An Old Stone Church on Christmas Day

With the temps being ten degrees cooler this morning, it sure made a noticeable difference whenever I was outdoors for any length of time. The sunrise this morning was casting it’s glowing amber rays on everything in sight, and just when I was ready to grab my camera and take a few shots, it had already risen above the clouds.

When knowing several of my friends are early risers, I placed calls to the both of them and thanked them for their kind words. I had planned on dropping off a plate of black walnut fudge to one of them, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow due to her visiting relatives out of town.

Being as careful as I am with this pandemic, I decided to take in an online Christmas Service instead of attending in person. With this new China-virus’s ability to be more easily contracted, I’m doing my best to stay clear of crowds, and especially when indoors. I have no clue why people think everything’s back to normal when it’s not. After the Service was over, I went to return a call to one of my colleagues who left a message yesterday, but there was no answer, so that’ll be at the top of my “to do” list tomorrow morning.

Since I wasn’t hosting or having accepted any Christmas dinner invitations, I spent the remainder of my morning, driving around western Mitchell County and taking photos of places I’d never before visited. Another reason I was in that area, was to see if there was any noticeable storm damage from last week’s hellacious storm. As I suspected, nearly everywhere I looked, there were trees down and visible damage to various buildings and homes.

I read a news-clip several days ago which mentioned that either four or five States had approximately 92 tornados, but the real shocker, was Iowa having been hit with 43 of them. Now that’s scary. I hope North Iowa doesn’t get re-named the “tornado alley” of the Midwest. As I mentioned some weeks ago, I won’t be the least bit surprised if we start seeing our homeowner’s insurance premiums going thru the roof because they have to cover their losses one way or another.

Tonight’s photo is of an old stone church I happened upon while in St. Ansgar. As many times as I’ve been in that town, I never happened to notice it. Yes, it’s on a side street, but I should’ve spied its tall steeple years ago. It appeared to be an Evangelical Norwegian Lutheran Church. I absolutely love that type of stonework in buildings, and mostly because it reminds me of some of those quaint little churches I’d seen while touring Northern Europe. Without a doubt, seeing an old stone church on Christmas Day, was the highlight of it. It’s too bad there wasn’t a Service being held in it while I was there because I would’ve walked in and had a good look around.

While driving up to Otranto, I happened upon three bald eagles eating a road-kill deer in the ditch. Until this year, I never knew they ate something they didn’t kill themselves. It was quite the coincidence having seen it twice in less than a month. Another thing about them of which I was mistaken, is their not migrating to warmer areas during the winter. I guess like these year-round resident geese we now have, the eagles must also be evolving and adapting to our climate change.

After making it safe and sound back to the City, I returned to office and changed into my work clothes and went to work on cracking more black walnuts. Before I started, I placed bandaids on the tips of both of my thumbs because those sharp shells have been making them a little on the raw side, and glad I did because by the time I was finished for the day, those bandaids were almost in shreds.

Without a doubt, the gentleman who gave me those nuts, must have three different cultivars because their meats are noticeably different in color and shape. It’s too bad all of them weren’t like the easier ones, but I have to remember beggars can’t be choosers. In spite of the difficulties I had with those which are harder to crack, I did manage to get exactly one pound of nut meats out of them in a four hour time period. You may think that not being much, but when I first got started cracking them, I’d be lucky if I got around eight ounces in that time period. Yes, I dare say I’ve now got a good method established, and if I have some free hours these coming days, I should have them all cracked. Yes, after these many years of being away from cracking them, it’s been a good re-learning experience. Believe it or not, I still haven’t made any divinity which was the main reason I wanted them. Not to worry, I’ll be making some soon.

Another sight for sore eyes I encountered while out this morning, was a monster pile of pine trees in a field next to a building site. For sure there must’ve been a tornado that had touched down because that farmer wouldn’t have purposely taken a healthy windbreak this time of year. By the looks of it, those country dwellers are going to be bracing themselves for some strong north winds this winter. I did take a photo of that pile of trees as well.

After my mother passed some years ago, I’m finding these quiet Holidays very much to my liking, and whenever I get asked about where I went and/or what I did, I just tell whomever’s questioning me, “I had a pleasant day of it.” and leave it at that. We must always remember there are different strokes for different folks, so if they’re enjoying themselves, then that’s just fine by me.

As my final note, I must confess this to be one of my better Christmas experiences, and mostly because I freely gifted far more this Season than I ever have, and it felt great.

Tonight’s One-liner is: Reality in this century isn’t something most want to face.

Joe Chodur

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