Bloom Where You’re Planted

The garden is in. Every seed gently deposited in a little furrow with tender loving care by my green garden-gloved hands. Now I can only hope that everything blooms where it was planted.

That thought takes me back to Monday evening and the delightful few hours I spent in Hallock, Minn.

I was invited to speak at a very unique occasion – the 35th annual “Salad Festival,” in First Presbyterian Church. This congregation began this event in 1975 to honor women who were 75 years young.

In three and a half decades they have not missed a single year. I’m told this was the largest crowd ever — 127 women. I wonder if they counted the little baby that was there.

Jan Younggren was the one who invited me. Jan and I go back a long way, even though we met for the first time in April when she came to town and we had lunch at Applebee’s East.

Twelve years ago, as I awaited the birth of a grandchild I ran a contest in my Grand Forks Herald “In the Spirit,” column. The prize was a children’s cloth Bible and Jan was the winner. She had that Bible with her Monday night. It was fun to see it again.

For starters we had a salad extravaganza. I’ve never seen such an assortment of color displayed in 45 salads. I marveled with each forkful at the tastiness of the ones I chose. Then I learned Jan made all the clover-leaf rolls. They, too, were luscious. There’s nothing like homemade bread!

I was blessed to sit with Jan on my left and Marlys Peterson and Patti Swanson on my right. For 30 some years, Patti and Marlys and their families have entertained everywhere as the Peterson/Swanson Family Singers. I knew something was up with those voices when I blended my soprano with theirs during the singing of the table grace.

Because I so love to blend voices, I looked to see where Marlys and Patti were when we sang, “Hymn of Promise,” and “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” Shucks! They were way in back and I was up front.

Wilson’s Greenhouse provided brilliant Shasta Daisies for each table and Jan Klein sewed lovely quilted cloths for the 12 tables.

Long stem roses were given to the honored guests. One was Pat Wise. Did you catch her last name – Wise? So what does Pat collect? Owls!

Every single woman, and I think I met them all, was so gracious, so fun-loving and happy. One in particular, Sylvia Gustafson, had a birthday that day. Sylvia walked in the door and right up to me and said, “Newburg.” (That’s my North Dakota hometown). I said, “Yes.”

Sylvia then told me she went her first two years of school in Newburg. That really endeared her to me, that and the fact that she and I both were dressed totally in yellow. I told her I got her memo! She loved that.

Along with this annual salad festival, there’s something else unique about Hallock’s First Presbyterian Church. The installation of 11 very old and beautiful stained glass windows was completed in the sanctuary in April.

The windows came from a Presbyterian Church in Orleans, Minn., that organized in 1885 and closed in 1969. The windows were removed before the church was destroyed and stored in Hallock’s lumber yard. Now they beautify First Presbyterian.

By the way, my topic Monday night was, “Bloom Where You Are Planted.” These women certainly are doing that – each and every one of them.

Until Soon