Christmas Letter 2021

All I had to do was to browse through my photos  to figure out what should be in this letter. A lot of changes took place, but we’ve said enough about those things. So here’s our year from the photos mostly.

There are pictures of when we went to Cheney Lake, our favorite little lake in the boonies an hour north of us.  The little children played in the water and we had grilled supper from tailgates. We finished that day up with the Whippoorwill’s song at dusk, as usual. For once I didn’t agonize the whole way home until the last text came in saying “we’re home”. This is because of the sand traps in the trails before you get up on the good road. Even the mini vans made it up.

There are many pictures of flowers this year because we grew them in all the gardens and wherever they will grow.  On doorsteps and at the cabin. I wonder how many bouquets we gathered altogether. Lisl sold some by the roadside and we kept fresh bouquets on our tables.

Then there was the reunion in Idaho for Dad’s 80th birthday party. The Skrivseth family has gotten four generations big by now. The pictures remind me of hiking up the falls, visits upon visits all weekend with siblings, tie dyeing with the children, singing around the piano with mom playing, and of Sunday morning gathering to share and the family photo shoot. Dad gave us his talk. “I’m eighty now”, pointing out that he has had a wonderful life. His gratitude is only surpassed by his desire to see us all in heaven someday, urging everyone to prepare appropriately.

For the reunion time we stayed with Brad in his apartment home. He had moved to Idaho in the spring so we enjoyed seeing him in his new home and life. We miss him, but we’re also glad for him. He is getting to know his grandparents and has a construction job with his cousin, Ryan.

We had a weekend visit in Sparta with Elv’s brothers. It seems that since Mom Graber is gone, getting together doesn’t happen as easily. We met in Viroqa at a restaurant for supper one evening where the owner and his wife were our waiter and cook because they couldn’t get help. There’s some down home service for you. Seems like supper was extra good that night.  I have observed that Covid hasn’t been all bad. Many of us found out we were stronger than we thought we were.

Our two Nebraska families took turns visiting us this summer. When Gabe’s came we went to Copper Falls one day. That was another one of those times I’m glad for our cameras. By the time Joshes came we were pretty well settled into this house.

One Saturday we spent the day collecting appliances that we needed. We ended up close to Dan’s where their annual camp-out was happening, so we stopped there for several hours. Wonderful visits with our friends that we don’t get to see nearly often enough. The pictures show a huge park like lawn where circles of friends are visiting and the youth have the usual volley-ball net up and busy.

Looks like Clark’s and Lances went with us for a weekend at the cabin. We played on the north shore mostly, according to my sources. I also see photos of the garden there: pink buckwheat and blue, fuzzy borage.

Then for my birthday, three of my four sisters came to spend a couple days with me at the cabin. I am pretty sure this is the highlight of my year. Sisters are the only people in our lives who get all the jokes and joys and sorrows of our lives. They laugh in the right places and cry with us. They can say the truth we need to hear. We spent our daylight time hiking and exploring the shore of Lake Superior. Our cabin evenings talking late didn’t last long enough, of course.

Elv has been sorting through his projects and completing a few of them, I might add. He gets to have a shop space here where we live. He found out how many duplicate tools he ended up with lately. That’s my kitchen story, too. This is the good part of moving. It makes you take stock and get rid of stuff.

In August, Elv reacted to bee stings. He has always reacted somewhat, but this time he started to have trouble breathing. We finally realized with the help of a nurse son-in-law that we should get him to the ER. I found out that my new car can do 90 mph quite nicely. When we arrived we were ushered in for four nurses to busily do all the things. I remember feeling old and helpless, for some reason. But so grateful, too, for the help.

My parents came to see us just a few weeks ago. They flew to Nebraska to visit family there and it so happened that we had planned to visit there too about the same time. We brought Dad and Mom home with us. We loved having them here, of course. We treasure every moment we can spend with them. Mom said, “This is likely the last time we’ll travel so far.” They went home on the train.

We just counted it up. Our year was spaced out roughly in thirds. The first four months we lived at the cabin up north. The next five months we spent in our travel trailer. In August we moved into this house that we are renting. No wonder people didn’t know where we lived!

God bless you all, our friends and family who read this.

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