Monday, December 15, 2008


We didn't have time for much other than the visitation and funeral when we went up North last week, but in the hour before we needed to be at the church we went for a little drive and checked out some of the family landmarks in the area. This is Clearwater Lutheran Church, the church my husband's family belonged to when they lived up there by Oklee. There are no longer services being held at this church, but it is an important piece of the history of the area. The cemetery is across the road, but it was too cold to get out and take pictures of the headstone marking the spot where Ernie's parents are buried. Isn't it a beautiful little country church?

This spot is the place Ernie's grandfather lived. That house has seen better days, don't you think?
This next picture is the place that our kids remember as grandma and grandpa's house. They lived in a small trailer with an addition on it. Obviously it has burned down since. At the time Ernie's parents lived there, we were living at Grand Forks Air Force Base just 90 miles west of here, and we spend many weekends over at the farm. Many years before this, when Ernie and his seven brothers were growing up, they lived on this farm in a small farmhouse that burned down in 1958.
See the big rock under the tree? Grandma planted a few flowers there and called this her rock garden. If you followed that road to the left and crossed the peat field, you would come to the river where the kids liked to play. Once when we went down there, Kevin had on his knee high white tube socks and they got filthy in the peat. Grandma gave him a wash board, a piece of home made soap, and made him scrub his socks.
Here you see the lane into the home place. If you turn left you are on the South road which takes you to the Big Grade. The road straight ahead was the New Grade, or the road by Land's place. When Ernie and his brothers get back up there, they slip right back into the lingo of their growing up years. And they continually point out spots along the way: "This is where Larry shot that 10 pointer." "This is where I was posting when that big doe ran right across the road in front of me." "This is where Milton rolled the car." And on, and on, and on.
After the funeral, as we were heading back to southern Minnesota, the sun came out for a spectacular sunset. We didn't stop the car, but I took a couple of shots through the window of the moving car at the huge orange ball in the sky.
We got home close to midnight, after being stopped by a cop. We were riding with Neil, Ernie's brother, and he was getting a little tired of driving so he pulled off the highway at a small town, drove down the snowy deserted street, pulled a u turn, parked and got out for a little fresh air. As he got back in to leave we noticed a police car up ahead at the intersection, but it just sat there as we pulled out, turned left, and headed back to the highway. All of a sudden we saw the lights and the policeman pulled us over. Seems Neil u turned on a one way street, so he was going the wrong way on a one way street! We needed a little excitement to keep us awake for the last hour of our journey!


Tonjia said...

it looks kind of deserted, kind of sad. But the sunset is gorgeous!

Linda up north said...

A beautiful northern Minnesota sunset. How great that you got to revisit your husband's childhood, and equally great that you blog about it and so your kids and grands will also know a little more about Grandpa! I swear these blogs are going to be historical in significance one day :)

Mom in MN said...

One more story to tell on your next trip up that way "This is where Neil got pulled over by the cop..."

Love the pictures! I love the old country church. We go to one like that for Christmas Eve services; I'll try to remember to take my camera this year.

Just Joni said...

I enjoyed this little trip down memory lane SO MUCH. It made me think about the many places of my own childhood days that look so different now. As I was reading I could just imagine the days when a garden was planted or when the house was still standing...thanks for sharing...and that sunset is magnificent!

wishing you JoY ~

Lisa said...

I love the pictures, and I really enjoy seeing the church and the snow. It does seem so peaceful. I know about the pointing out this spot and that. My Scott is good at that, but now it is my turn since we have moved "home". But lastly..
I hope you all did not get a ticket for going the WRONG WAY on a ONE WAY! good grief!!! How funny. did you use my name to get you out of the ticket? Just wondering.

Marge said...

I never thought of that, Lisa! But if I ever find myself in that kind of a situation again, I know what name to drop! Thanks for the idea!

Joni, the little peaceful place was beautiful with grandma's gardens of vegetables and flowers. She even had an old wood cookstove outside that she'd cook on for the kids. They loved it! And the wood were filled with raspberries that turned into jelly, jams, and syrup for grandma's famous buttermilk pancakes!

Gumbo Lily said...

I took a photo of a Norwegian Country church very similar to the one you have pictured here. It's simplicity makes it majestic.