An Amazing Weekend of Memories

Wow, what an amazing weekend. Last week I learned that Mom was having water troubles in her basement in Minot, and I started to think it was going to be an important time for me to go and help her. Andrew and I went to visit Grandma Frieda with a few goals in mind. The first goal was to make sure she was doing OK with her basement (she was, thankfully!) The second goal was to set the stage for her to move to Fargo, sooner rather than later. And now she finally is ready to make the move!!! Part of “the plan” was to start going through some of her stuff to help her be willing to part with some things that have no sentimental value. Much to my surprise, she took kindly to that plan.

But what I didn’t expect was the degree to which I was overwhelmed by all the nostalgia I would uncover. I really wasn’t prepared for that; it was such a pleasant surprise. A large part of me felt guilty for not having expressed a bigger interest in all the family history before. But I can’t rewind time, so I’ll be thankful for what I can now more fully appreciate. So … for all you young whippersnappers out there, start paying attention to your family heritage so you don’t regret it later!

Here is just a very small sampling of some of the wonderful discoveries that occurred last weekend. First, this picture was my absolute favorite discovery. It’s a photo of Dad’s parents’ wedding day, they’re the third and fourth in from the left. This photo was from 100 years ago, in 1911. Even though there aren’t many smiles in this photo (as I believe as customary for photos in this era) it looks like such a wonderfully happy photo!

John Hultin - Anna Dahl Wedding Day

Next up is a photo from Dad’s schooling at the Chicago Evangelistic Institute (later renamed Vennard college, which closed in 2008). I don’t know any of the details of this photo. I believe Dad can be found by looking at the right-most person in the front row, and then going straight up two more people. I can’t help but wonder how many lives have been touched as a result of the people trained at this institution.

Chicago Evangelistic Institute

Here’s a photo of the from Mom grew up on near Turtle Lake, ND. It just looks like a classic “let’s settle down and build America!” photo.

Bauer Farm

And here’s a photo of Mom’s family (Mom is in the back row, second from the right)

Bauer Family

There were lots of books too, including this German Bible that belonged to Mom’s parents. The outside needs some care, but the inside is still in decent shape, considering its age.

Bauer Bible

Another “book” I was so happy to take possession of is Dad’s collection of sermons. I can’t wait to pore over all the sermons he produced, to learn more about his legacy. That will, no doubt, be the subject of future blog posts…

And finally, the weekend ended with us taking a trip to Dad’s grave, to add some grass seed and say a prayer with Mom. This was the first time I’ve seen Dad’s grave with his grave marker in place. The medallion on the upper-left corner of the grave marker commemorates his service to the United Methodist Church.

Irvin Linton Hultin: 1919-2010

I have to say I was so proud of Andrew. He decided he needed to come with to help Grandma, and there was no changing his mind. He was such a good traveler, and he thoroughly enjoyed soaking in the history too … mostly by playing with my childhood toys. It’s nice to see the Erector set get some use again! Even though he didn’t move many boxes or pack mementos, he really did “help” Grandma in more ways than he’ll ever know. I really believe Andrew “helped” Grandma more clearly understand the reason she should come to Fargo.

Wow, what an amazing weekend of memories!

Fargo’s Memorial Day Storm

Wow, that was quite a storm! Straightline winds estimated to be over 70 miles per hour ripped through Fargo on the evening of Memorial Day, May 30, 2011. Here’s how it looks from my point of view:

A soffit panel on the underside of our porch was pulled away. The swingset in this view was probably one of the first things to go, so that’s hardly worth mentioning.

Here’s another view of the damaged soffit:

Our camper was lifted off the ground. At least that’s the only explanation I have for this photo of the front stabilizer jack.

I suspect the front of the camper end briefly lifted enough for the top board to blow backwards a bit, and then when the camper came down again it was “reset” in this new position.

Some shingles were loosened and repositioned.

A closer on our front storm door was bent. (I suspect this happened as we rushed to get inside and I was trying to hold the door steady for everyone else to get in without getting slapped by the door being blown into their face.)

And then my favorite … the attic access panel didn’t look quite right. It looks normal in the picture below, but when I was wrestling with the door the pressure difference must have inflated the house to the point where it “popped” the access door open. I found it resting all kittywhumpus in the access frame. I suspect that’s due in part to the super-tight nature of an ICF house.

We lost power for about three hours, and that was the worst of it.

Beyond the obvious damage I have two random comments about the storm. One of the most amazing parts to me is that while the wind was ripping shingles and lifting campers, it left other things virtually untouched. Take a look again at the first photo in this post; there’s a potted plant on a glass-topped table in the bottom-left corner. I don’t think it even moved an inch. How’d that happen? The other random comment is about the trees. I think it’s amazing and God-designed that while a powerful wind can rip off roofs and knock down trees, the individual leaves just keep on hanging on, going about their business of being a leaf.

The End of a Generation

Earlier today I learned of the passing of my aunt Ann Hultin. My reactions to death have really become moreintrospective since my father’s passing earlier this year (see A Day to Remember Reverend Irvin Hultin and Memories of Dad). Ann’s passing is particularly meaningful to me because her passing marks the end of that particular generation of the Hultin family. There has no doubt been a lot of history created since the early 1900’s which marked the starting point for Dad’s generation. I wish I had the opportunity to know and enjoy more of the history Dad’s generation created … but it’s all memories now, at least on this side of eternity. For now I’m stuck waiting until I get to their side of eternity—then the stories will really begin!

“North Dakota Nice” During a Traffic Accident

Our office is near a busy intersection in Fargo, and that means every so often we have the opportunity to do some rubbernecking and see a traffic accident unfold. That happened last week, and I keep finding myself thinking about that accident and the “North Dakota Nice” that I observed afterwards. First, the accident details: the accident appeared to have involved an older gentleman whose car was pulling a trailer and somehow ended up in a left-turn lane on the wrong side of the median, and two other vehicles (ironically, they were courtesy vehicles from two different auto dealers here in town).

While the cleanup was underway I noticed the “North Dakota Nice” traffic pattern … or what one of my coworkers called the zipper pattern. One lane of traffic could move forward with no obstructions, the other lane was blocked by the accident. Of course many people in the blocked lane didn’t notice the reason for their sudden stop until they were upon the accident. So the drivers in the free-moving lane of traffic would, without fail, work the zipper pattern: the person in front would let one person in from the blocked lane and then moves on, and the pattern repeats itself with the new leader at the front of the line. (It’s so much easier to see that traffic pattern in action than it is to write about it!) And with that pattern in play the traffic kept moving at a somewhat normal pace.

That’s part of what makes living in North Dakota such a pleasurable experience. I don’t know if courtesies like that are commonly extended in other parts of the country. I suppose they are, but it just seems like it would happen here in North Dakota more than other places.

What do you think? Do any of you out-of-staters care to comment?

I Saw America Today

Normally I take nothing more than a quick glance (if even a glance at all!) at the “casual friends” e-mails. You know the kind: funny pictures, jokes, pass this on to 30 of your friends … all those emails. But the email I received today really caught my attention. In fact, it brought tears to my eyes. I did a quick search to find a posting from the original author, but didn’t find it … so I’m republishing the e-mail I received from Ed Pierce. (Thanks Ed!)

I saw America today.

I was among more that 200 people gathered on the tarmac at the Meridian Air Navel Station to welcome Sgt. Eric C. Newman, 30, of Waynesboro , Miss. home from Afghanistan.

He did not exit to cheers and hugs but was greeted by respectful silence. Military men and women, bikers, policemen, firemen, all in formation riveted their attention as Sgt. Newman disembarked from the plane carrying him.

He exited in a flag draped coffin, killed in action in Afghanistan .

The family stood near the hearse and as Sgt. Newman’s casket approached he was greeted by his new wife and his mother as they draped their arms around the casket where their beloved husband and son lay. There would be no married life for the newly married couple and another mother had given her son in the name of freedom.

I saw America today.

The procession formed with a police escort in front leading the hearse carrying Sgt. Newman which was followed by his family, more than 100 bikers, including the Patriot Guard Riders, scores of police officers, firemen, and friends. I rode near the front and I never could see the end of the procession as we rolled over the hills from Meridian to Waynesboro .

I saw America today.

On the 60 mile journey truckers, the big rigs, pulled to the side of the road, exited their trucks and put hand over heart in honor of Sgt. Newman and the American flag. Down the road from one big shiny rig was a humble logging truck, driver standing on the ground, hand over heart.

For sixty miles a mixture of people stood by the side of the road, flag in hand as we rolled past. At every junction where a side road entered there were people. At the overpasses there was always a fire truck displaying a large American flag. Every fire department along the way had their fire truck standing by to honor this young American who gave his life for us.

There was a young Boy Scout, in uniform, proudly saluting Sgt. Newman and the American flags that passed him.

A man in bib overalls stood by a ragged old pickup truck giving honor. Just down the road was a man dressed in suit and tie by his expensive SUV.

Something in the bright blue sky above caught my eye. It was two jet fighter planes flying over the procession, the thoughtful action of fellow soldiers.

I could see a woman kneeling, holding something out in her hands. At first I thought it must be a camera but as I passed I could clearly see it was a folded American flag. Just like the one that was given to my mother when my father died. Yes, it was her way of saying, “I lost a loved one as well.”

I saw America today.

As we left the main road and entered Waynesboro two fire trucks were parked in such a way as to form an arch with a giant American flag suspended between the two.

The streets were lined solid with people. No cars were moving. I observed someone in a wheel chair on the side of the road. When we drew closer I saw several in wheel chairs, some on crutches. They were old, and fragile. They were residents of a nursing home. On down the road there was another group from yet another nursing home, all waving tiny American flags.

As we wound our way through town hundreds of people lined the sides of the streets. We passed an elementary school. The children lined the fence three deep, most with flags, some with red, white, and blue balloons which were later released.

Next we passed the high school. Again the students respectfully lined the streets adjacent to the school. All were standing respectfully in honor of Sgt. Newman.

And did I mention the yellow ribbons? They were on trees, mailboxes, fences, and anywhere people could place them.

I saw America today.

When we had finished the escort all the bikers were asked to meet at the First Baptist Church of Waynesboro. There they gathered us up and escorted us to the Western Sizzlen ’ where the people of the town treated us to lunch for doing something of which we were proud to be a part.

Today, I saw America and I’m proud to be an American. God bless America .

Rod Smith, Patriot Guard Rider
October 21, 2010, Laurel , Mississippi

These videos makes it even more real:

To Sgt. Newman and all others past and present that have fought for our country … Thank You for your service. I sincerely hope the citizens of our country are worthy of the sacrifice you’ve offered which allows us to enjoy this great nation.

Throwing Stones (or Not)

Lately when I get thinking about the Bible I find my thoughts drifting to Nicodemus. I would like to learn more about him beyond the snapshots presented in the Bible. As I’ve attempted to dig deeper in the Bible to find out more about what made him tick I found myself reading John 8 in a way I’ve never read it before.

Anyone who’s done just a little bit of Bible study is probably familiar with the story: An adulterous woman gets dragged to Jesus by the religious leaders of Jesus’s day and they try to trap Jesus by asking him for his thoughts on stoning her. Jesus replied that whoever is without sin should throw the first stone. The religious elite responded by walking away.

In reading the story, the application of the lesson to be learned most often drifts to the religious scholars and Pharisees, and to the woman. But reading it lately I’ve found my attention focused on this thought. Jesus clearly said (as translated in The Message version of the Bible), “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Who’s the sinless one? Jesus, of course! Did he throw a stone? No, even though he had every right to!

This story ties in nicely with Romans 8:1 which says, “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

I find myself regretting throwing stones in the past, and will do my best to replace stones of condemnation with gentle nudges based in the love of Jesus.

Enough with the Bag Already!

You know what bugs me? Buying one small “something” and the cashier immediately puts it in a bag. When I just bought a small item or two that’s easy to carry the last thing I want at home is another plastic bag to throw away.

I’m not making an ultra-earth-aware statement … I believe it’s arrogant to think that us mere mortal humans can single-handedly mess up God’s creation (that’s a soapbox for another time!), but at the same time I feel it’s good stewardship to care for what’s around us, and it’s stewardship that requires no extra effort. (In fact, it requires less effort because the cashier can just skip the bag routing.) So I’d just rather not have that extra plastic bag. It’s just plain silly and wasteful to put something I can easily carry in my hand into a bag.

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