Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recitals and Rhubarb

It was another busy weekend for the Mobergs. Saturday morning, the university held its commencement ceremony (for the largest graduating class in its history), so I was robed in my academic garb for that and spent some time afterward shaking hands with and hugging graduates. Then I had just enough time afterward to mow the lawn before the girls' dance recital in the afternoon.

It was held in an auditorium at the university but put on by the girls' dance studio, Academy of Dance. The program was called "Back to the '80s" [which was misspelled "80's," but who am I to judge?]. Suzanna and Abigail's Ballet IV class danced to the theme song from the movie Chariots of Fire, and their Tap IV class danced to the theme song from the TV series Rags to Riches.

Abigail is front and center, and Suzanna is to Abigail's left. This is their Ballet IV class.

Hillary's Ballet III class danced to "Menuet Célèbre" performed by the Zagreb Philharmonic Chamber Studio [although what that song has to do with the 1980s, I don't know], and her Tap III class danced to the theme song from the TV show Pound Puppies.

Here is Hillary dancing with her Ballet III class.

When we got home, I cleaned up the grill and the fire pit, and for supper we had grilled brats (well, turkey sausages, but we ate them covered with sauerkraut and brown mustard, so it was like bratwurst) on the veranda while a fire crackled in the fire pit on the ground behind us. Then we roasted marshmallows over the fire for dessert. Summer has begun!

This morning Suzanna and Abigail's choir sang for church, and Susan joined the adult choir. After dinner at home, we went driving in search of Vang Lutheran Church to join their local Sons of Norway lodge for a Syttende Mai celebration! Yes, the 17th of May ("Syttende Mai" in Norwegian) is Norway's Constitution Day (read this, this, and this), similar to our Independence Day on July 4th. Sons of Norway lodges around the world celebrate the holiday in recognition of our Norske heritage. The Vang Lodge of Dunn County invited the Hardanger Lodge of Dickinson to join them for a celebration today, and we were game. Their lodge meets at a Norwegian church out in the country, so the first step was to find it! We used these directions to drive just north of Manning and then east several miles on rather well maintained gravel roads, and we found the church on the top of a hill.

It was overcast and windy today. The sky made for a pretty backdrop for all our photos of the church (I'll spare you the entire collection), but it was chilly outside, and we nearly blew off the hilltop when we weren't inside the building or the vehicle! Cute detail: When we first arrived, Hillary opened the van door, stepped outside, closed her eyes, breathed in deeply, and said, "Mmmmm, smells like Tioga." She meant my dad's farm between McGregor and Battleview (north of Tioga); she was recalling and appreciating the smell of fresh air out in the country. Atta girl!

As it turns out, members from our lodge far outnumbered members from the host lodge! We even held our business meeting, conducted by our lodge president, while their members quietly observed. Then it was time to dance around the maypole! Some Vang and Hardanger lodge members had built and decorated a maypole, which they set up in the back of the church because it was too windy outdoors. Our lodge president asked the girls to sing with him during the maypole dance, but they wanted to be dancers instead. They were the first three to volunteer . . . and then it was like pulling teeth to get adults to grab a ribbon from the maypole and join them! (Susan and I declined; she was taking photos, and I was videotaping.)

"Pretty-please won't some adults join us for the maypole dance?"

The dance was pretty much a disaster. People didn't "get" the instructions for how to weave around one another while dancing in order to make the ribbons wrap around the pole in a pretty pattern. In no time, the ribbons were tangled, people were out of order and going the wrong direction, and the maypole looked like someone had attacked it with Silly String. They unwrapped the maypole and tried the dance a second time with better results, but they weren't winning any maypole dancing contests, that's for sure. It was the thought that counted.

Pretty altar, huh?

The maypole itself was a carpet roll that the Vang Lodge president had spent hours and hours wrapping in green twine. She also decorated an umbrella with plastic flowers for the top. Our lodge president built the wooden base.

Here's the crew "dancing" around the maypole . . . rather like bumper cars driven by alcoholics. Notice the ribbons entangled in midair above the woman in white slacks. Yeah, just getting the ribbons to touch the maypole itself was a challenge.

The maypole dancers.

Afterward we regathered in the church basement for a potluck meal (at about 3:30 or 4:00 P.M.!). It was absolutely delicious, just like the potlucks that I was used to attending while growing up. There were several homemade salads (including a potato salad that tasted just like my mom's), baked chicken with a savory onion sauce over it, a crock pot of baked beans with huge chunks of bacon, and a great selection of desserts, including Norwegian waffle cookies, sandbakkels, and a rhubarb dessert with a lemon and whipped cream topping. The church has no running water, so we drank bottled water and coffee made from water that the ladies had hauled in. (When our daughters learned that the bathroom there was an outhouse, they all three suddenly needed to use the restroom. Suzanna came back and announced that she had used two pumps of hand sanitizer to clean the toilet seat before she sat down.)

They drew names throughout the afternoon for various door prizes. There were potted plants on the tables in pots decorated with Norwegian flags. A woman next to us who won one of those potted plants gave it to us since she lives in an apartment and had no place to plant it. The really big prize was a lawnmower that one Vang Lodge member bought and donated. He said, "Something just told me that I should do this, so I did." And aren't we glad he did because . . . I won it! When mowing the lawn yesterday, I thought to myself, "This mower is 13 years old; I wonder when it'll need to be replaced." And lo and behold, today I won a replacement!

How in the world was I supposed to get a lawnmower home from a rural church about 40 miles away when driving a minivan stuffed with children? I got the rear seat forward far enough to accommodate the dimensions of the lawnmower's base, and we folded down the handle so that it fit just fine in the back of the van. The gentleman had even filled it with oil and gasoline and started it before bringing it to the church; he wanted to make sure that it worked. Awesome!

Afterward we took a scenic route home, driving north to Dunn Center and then west from there past Lake Ilo to Killdeer and then south through Manning again to Dickinson. I had never been to Dunn Center, and it was so close; and Lake Ilo is the likely site for our lodge's midsummer picnic, so I wanted to know where it was. And we still had enough time to stop at home to clean up before heading to the next obligation: the girls' piano recital.

Here is the girls' piano teacher, Mrs. Vold, posing with the little pianists.

Here is Hillary performing "Firefly."

Here is Abigail performing "Pirate of the North Sea."

And here is Suzanna performing "Warrior Brave."

The girls each did a fine job, as did Mrs. Vold's other students. Afterwards we gathered in the fellowship hall of the church where the recital was held (the church where Mrs. Vold's husband is pastor) and had treats and punch and coffee. When we got home, everyone was quite ready for bed! Aren't weekends supposed to be relaxing?!

1 comment:

  1. I did feel a bit like a needed an extra day to recover from the weekend -- but everything was fun!(And now all of those obligations are done, so we can relax....until summer activities start...)