Piece (of lefse) On Earth

Posted: Friday, December 5, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I was getting worried.Just three weeks before Christmas and I still wasn’t in the Christmas Spirit.
Back when I was a kid, all it took was a slight stimulation of any of the 5 senses; “hearing” Gene Autry singing about Rudolph the red nosed reindeer during Ray Loftesness’ Holiday Inn program on KSOO Radio. “Seeing” the decorated tree after it had been put up in the First Lutheran Church sanctuary.  “Tasting the sweet ribbon candy that came, with peanuts, an apple and a movie at the Volga auditorium during Santa Claus Day.  The “smell” of pine boughs that my 7th and 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Lemke, would always hang around her desk before Christmas break. 
 As I’ve gotten older, though, the things that trigger my Christmas Spirit  have become more elusive to the point where I sometimes wonder if it’s going to happen at all.
That was my concern this year.The first showing of “A Christmas Story” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV didn’t do it.  Hanging up a few lights and decorations around the house didn’t do it. Sipping my first taste of Christian Brothers Egg Nog didn’t do it.  Maybe it’s just going to be a “bah humbug” season. But then my old pal, John Mogen gave me a call Tuesday night. “Doug, have you had any lefse yet.? I’ve been making it all day and am bringing some over.”  Almost immediately, I felt like breaking into a chorus of “We Three Kings.”  Linda looked at me as if I’d yust gone nuts when I suddenly gave her a big holiday hug.“It’s here..it’s here,” I yelled. “I have the Christmas spirit at last..and it’s all because of  the lefse!”Not just any lefse, mind you, John makes the good stuff..not the kind that they slap together with potato flakes at some bread factory in Sioux City. His is the best I’ve had since my mom’s who made hers with real red potatoes, Gold Medal Flour, scoops of Crisco and  lots of love.It satisfied all my senses at holiday time; the sound of her mashing great quantities of potatoes in that huge aluminum pot, the sight of her rolling out the floured patties, the smell of them baking on the griddle, the hot touch of a freshly made piece offered to me from her lefse-turning stick as a reward for keeping her company.  And the taste! Oh, what a glorious taste..made even better with butter and sugar rolled up like a magic carpet..a carpet that could fly me to a Nordic homeland I’d only heard about from sentimental relatives with heavy accents.
It all rushed back when I opened the package John had brought over. Perfectly round pieces with just the right amount of brown scorch marks to make it look like your great grandmother’s face.
I love to cook but, for some reason, I’m not interested in actually making lefse myself.  I rely on the charity of others.What’s really odd is that my two brothers..who aren’t as hopelessly nostalgic  as I, are lefse aficionados and fire up their own personal griddles around mid November turning out a few precious batches which, next to Mom and Mogen’s are the finest in the land.
Alas, I have but one slice left and, unless John or my brothers provide me with another fix, there’s a real danger of my slipping out of fa la la la la, la la la la mode and back into seeing ghosts in the night.

1 Comment

  1. Paul says:

    Just stumbled upon this Doug. Really enjoyed it, really resonated with me, as I have similar memories about Christmas when I was growing up in Sioux Falls. The annual return of Ray Loftesness and Holiday Inn was always eagerly awaited when I was litlle kid. KSOO, KISD, Transition on KELO-FM – Sioux Falls radio was extraordinary. And if I can only get some of my Aunt Ella’s Krumkake again. Thanks again for writing this!

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