Friday, June 18, 2010

Sons of Norway District IV Convention, Day 1

After doing committee work yesterday and attending opening events last night (remember?), I was ready to begin serving as a lodge delegate during the convention's business sessions starting this morning.  Since this is my first Sons of Norway convention, I didn't know quite what to expect, so it was a day of "Oh, that's how they run this" moments for me.  For Susan (who, as an alternate, simply sit in the back of the room and observed), it was a day of working on her latest Hardanger project.  And for the girls, whom we signed up for the children's activities offered by convention organizers, it was a day of fun in Missoula.

Cathy and Barb (the other delegates from our lodge) and I found our places in the front row, right below the dais for the district board and international officers! Our spots were marked by a sign with our lodge's name (Hardanger Lodge) attached to an exquisite work of Norwegian craftsmanship: a hand-carved wooden horse with a blanket that had been rosemaled, attached to a carousel pole mounted on a block of wood with an engraved plate. The wood carving and rosemaling were appropriate for a Sons of Norway event; and the carousel horse was appropriate because a popular attraction in Missoula is its carousel, one of whose horses (Sleipnir, named after the eight-legged horse of the Norse god Odin) was adopted by a local Sons of Norway lodge and is painted just like the miniature horse at our table. (By the way, another local Sons of Norway lodge adopted a carousel horse, too: Freya, named after the Norse goddess of the same name and painted with a Norwegian flag on its saddle blanket.)

Cathy, Barb, and I with our lodge's table marker, a miniature Sleipnir

The business of the convention was conducted in a ballroom just off the hotel's atrium, the perimeter of which was set up with tables for vendors to sell their wares: Hardanger needlework, rosemaled items, intricately carved wooden boxes, Scandinavian cookbooks, etc.  There were scheduled breaks for coffee and Norwegian baking (provided by several area lodges), and we used that time to peruse the vendors' tables and buy a few rosemaled items to take home.  Otherwise the business sessions consisted of lots of presentations in the morning (by various officers and by the mayor of Missoula, who gave a hilarious welcome speech!) and reports in the afternoon (by persons representing this Sons of Norway activity or that committee, etc.).  In fact, there were so many presentations that there wasn't time for much actual business to be conducted, so my committee's report (which the delegates will discuss and votes on) has been moved to the docket for tomorrow.

While Susan and I were at the convention throughout the day, the girls were with a woman who had planned children's activities for any kids in attendance.  We registered the girls when we signed up for the convention a couple months ago, so this woman planned activities with their ages in mind.  The kids left in the morning and returned late in the afternoon, and over supper (at El Cazador, a terrific Mexican restaurant), they told us about their day:

In addition to our three daughters, there were two other girls and two boys in the group.  (Suzanna reported that the younger boy was especially naughty, so she took on the role of his babysitter, keeping him from "getting into things" everywhere they went.)  First they visited the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, where they learned about elk conservation efforts and went on a scavenger hunt using their newly learned knowledge about elk.  They also got paper headbands with elk horns, which they were wearing when they returned to the hotel this afternoon.

Then they toured the Missoula Smokejumper Visitor Center, where they learned about fighting forest fires by dropping firefighters from an airplane into the middle of the fire.  They saw where the firefighters are trained, where the parachutes are stored, and where the planes take off.

Then they had a picnic at the Clark Fork River Market area near the carousel, which they rode after eating their dinner.  Then they went to an indoor water park to play for the afternoon, followed by a visit to the Big Dipper, a well known ice cream shop given great reviews in all the tourism information that we read.

Several candidates running for offices on the district board had together rented out the carousel for the evening and hosted all us delegates and our families there for free rides, snacks, and beverages.  The weather was beautiful, as was the setting on the north bank of the Clark Fork River.  We walked just a couple blocks from our hotel to the restaurant and then just a block to the carousel (and then just a couple blocks across the bridge to the Big Dipper for a late-night ice cream cone so that Susan and I could try it ourselves), which itself is just a block from our hotel.  It was a fun and relaxing way to end the day in a beautiful setting.

Here is Sleipnir up close and personal.

The girls did not at all mind returning to the carousel in the evening.  They rode nearly every ride tonight, sitting out only long enough to watch . . .

. . . the local lodge's clogging group perform just outside the carousel!  They're called "City Clickers" and danced several numbers for us.  Afterward the candidates hosting the evening's events handed out door prizes, and Susan won one: a version of the Canadian dollar coin with a Vancouver Olympics 2010 logo on the side that usually has a bird on it (or, as she put it, "a loonie without the loon").

As we walked from the carousel over the bridge to the Big Dipper (where I had a waffle cone with one scoop of yellow cake ice cream and one of huckleberry ice cream, thank you very much), we spotted kayakers practicing their whitewater skills in the Clark Fork River.

Halfway across the bridge, Susan paused to snap photos of the mountains just a few blocks away and the rushing river beneath us.  In honor of Father's Day this weekend, she took a pic, too, of me and my little darlings: Hillary, Suzanna, and Abigail.


  1. Wow...what an activity filled weekend for all of you. It sounds least what all the girls did! LOL!!!

  2. Missoula is beautiful, and it was a full day of activity!