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Off the Editor’s Desk – 12-24-2014


Do you remember when you found out that the person playing Santa was not that jolly old fellow from the North Pole?

For me, I think I was about five or six. We were at my mother’s parents’ home in Hersey for Christmas Eve.

Arriving just after dark, and as soon as we stepped out of the car, you could smell that lutefisk cooking on grandma’s stove. But I know she also had meatballs and I liked them.

But back to who was playing Santa. Many members the family arrived for Christmas Eve dinner, and one of them was Aunt Martha from Duluth, Minnesota. I don’t remember ever seeing her before this evening. She was dressed in very fine clothes, jewelry, a fur coat and high heels. I don’t remember if she was a sister to my grandmother or grandfather, I think Grandma, but I had never seen anyone dressed so fine.

Just after dinner, Santa arrived for my enjoyment. I was the oldest of the grandchildren, but at that time there was probably only two or three others, all very young.

During the time that Santa was entertaining us kids, Aunt Martha had to use the facility, which at that time was the little building out back with the half moon cut in the door. It was very elaborate; it had two holes and a roll of toilet paper.

Well, Aunt Martha had to navigate the snow piles to get to the outhouse and in doing so, she broke the heel of not one, but both of her shoes. I don’t why she did not take the shoes off and walk in the snow, but anyway, Grandpa, dressed as Santa left the house and carried Aunt Martha back through the snow. While Santa was carrying Aunt Martha back, the beard he was wearing came off and I saw it was Grandpa.

Christmas time was a great time, besides the Christmas program at Church, it was a treat to visit a school friend’s home and see the nice decorations at each one of those homes. I still remember the Christmas tree at the Sempf home on First Street. Ted always had the best decorated tree in town and he must have spent hours putting the tinsel on the tree. We did that at our house, but I did not like it and then taking it off was another chore. Ted did it just right and it was wonderful.

Thanks for reading! — Carlton