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Morning Reflections

This photo is of the altar of the Medora Lutheran Church, Medora ND. This is the church that I grew up attending. I am so old, I remember when they moved it into Medora from a country area north of Belfield called Gorham. This was in the early 1950's. Prior to getting their own church in town, Medora Lutherans worshipped at the United Congregational Church, which burned down about 1952, and was later rebuilt. So then I remember going to church in the court room of the Billings County Courthouse and I also remember attending Sunday School where the Cave Bar was later located.

Growing up in Medora in the 1950's, church activities were a major part of our lives. Services and Sunday School were attended every Sunday morning. We had two weeks usually of Bible School in the summer - these were all day long, and I loved it! The women had Ladies' Aid at least monthly and I remember helping prepare for big (at least to us) church dinners in the basement of the church.

A wonderful woman named Laura Grafsgaard moved to Medora in the early 50's with her family. She and her husband, Art, were school teachers and Laura was one of those people truly born to teach. Besides her "job" as a teacher, she organized many other activities for us kids. She was the organist for church, so she led the music at Sunday School and Bible School and she started a little girls' choir at Medora Lutheran. There were six of us who participated through our grade school years. We started when we could barely, or actually didn't, know how to read. She made us choir books of dittoed papers, folded and stapled with a sticker of Jesus on the front. (I may still have mine.)

We had choir practice every Wednesday and would practice the song we were going to sing the following Sunday morning and then work on new, upcoming songs. We ended every practice with the Lord's Prayer and then headed home. We always walked to the church - I really don't remember driving much of anywhere as a kid and in Medora, the whole village was truly our back yard! We did not need to be transported to activities!

Laura made us choir "gowns" out of white dish towels with a circle cut out in the middle for our heads to go through and tied in the back with the binding. We wore them with the "points" centered on our bodies and arms. For those of you reading this who may remember, the choir consisted of her daughter, Judy, the two Eichhorst girls, Ginger and Connie, the two Zilsdorf girls, Leah and Lynnette and yours truly.

Every Sunday, we would march into the church in our robes to the left front row, where we would sit together until it was our time to "perform." We took our job very seriously and I don't remember that goofing off or not showing up was an option.

Besides all of her parental duties, teaching duties, and church duties, Mrs. Grafsgaard also taught piano lessons, which I took, but had to practice for at the church because we were too poor for a piano! She also hauled us to swimming lessons in Beach (I never managed to learn), took us to concert series performances at the college in Dickinson, and started teaching us about stamp collecting and various other hobbies. She even taught us how to sing "Jesus Loves Me" in Chinese! Little do you realize as a kid, how much you are learning from a good role model!

So when I attended a baptism at my little Medora Lutheran Church this past Sunday, I have had a rush of memories of people, events, and music. I am happy to report that this little church still has services every Sunday, they now have an elevator for handicapped people and the basement has been lovingly and beautifully updated. The picture above the altar has been hanging there as long as I can remember and believe it or not, was painted by my husband's grandfather, Einar Olstad!

Last blog, I showed the library books I had checked out to read. Just finished this book and I highly recommend it and will be looking to read more books by this author. If you are in the mood for a hard-to-put-down book, something different, and a tear-jerker, be sure to give it a try,

I made these bars last week - they are one of my favorite desserts and I hardly ever make them because of that. I got the recipe from Alma Waldal about 50 years ago. Alma was a long time friend of the Olstad family. Just in case the recipe card is hard to understand, combine the cocoa, eggs, butter, flour sugar (and nuts if you want-pecans are great). Spread in the greased 9x13 pan (just barely covers the pan, but don't worry!) Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes -don't overtake. While bars are still hot, GENEROUSLY spread with miniature marshmallows and return to oven just until marshmallows start to soften.

While the bars are baking, take a 4 cup glass measuring cup or a glass bowl and bring to a boil 1/2 C oil, 1/4 C milk, and 1 C of sugar. (I use microwave) Then add 1/2 C chocolate chips, blend and pour over bars while they are still hot,

These are so good, they are evil! Anyway, here are just a couple photos that I took last week for your viewing pleasure. We have finally gotten a little snow and the past couple of days have been bitter cold.

Taken as I was leaving the yard last Saturday.

This was at Cottonwood Campground in Medora at TRNP.

This bison and I say, TTFN!

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