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Time has come to revisit annual influx of Christmas cards

Are we saving bows this year? Yep. I think that's the word in frugal households. By now, the beautifully wrapped gifts are opened, and shredded paper is all over the house. There's nothing left but the exchanges and the thank-you notes. Oh, and t...

Are we saving bows this year?

Yep. I think that's the word in frugal households. By now, the beautifully wrapped gifts are opened, and shredded paper is all over the house. There's nothing left but the exchanges and the thank-you notes. Oh, and the race to spend Christmas money and use gift cards. That starts Saturday.

Sometime during the quiet hours of Christmas, there is time to revisit the Christmas cards that flowed in during December. Time to reread that letter from a college friend. Time to take another look at the picture of Mike and Mary and all seven of their kids.

For me, Christmas cards and letters are the best part of the holidays. I don't care if the letters are long. If someone who was a friend who touched my life in years gone by, I want to keep in touch at Christmastime. I want to know what is going on in their lives.

During December, there are some special letters that find their way to Grand Forks. One was written from San Mateo, Calif., to friends here by Judy Graham Sobolik. She grew up on Almonte Avenue in Grand Forks in the 1950s. Her memories of Christmas include her mother ordering groceries from the Ontario Store on the phone and the milkman and egg man coming to the back door.

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She remembers taking the bus downtown to shop. "We loved to go into Vold's Drug and Trepanier's Pharmacy and look at the perfume and lipsticks." She would go to R.B. Griffith's and look in the glove department for mittens and gloves as gifts. The Ontario Store had a smell of groceries that would drift into Griffith's through the opening between the two stores. Baskets of oranges and apples would be on the floor near the door.

Judi wrote about going with her friend, Patti Mandel, to the Golden Hour for lunch. "We always ordered Mrs. Oliver's delicious egg salad sandwiches and a Coke -- and a wonderful kosher pickle and carrot curl would come with it. Sometimes waiting for the bus at Third and Demers at Christmas time was very special. Christmas carols were piped out on the streets, and the Salvation Army workers were ringing the bells. The dime stores were nearby for a quick stop at the self photo booths. Patti and I would put our heads together and strike our oh-so Hollywood type poses."

Ask Marilyn

Q. What is there for kids to do on the day after Christmas?

A. The North Dakota Museum of Art is having its annual Art Party from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. It's free and refreshments will be served. Kids and adults can drop in for a brief visit to make art together, or they can stay all afternoon.

Q. Do Norwegians in Norway eat lutefisk?

A. Yes, as a matter of fact they do. A Christmas letter from Sigvart Ostrem, a retired journalist, says he made 75 kilos of lutefisk from 15 kilos of dried fish. He was saving some for the President Obama in case he stopped by on his recent trip. But Obama went by car from Oslo airport to the center of the capital. "After that drive through a flat landscape, Mr. Obama made a comment about Norwegians who settled in similar landscape in Wisconsin and Minnesota. What he did not know is that the stretch from the airport to Oslo is about the only flat land Norway has."

Q. Where should a person go to look at Christmas lights?

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A. Christmas in the Park will be run by the Lions Club through New Years in Lincoln Park. Those who have driven around The Point area in East Grand Forks say it is lovely. And the lighted nativity scene at 2122 University Ave., in front of University Lutheran Church is said to be unique. It was given in memory of Ken Anderson by his family.

Laurel and Joshua

Cheerful person of the week: Laurel Reuter. Runner-up: Joshua Wynne.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

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