We gather together

On Wednesday, I pulled white petunias, orange marigolds, and blue lobelia still in full bloom from my planters. It pained me greatly to toss the clumps of flowering plants into the woods where they landed unceremoniously on the brittle, brown, wild tansy and thistles next to the garage. It was sunny and in the low 60’s, but with the first blizzard of the season heading east across the Plains, I knew that it would be my last chance to replace the flowers with spruce tops before the storm hit. On Friday it did hit, too, with a vengeance.We ended up with about seventeen inches here. Northern Minnesota winter enthusiasts are no doubt doing the happy dance and pulling out the skis and snowmobiles. Me? Not so much. I am hunkering down.

For me, for a lot of folks I know, snow isn’t the first reason we’ve had to withdraw from polite society this month. A November yard that looks like it’s covered with mounds of mashed potatoes is just the latest reason to hunker, as far as I’m concerned. Meanwhile, the world goes on. Meanwhile, there is grocery shopping to do and potatoes to peel. There are bed linens to wash and put back on the childhood beds of grown children.There’s the annual Thanksgiving Family Pie Poll to conduct.

Strong Scandinavian mothers, after all, do not dwell very long on what they can’t control. They deal with lawn gnomes buried in snow much the same way they bury their dead. Quietly, stoically, with furrowed brows and straight mouths. They love their people the best way they know how. Sometimes that’s looking through recipe books for new pie recipes for a new guest at the dinner table. Sometimes it’s doing a very Scandinavian thing and telling their kinsfolk that only happy things will be discussed around their dinner table (thank you very much…or no pie for you…and I mean it.) Sometimes, it’s explaining softly, yet firmly, that there will be a gathering, not a hunkering, on this day set aside to give thanks. That we will continue, in spite of the storm, to love and respect each other no matter what.

Scandinavian mothers. Uffda. We hunker for a bit, and then we tie on our aprons and get to work. Sometimes, our work is prayer or pie baking. Always, it’s by loving our people hard.

It’s what we do. We were built for this, after all.

If you don’t believe me, just look at us, for Heaven’s sake. The straight mouths give us away every time.

Happy Thanksgiving. Or else.



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