December 21 - 2012        

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This time of year brings back memories…


Particularly since we are in Costa Rica and from Minnesota. Snow, cold, snowmen, Christmas pageants, the Holidazzle parade down the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, shoveling snow, Christmas lights and Christmas trees … and Christmas music everywhere… and despite the fact that there are still problems everywhere … somehow people seem to smile a lot more around Christmas time.

I remember when my parents, my sister and I went to my grandparents every Christmas. They lived in a small farming community in Iowa and were about a three hour drive away from our home. A large number of my cousins, aunts and uncles were from the same small town and ALL worked for my grandfather who owned a car dealership there… but who was always a farmer at heart.

My grandparents’ parents had come from Norway, settled in Canada, then South Dakota and then Iowa. So Norwegian food at Christmas was a tradition. We all pretended to like it.. . the pastries were great, the meatballs were even better, but only the hard core could even pretend to like lutefisk, which was codfish soaked in lye. And yes, it was as bad as it sounds… and smelled even worse.



The traditions were always the same.. the church service, the pageants, the handing out of chocolates and nuts to all of the children, and then home for the opening of presents. I honestly do not remember a single present that I received but I remember how I felt… warm and part of a family. And of course, loved.

I have not spent Christmas in Minnesota for nine years. I don’t miss the snow, the shoveling or the lutefisk. But I miss the Christmases of times past.


This year we had the good fortune to participate in helping a large number of children in a small church congregation celebrate Christmas. And we were able to present each of them with the first real Christmas celebration and gifts that they had ever had. ( in Playa Carrillo in Guanacaste ).

And even though there was no snow on the ground and no one spoke English, I think that my parents and grandparents would have been smiling and glad that we were celebrating Christmas as it was meant to be celebrated.



Rhonda and I will be spending Christmas Eve with each other, and Christmas Day with Char and our two grandsons.

And without seeming out of place… we are very glad that we live in a place where God and religion is still part of the culture and yet everyone has the freedom of their own beliefs.


Merry Christmas to all of you from:
































































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