Some 50 yrs ago my mom read in some farm mag an idea about writing an annual Christmas letter. She took the idea and ran with it and so this yr marks the 50th year of this letter. She would write it out then find somebody to type it out for her then get it copied someplace. As I grew up I began to help here with it especially after I began learning how to type myself. After I graduated from H.S. I began to more involved in the writing. Mom had a stroke in 1988 and we had to put her in the nursing home in Morris. However I have kept up the tradition of writing it with help from aunt Mable and others finding it a nice way to keep family friends updated on my life. After I got a computer it has made doing the job a lot easier. I hope you enjoy my annual epistle.
DONNELLY MINN. CHRISTMAS 2009
"Oh Come all ye faithful Joyful and triumphant” With the words of this familiar hymn, I greet you once again with the annual Christmas letter. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this letter; a family tradition stared by my Mom who got the idea from some farm magazine
Weather news: 2009 will long be remembered as one of the most memorable years weather wise with cold temps, drought, and a very late fall. The ‘08-‘09 winter began in early December with back to back weekend snow storms, that forced the cancellation of most church services and other events in the area and continued throughout the rest of the winter with storms, snow, and cold temps that made life difficult until it finally ended in late Mar. Our area made the news in late Feb when the 10" of snow we received was one of the largest amounts in the state. The melting snow, plus spring rains, contributed to some flooding especially in the Red River Valley area in Apr. Field work got started in earnest in mid- May around here, a few dry weeks enabled farmers to make good progress, and by late May most of the crop was in the ground and starting to come up. Most of the summer was cool, (July was the third coldest month on record in MN), and dry. Grain harvest got underway about mid Aug, bean harvest started in Sept when “summer" finally arrived. It was one of the warmest September’s on record, and it also brought some much-needed rain. Snow, rain, cold temps, etc. made Oct. a month to forget and kept most area farmers out of the field for most of it. A mild Nov. enabled most farmers in the area were able to get the rest of the crops harvested and fall fieldwork by early Dec. Considering the crazy weather we had during the growing season, farmers were happy just to get a crop and yields were still good although the corn was wet necessitating a lot of drying. Early Dec has brought some light snow, blowing and drifting, and very cold temperatures
I put a lot of miles on my car again this year traveling to many parades, community celebrations, fairs, farm shows and other events in the area. It is often an opportunity to see unusual and interesting things, meet people I do not see too often and hear some interesting speakers. I did not go to S.C. this year but did take several "mini" vacations; to DeSmet SD in July to see their Wilder Pageant, in Sept to Rollag, Dalton and Albany for their threshing shows and to Fargo for Big Iron. I camped out at all of those events so I could spend more than one day at them. Our threshing Bee had its best attendance in many years; participation was also up in most events too. One of the highlights for me this year was a performance of “State Fair" by students at MAHS. In Apr a send off ceremony at MAHS, dinner at the Lee Center and dance at the Armory was held for the local National Guard Unit that was being deployed to Iraq again. A new event this year was a trim a tree contest held at the Donnelly Hall, to raise money for hall renovations. Our annual Ice Cream social and Halloween party were well attended too. At the Stevens County Genealogical Society meeting in Mar and Apr, a local family showed slides of their trip to Norway last year and also at several other events in the area this year. Aug marked the end of an era in Donnelly when the Frank family closed the Donnelly Hardware store for good and had an auction to sell the store and it's contents
Church News: In Dec our parish voted to call our interim pastor Rev Judy Gieleinske to be our full time pastor. Tom and Pearl Horning sang and played at several services again this year, as well at the Threshing Bee community services. Other parish events included confirmation and baccalaureate services, a fourth of July gathering at Kong; Rally Sun at Kong; St J beef supper, Kong Fall festival; a presentation on Alzheimer’s; a Christmas carol sing a long; several joint services and the usual assortment of pot luck meals. Our S.S. program was canceled this year due to bad weather. I continue to travel to area churches for the monthly WCAWA chapter meetings often affording me the opportunity to hear some very good and interesting speakers. On Sept 27 five area WA chapters sponsored a meeting at MT. Carmel Bible Camp near Alex, entitled “A Denomination at Risk,” The president of the national WA organization along with two ELCA bishops discussed the results of the actions taken by the ELCA assembly in Aug in Minneapolis where they voted to accept the recommendations of the sexuality task force, including allowing the ordination of practicing homosexual pastors. A forum featuring Rev King and Rev Grorud from Lutheran Core was held in Willmar on Oct 3rd where I had an opportunity to visit a little with our former pastor Luther Johnson. Oct 10th it was back to MT. Carmel for a presentation by Rev Dale Wolf of Atonement Lutheran church in Fargo on LCMC. On Nov 30th the WCAWA chapter sponsored a forum in Morris with Rev Steve King, who is education director for WA and head of Sola Publishing, in which he also talked about the decisions and options produced by the ELCA assembly. Some other church events in the area I attended included: the conference assembly at East Zion of Starbuck; a bishops forum in Milan; two "New Wine" shows at First Lutheran in Morris, the first by a troupe from Clouquet, and the second a homecoming concert by the troupe from First Lutheran, Faith Discovery Series by Dr. Berlie at the MAHS auditorium; a “Captive Free” concert at Fron in Starbuck; the St Olaf Hand bell choir concert at Faith in Morris and the Concordia College Christmas concert in Moorhead.
Family news: I am still living and working out here on the farm with my "family", which has a new member this year. “Buttons”was a kitten I got this summer to replace "Kitty" a long time “family” member that died this summer, I am still looking for some work, I have applied for several jobs but have not gotten any, I hope that next year I can get into the Sr. works program. I am still writing the Donnelly News for the Morris paper, and have had a lot of complements about it; I also put up a blog this year (DonnellyMinn.blogspot.com) to provide a little more timely news. My health is ok, I still take medicine for diabetes and high blood pressure, and need to watch what I eat, I still work out several times a week in Morris. I still belong to the Donnelly Community Club, and the St Co Gen Soc. My aunt Pearl, and my cousin Bev became great grandmother, and grandmother again this year as Nikki and Jason Armstrong had a baby boy Gavin Dennis in Aug. The rest of my family is “status quo” my other aunt Pearl is still in Donnelly, and sells Avon, my cousin Carl (Billy), his wife Pat, and sister Elnora are still in S.C., my cousin Jan, and her husband Dennis are still in Alex. When I am home I spend a lot of time on line listening to various religious programs, my e-mail ad is email@example.com. I do have a new cell # 320-287-1219. Thank you for your prayers during the past year, and please keep me in them during the upcoming year.
As always at this time of the year we pause to remember the friends and acquaintances that have passed away during the past year. Happier occasions this year were several birthday and wedding anniversary celebrations for friends and relatives in the area.
Now may the God of Christmas go with you during the upcoming year.
Allen, "Duke" and "Buttons"