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Souvenirs 12-5-2012

December 6, 2012

by Irma Schwantes

So here we are in the early days of this Christmas season, with just 20 days to go until the big day. But the shopping has begun with gusto, black Friday, Saturday, and even Cyber shopping. What, you may ask is Cyber shopping?.

That was my question too, when I first heard of it. A daughter explained it to me as shopping on the Internet. Explaining that was why many of us were having problems with our e-mails. My son told me that where he works at Pro-litho in Minneapolis they were having problems with the internet where they use computers for many things in the printing business. When my daughter explained how places like Target, Walmart, and various stores had contacted her on e-mails with offers of special sales, I felt sort of angry. Why don't they let people come to their stores to shop? I asked. She said they offer such good buys including same day or free delivery, among other rewards.

So I finally gave up trying to communicate with family or friends, I set my mind on Christmas memories. How Grandma used to send us things so many years ago. That home grown goose I told you about last week, for instance. We didn't deny anyone else any mailing services for those occasions.

I remembered our first Christmas in Fulda. We had moved here in July, 1972, to buy the bowling lanes and cafe. It was going to be the first time our family was not going to be together at our house in Fridley for the Holiday.

Our married daughters, at least some of them, I do not remember exactly if they all planned to come or who actually did or did not. What I do recall is that on Christmas Eve day, it began to snow, soon growing more heavy, until the oldest daughter and her family decided they would rather get home before they got stranded by weather in this little town in southwest Minnesota. We had a hurry up exchange of gifts with them and they headed for home. They called later to let us know when they got home safely to Fridley, telling us of the terrible driving conditions and the horrible snow banks and highway conditions they had encountered along the way.

I'm not sure how many that left here for Christmas. What stands out in my memory is that some with children had planned on returning home that night too and had left their children's gifts of toys and so forth at home. So next comes the recall of Diane rushing down to the Ben Franklin (is that what it was?) Mavis used to call it the Handy Store, but I think it was still owned and operated by the Tuseths at that time. A few toys were purchased for the little boys, and hastily wrapped and slid under the tree in our living room. We ate a supper together and soon our oldest son Frank Jr. (better known as Bimbo a nickname from early child hood when he was toddler learning to walk, often falling...Bimbo, Bimbo where ya gonna goeo was a popular song in hose days). It seems he had discovered a boot caught in the door leading onto the roof over the bowling lanes. Calling for everyone to come see if Santa was still there. Looking out at the snowy rooftop we could see Santa's boot steps in the snow but no Santa until someone pointed out that he was flying over the roof tops by that time.

After all that excitement the little boys tramped quietly back to the other end of the apartment.

Feeling that Santa would never know how to find them at Gramma's house, an apartment above a bowling alley?? They were soon happily surprised when their mother, Diane began pulling gifts out from under the tree, to each was attached a note to the boys, stating that Santa had left their requested gifts at their home in Anoka. And they would find them there when they returned home after the storm passed.

That quieted the sobs as they opened the gifts found under our tree, and the snow continued to come down outside. Looking out the window showed no activity whatever, and Grampa Frank and Bimbo went down the stairs to lock up and clean up for the morning, which they hoped would bring some coffee drinkers.

So that was our first Christmas in Fulda.

Christmas Day dawned with many inches of snow in piles and swept across streets and yards. County plows came from the north to clean the street, and many early morning people were out with shovels and snow blowers. So Grampa Frank went down stairs to get some coffee started. Uncle Ray also helped with the shoveling and clearing the steps where it had blown in and clogged them quite securely.

Meanwhile upstairs at the apartment we got some food on the table for the youngsters who at that time also included Rick and Darcy. I think Christmas services were cancelled at the various churches, as everyone was caught up in the cleanup process. News of highway conditions was broadcast, caution for traveling given to listeners. But by noon, Diane and her family were packing up to get their boys home to their own Christmas, calling back with reports of driving conditions and in getting back home. Drifts were reported to be 6 ft high out by the Meyer farm on the way to Windom, and after that it wasn't too bad for Minnesota drivers.

But at the time it created quite the concerns and a little worry for the safety of our loved ones.

Christmas in Minnesota weather, if ya don't like it just wait five minutes and it changes, sometimes for the better, sometimes it gets even more exciting, but Minnesota Christmas ‘Ya Gotta Love it’.

This column is dedicated to the memory of both Frank "Bimbo" who passed on, on Dec 6th, 2007, and Diane who passed on July 27th, 2012. And we all miss them yet, so very much, getting comfort in knowing they are spending Christmases in Heaven now with a loving God.

Remember, if you hear a bell ringing it means an Angel got their wings, much love to all the readers too.

May God Bless you in the coming New Year, and always.

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