesday evening and ended with Sunday morning church service.

While manning the display, I put about 2,000 red crosses on name badges of the 2500 that attended while giving a very short meeting about LAMP. As a committee of one, I got to give out three awards as follows based on attendance.

The first award was to the best grandmother, Gail Otteson (Nee Sorenson, formerly of Geneva, MN) of Delavan, MN, who brought two granddaughters.

The second award was to the best mother, Marie Tesch of Waseca, MN, who brought two daughters.

The third award was to the best giver of communion at the closing Sunday morning service, Genie Hanson of Albert Lea, MN (How many of you men have received communion from your wife?) Genie and I both choked up as she gave me communion.

We ate most of our breakfast meals at the Caffe Siena Restaurant in the Holiday Inn in Charlotte. Alem or Tomas were our servers. At one time Alem was the teacher and Tomas was the student. Now, both she and him are masters at giving great service.

An exciting 5 a.m. Sunday morning wake-up with bells and whistles followed by a deep male voice, “Emergency, evacuate building immediately. Take the stairs out to the street, cross the street and wait for instructions.” All 15 floor residents followed instructions. Thank goodness, a smoke alarm malfunctioned causing the fire trucks and firemen to arrive. They were glad there wasn’t a fire and so was I!

The convention center could handle up to 5,000 people. In other words, all the people in the NRHEG School District plus empty seats. The convention center was eight warm blocks walking away. Neither the temperature nor the humidity reached 100, but both came close.

Pat Goldman, Bonnie Schneider and Ben Cotter, all of Albert Lea, visited me at the LAMP display booth.

The parking meters in Charlotte are very interesting. There is a box with numbered keys. In front and behind the box are three parallel parking stalls with a four-digit number on the curb for each stall. You park, key in your stall number and pay $1 per hour for up to a maximum of two hours by inserting your credit card. You must watch your time by the parking ticket given after your credit card is accepted.

After leaving Charlotte, we stayed at Augustus T. Zeverly Inn (a bed and breakfast) in “Old Salem.” Daughter deb and son-in-law Roland stayed there too. When they say “old,” it is, with most of the buildings dating back to the 1800s. Well worth the three days we stayed.

Three more days on the road and we were home.

In conclusion, whether you take the road north, south, east or west, the road home is the best.

Thanks to Ken Bertelson for filling in for me at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church as greeter.

Thanks to Shannon and Kent Knudson for house sitting while we were gone.


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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