MARILYN HAGERTY: Time has come for writing thank-you letters to Santa
Dear Shirley, I'm home from my Christmas trip to Colorado and ready to ring in the New Year in Grand Forks. I probably won't be dancing across the Sorlie Bridge at midnight, but I will welcome in the New Year with a few friends around a bridge table.
I'm home from my Christmas trip to Colorado and ready to ring in the New Year in Grand Forks. I probably won't be dancing across the Sorlie Bridge at midnight, but I will welcome in the New Year with a few friends around a bridge table.
I could see the snow on the Rocky Mountains on Monday when we drove into the Denver airport. They say conditions are ideal for skiing now. Colorado really has good weather, Shirley. It's usually never too cold or too hot for very long. Just in between. A happy medium. It was in the 40s over Christmas, and there was no snow. Curt's black cattle were roaming through the fields at the Werner Angus farm. The one he named Marilyn several years ago has long since turned into hamburger. The whole landscape out there is covered with cows and fields of straw. When we got gas in Fort Morgan we noticed the wind was blowing up dirt. That's a town with a big sugar beet plant. They haul a lot of coal through that part of northeastern Colorado. Long, long Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains keep coming and going.
It was a bittersweet Christmas, Shirley, because Lou Gehrig's Disease, or ALS, continues relentlessly to rob my Carol of her mobility. It's hard to see her in a wheelchair and unable to move her feet or one hand. But I can tell you for sure that she is fighting every inch of the way. Her family surrounds her with love and help.
I think I saw Jesus out there at Christmas time. I saw Him in the women who come out to the house to help with cleaning and take the laundry home and fold it and bring it back. I saw Him in the little Methodist Church in Merino, Colo., where we prayed on Christmas Eve, Shirley. I saw Him in the lasagna that was prepared by our niece, Kris, who goes on weekends from Denver to help Carol. I saw Him in the help that comes long distance from her sister in Bismarck and brother in Pittsburgh. And I saw him in the aid that is given through the ALS association.
ALS is a wicked, relentless disease, Shirley. It affects people differently. In general, it follows the same debilitating path. I have been comforted by letters from readers who have gone down this same sad path with loved ones.
In tough times, we must keep Christmas and celebrate the good things we have during the holidays. That's mainly family and friends. The year 2010 does not go down as the best one I ever knew. We can only hope 2011 will be better. I'm glad that the house fire is behind you and you are happy in your new independent living home called Manor at Midvale. It sounds great, and when I can manage, I will arrange a trip to Tucson to check it out!
Love and wishes for a happy New Year from your sister Marilyn, waiting for a new round of blowing snow in the Red River Valley of the North.
P.S.: The time has come for writing thank-you notes and rereading the Christmas cards. I guess if a person buys and wraps and sends you a gift, the least you can do is say thanks with pen on paper. That goes for men, women and children -- don't you think? And there is time on New Year's Day to linger a little longer over the Christmas cards from friends and relatives. I like to hear from people who used to live in Grand Forks. This Christmas time Toby and Ken Baker, former president of UND, are telling friends that they will be retiring next summer. And they are going to make their home in Colorado. He has been president of Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.
P.P.S.: I am looking for sixth-grade girls who might want to be pen pals with my twin granddaughters who go to school in Merino. The girls are Anna and Mariah. I could give any would-be pen pal the address if they contact me at my address at the end of this column. I know a woman here in Grand Forks who has had the same pen pal for more than 50 years. They have never met in person, but they know each other intimately from letters. Letters are great.
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or (701) 772-1055.