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home : columnists : columnists May 24, 2016

12/19/2013 10:15:00 AM
View from the Valley

Wow! It is 5 degrees outside with a wind chill of minus 20. This winter so far has been nothing less than brutal. Perhaps that means that January and February will be mild. We can dream, can't we? I must confess that I will be able to endure the winter fairly well with our upcoming departure for the Southwest. But all of you hale and hearty Minnesotans deserve  medals. Anyone who can survive with these appalling conditions is a better person than me. We whimped out and fled to the desert as soon as we could. I guess what I am trying to say is that Minnesotans are pretty great people and I am happy to live among you. Stay warm..... please.

How did our children ever make it to adulthood? They grew up when our only go-to book was Doctor Spock. Mine was ripped and stained beyond belief. Our child's car seat was nothing more than metal and canvas and it hung over the seat with a steering wheel with a horn to entertain. The other day I saw a baby seat equipped with an inserted I pad for the baby to look at and touch. Our highchair was purchased at a local auction for 50 cents in Rhode Island, where we were stationed. Lead paint was not even a consideration. The stroller was a  second hand carriage I had purchased at a local thrift store. We used rectal thermometers and there were no plastic baby bottle liners. Cloth diapers were in vogue and wooden play pens saved our sanity on more than one occasion. The baby carrier was  molded plastic and came in three colors: yellow, blue and pink. When I see all the state of the art  equipment that a baby has to have today, I am blown away. And you know that there are still crib malfunctions, stroller lawsuits, baby food recalls, car seat malfunctions and nannies who are incarcerated for neglect. I was a stay-at-home mom for 10 months of every year with a husband flying off a carrier somewhere in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean. How did the kids survive? It was due to old fashioned motherhood and lots of sacrifices, and, oh yes, a crib that was 60 years old.


Christmas is almost here and my mind goes back to the way we celebrated the holidays as Scandinavians, both Norwegian and Swedish. The tree was lit with real candles, carefully, I might add. And the table was filled with lutefisk, Swedish meatballs, brown cheese, cardemon  bread, krumkake, boiled potatoes, Swedish coffee with the egg shells, pickled herring and much more. Don't you just love recalling the childhood celebrations of your specific nationality? I am an American, but will continue to claim my Scandinavian heritage. God Jul to all of you.

Put the latest book by Amy Tan under the tree; it is titled "The Valley of Amazement."  It  is great, and if you are curious about the life of courtesans this is the book. Under our tree will be buckets of homemade cookies. The grown grandchildren ask for cookies every year and nothing else. Crazy, huh? So we end up augmenting the sweets with gift cards and a little money beside. They continue to be the greatest grandchildren one could ever have, but then all grandchildren are way above average and amazingly intelligent. And we all say "Amen to that."

I hope you will all enjoy a safe and happy Merry Christmas. God Jul and SHALOM

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