While I always claim Colorado as my home because it is the place of most of my childhood memories, my life in fact began in North Dakota and Minnesota. And so, Josh and I along with the little ones set-off for a trip to my true homeland last Saturday.
I have to say it was one of the best family trips we have taken. It was the perfect combination of relaxing (the little ones were great travelers) and fun because we were able to reconnect with Grandpa Carl and Grandma Lisa who drove in from Missouri, my aunts Carol, Barb and Geri and my sisters Val and Andrea and their families.
And dare I add, it was truly beautiful. Honestly, I don’t think I appreciated it when I was younger, but after spending years on the East coast where there is very little land undeveloped, I don’t think I have seen such stunning wide open spaces for a while. Although, I must admit that while driving on the interstate one day during our trip, a tumbleweed blew in front of our car which completed the cliché for Josh on his first trip to North Dakota.
See what I mean about the landscape?
And Olin got the welcome of his dreams – Grandpa Carl, Grandma Lisa, and Aunts Carol, Barb and Geri were there at the airport to greet us (with gifts!) and then they had this John Deere tractor near baggage claim for him to sit on while we waited for our rental car. By the way, I have no idea who this man is in the picture, but he was definitely not willing to get out of the way for us to take a few photos, so alas, here he is in all his tractor-loving glory.
On Sunday morning we got up bright and early and headed to Glyndon, Minnesota, to the church that I attended as a baby. In fact, my brother Rick’s confirmation picture (from 1978!) is still hanging up in the back of the church. It was extra special that day because there were two babies baptized and because of that, the pastor invited the congregation to make the sign of the cross on our foreheads with the baptismal water as we walked past the font on our way to communion, which I did for myself and Odette, from the very same font I was baptized nearly 37 years ago!
And if that weren’t enough, my maternal grandmother’s cousin was in church that morning and so we got a picture of him with my dad. I love this photo because he was so sweet and grabbed my dad’s hand as I started to take pictures of them.
Olin and Odette playing the piano in my old Sunday school room.
Exploring Glyndon Lutheran Church.
In continuing our trip down memory lane, back in Fargo, we stopped by my preschool where my dad was successful in persuading a very nice maintenance man to unlock my old classroom for us.
After revisiting my childhood, it was my dad’s turn. We drove by his elementary and high schools, his grandparent’s house (pictured first below) and two of his childhood homes (pictured second and third below). And by the way, it was nice to see at least the last of the three homes is still occupied by Swedes as evidenced by the Dala Horse hanging by the door!
Next up was downtown Fargo for lunch, which by the way has some very cool restaurants, shops and art galleries.
On Monday morning, we celebrated a great weekend with a farewell breakfast. And the great aunts were very sweet to indulge Olin’s love of cars and let him look inside each of their cars. I swear, if you ask Olin anything about his aunts, he will say Geri has a Chevy, Barb has a Ford and Carol has a Toyota.
Speaking of cars, we rented a fairly unremarkable Nissan for our trip, but for some reason Olin really loved it and for most of the flight from Fargo to Minneapolis on Tuesday morning (at the way too early time of 5:15am) he kept asking: “Where’s the Nissan?”, “What about the Nissan?”, “I don’t want our Lexus anymore, I want the Nissan!”. Luckily, just before the others sitting around us started to complain, Josh had the great idea to tell him that Aunt Geri is going to take care of the Nissan and that (thankfully) seemed to satisfy him. So, Aunt Geri, if you are reading this, Olin may ask you some day about the fate of that Nissan!
It was a trip we were all sad to see come to an end. Thank you to all of our family for a great time, we miss you all already!