MARILYN HAGERTY: Traditions of Norwegian settlers still strong around NorthwoodThis week, I heard about an 82-year-old woman over at Northwood, N.D., who has spent every Christmas of her life in the same house about two miles southwest of town near the Goose River. She’s Arlayne Thingelstad Gylten, and she’s all set for 21 family members to sit down for dinner on Christmas Eve.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
The shepherds and angels were lining up in church Sunday, and I heard their director remind them to go to the bathroom if they had to before they put on the tinsel and gowns.
I had never thought of that before.
I guess it could be among the wonders of the season. And the wonders surround us now. People have been generous tossing coins and dollar bills in The Salvation Army kettles. Many do it remembering the help given people here during our big Flood of 1997.
The drives for toys and food and gifts are winding up now. It’s time for families to gather.
This week, I heard about an 82-year-old woman over at Northwood, N.D., who has spent every Christmas of her life in the same house about two miles southwest of town near the Goose River. She’s Arlayne Thingelstad Gylten, and she’s all set for 21 family members to sit down for dinner on Christmas Eve.
The house is big and white with decorations inside and out. There will be two large tables with red cloths and Christmas dishes for the family dinner.
Arlayne said, “We have a traditional dinner of spare ribs and homemade pork and sausage meatballs. Usually we have corn and sweet potatoes.
“And we always have lefse.”
That’s because of the Norwegian background.
Arlayne’s grandparents (Caroline and Andrew Thingelstad) built the farm house in 1903. Her parents were Edwin and Alice Storlie Thingelstad.
The house stayed in the family and Arlayne and her husband, Wallace, bought the house from an aunt and uncle in the 1980s. They have lived there ever since. Even when Wallace was making the 120-mile round trips to his teaching job in Grafton, N.D.
Arlayne and Wallace have five children living in the area. And with all of the relatives, the house will be full to overflowing. They have a Christmas Eve tradition of reading the Bible, singing Christmas carols as they hold hands in a circle around the tree.
On Christmas Day, they open their gifts. Many of the family attend services at Ebenezer Lutheran Church of Northwood.
The years move along, Shirley, but people hang on to their Christmas traditions. This year, I am visiting Bob and Lorraine and the grandchildren in Pittsburgh. James is 11 and Carmen is eight. They live in a world of text messages and video games.
We will give you a phone call during the Christmas weekend and hope all is well in Tucson. I see by the weather forecasts it should be quite nice there with temperatures ranging from the 50s up to 70.
Well, here in Grand Forks, we have been without snow. Some people were hoping there would be a cover of white before Christmas.
School’s out here Friday, and it will resume again on the Tuesday after New Year’s. That’s Jan. 3, Shirley.
Love from your sister Marilyn, looking for Santa Claus and Mr. Goodbars on the streets of Pittsburgh.
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.