By Bill Anderson
Last Saturday’s Santa Claus Day activities opened on a musical note as members of Nordland Lutheran Church serenaded members of the community with Christmas Carols following the Congregation’s afternoon service on Saturday, December 11. At 5:00 p.m. the Carolers adjourned to the Rutland Town Hall to participate in Rutland’s Santa Claus Day activities that included BINGO and other games, and to enjoy a spaghetti supper prepared by members of the Rutland Community Club. Suddenly, with a jingle of sleigh bells and a “Ho, Ho, Ho!” Santa Claus appeared in the Town Hall and went right to work, consulting with youngsters about their Christmas wish lists. No one is quite sure how many children were present, as they did not slow down long enough to be counted. His consulting and counseling sessions complete, Santa then went to work presenting Christmas ham gifts to those whose names were drawn from the sign-up box. The hams had been donated for the event by local businesses and individuals. The donors were: R2 Inc. & Wild Rice Air (Rodney Erickson); Rutland Elevator – Wheaton-Dumont Co-op; Rutland-Cayuga Volunteer Fire Department; Rutland Oil Company (Greg Donaldson); Rutland Senior Citizens; Stock Growers Bank-Rutland Station, Shawn Klein, Manager; Paul Anderson Consulting; Joe’s Fertilizer; Bill Anderson; Mayor Michael Mahrer; Bernard Mahrer Construction; Oleo Acres LLC (Bill & Paul Anderson); Lariat Bar (Pete & Michelle Denault); Jacobson Plumbing, Heating & Excavating; Woytassek Farms; Andrew Hoflen; Dave & Pat Bladow; Jim & Ione Lunneborg; Joe’s Ag Supply (Kenny & Tanya Hamilton); Farmers Union Insurance Agent David Bergeman; Walock-Johnson Insurance Agency, Kristine Radke, Agent; The Bunkhous (Lori McLaen); The Morning Coffee Crew; and, Jake’s Feed & Seed (Jake Erickson). Recipients of the Christmas hams were: Renee Cramton; Pam Maloney; Sarah Pavek; Paislee Pherson; Julia Mahrer; Pat Bladow; Audrey Anderson; Carol Fridgen; Delores Lysne; Kinsley & McKenzie; Carolyn Christensen; Rodney Erickson; Rodger Pearson; Delores Breker; Aunika Wyum; Mason Breker; Cher Spieker; Ione Pherson; Launa Peterson; Beverly Kulzer; Joanne Harris; Katie Johnson; Bill Anderson; Cohen Jensen; Diane Smith; Kayla Mahrer; Corbin Carlson; Janice Christensen; Dylan Anderson; Jesse Maly; Lori McLaen; Joanne Hawkinson; Ruth McLaen; Jim Huckell; Brady Anderson; Hadley Bladow; Briella Bosworth; Jetter Berg; Karla Breker; Julie Johnson; Yvonne Johnson; Joel Susag; Jameson Corry; Lyle Erickson; and, Dianna Anderson. His work for the evening completed, Santa made his departure at about 7:00 p.m., vowing to return on Christmas Eve with gifts for those who have been nice, and to make his 77th pre-Christmas visit to Rutland in December of 2022. So, “…You better be good, you better not cry, you better not pout and I’m tellin’ you why…cause Santa Claus is coming to town!”
Mother Nature provided some mild weather for Santa Claus Day last week, boosting the temperature into the 30’s by Friday, December 10, and into the 40’s for the next 5 days. The weather gurus are predicting a turnaround beginning on the evening of Wednesday, December 15, however, with plummeting temperatures, high winds and snow forecast for Wednesday night and through Thursday, December 16. After that, cold for as far ahead as can be foreseen. As Boyd Jacobson Jr. put it, “The knowledge that it will most likely warm up by April is what keeps me going.” Well, it’s Winter in North Dakota. Enjoy it or suffer. It’s as simple as that.
The real reason for the Christmas celebration will be observed next weekend, on December 24th, 25th & 26th. According to Pastor Julie Johnson, the Christmas Eve service at Nordland Lutheran Church will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, December 24th, and Sunday worship will be at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 26th. Everyone is welcome.
It was reported here last week that a long-time member of the Rutland and Forman communities, Marie J. (Buen) Pearson, had passed away on Saturday, December 4, at Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Forman, and that there would be more information about Marie in this week’s column. Marie Josephine Buen was born on May 17, 1924, in St. Paul MN to William & Agnes C. (Fernbaugh) Buen. When Marie was a young child, the family returned to Sargent County and moved onto a farm north and west of Rutland in Rutland Township. Marie grew up on the farm, and attended school at Rutland Consolidated, in the center of Rutland Township, until her Junior year. Rather than go to the “big city” school in Forman to obtain a high school diploma, Marie decided to end her formal education and get into the work force. She took a job as cook and housekeeper for a pair of bachelor farmers, Victor & Hjalmar Strand, and their mother, Anna Strand, on their farm a half mile east of Rutland. A young man named Gordon Pearson also worked for the Strands, and the next thing you know, Marie & Gordon decided to go into the farming, cooking and housekeeping business on their own. They were married on December 2, 1942. They rented “The Helberg Farm” southeast of Rutland, on the Ransom/Tewaukon Township line, and began raising their family. In the early 1950’s, they moved to the farm in Rutland Township, west of Rutland & south of Forman, that had been owned by Marie’s parents. They made their home there until they moved to an apartment in Forman during the early years of the 21st Century. Marie & Gordon were excellent dancers and enjoyed socializing with friends, particularly their old friends Andy & Esther Sundlie. Gordon passed away on July 25, 2005, and Marie continued to live in the apartment until she moved to Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Forman in 2012. Marie was well known for her warm hospitality, her ability as a housekeeper and for her outstanding cooking. This writer can attest that he experienced Marie’s cooking as a young man working on the Pearson Farm 60 years ago, and that everything Marie prepared was good, some was better, and most was great! One year she even won a Purple Ribbon for her doughnuts at the Sargent County Fair. She was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Forman and was a member of the Altar Society. Marie is survived by three daughters: Llonie Mahrer; Shelly Anderson; and Jean Bopp; all of Forman; by 1 son, Rodney Pearson of Otsego MN; by 13 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren; and, by 1 sister, Carol Bettinger of Bemidji MN. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; 1 grandson; and, 1 sister, Dorothy Higgins. The Memorial Mass for Marie was at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 10, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Forman with Father Timothy Schroeder Officiating. Inurnment of cremains was in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Forman. The Price Funeral Chapel of Forman & Britton was in charge of arrangements. Condolences for the family may be sent to Jean Bopp, PO Box 256, Forman ND 58032. The Rutland Community extends its condolences to the family and friends of Marie Pearson, a warm, kind and capable person with a heart full of love and good humor.
Former Rutland residents Tommy & Rosemary Jones, now of Clinton KY, have informed friends here that the tornado that ravaged western Kentucky last week passed them by, although it did leave them without electrical power. One of Their sons, Larry Jones, is a police officer in the City of Mayfield KY, the community that was hit hardest by the tornado. Much of Mayfield was demolished by the storm. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Jones Family, and to the people of western Kentucky whose lives have been disrupted or destroyed by this devastating twister.
Rutland native Darby Brakke and her husband, Robert Sebree, report that they have recently moved from their home of the last 30 years, Los Angeles CA, to a new home in Cincinnati OH. Darby has taken a position as an administrator in a local university, and Robert is continuing his career as a professional photographer. Their new address is: 421 Boal Street, Cincinnati OH, 45202.
This community was saddened on Friday, December 10, when it was learned that Rutland native and longtime resident, Fred Christensen, had passed away at St. Catherine’s Nursing Home in Wahpeton. He had attained the age of 81 years, 11 months and 7 days at the time of his death. Fred Christensen was born in Rutland on January 3, 1940, to Fred & Laura (Delaney) Christensen, the 5th of their 10 children. Fred attended school in Rutland, graduating from RHS in 1959. Fred had a damaged hip that gave him a limp but didn’t slow him down. As a boy, he played Little League Baseball while on crutches and wearing a cast that ran from his waist to his ankle. Despite this, he played the shortstop and 2nd base positions like a pro and could hit and run the bases in spite of crutches and cast. In one game, an opposing coach even objected to letting Fred play because he thought the crutches gave him an unfair advantage in turning the corners as he ran the bases. Fred played! In High School he played baseball and was an excellent point guard on the basketball team. In the late 60’s and early 70’s he played on the Rutland Roosters Men’s Slow-pitch Softball team which won numerous tournaments. Following High School, he worked on road construction as a heavy equipment operator for several years, before returning to Rutland to work in the Rutland Co-op Elevator for the next decade. Later on, he returned to road construction work for a number of years. At one point, he worked on the construction of the huge coal gasification plant at Beulah ND. In the early 60’s, Fred married Janice Brakke of Rutland. They had 2 children, Bradley & Stacey, and Fred tagged them with the nicknames George & Susie. In later years, Fred worked for the Wyum Brothers Farm near Rutland, and resided on a farmstead north of Cayuga before moving to an apartment in Milnor. A Celebration of Fred’s Life will be held during the Christensen family’s annual reunion and golf tournament, “The Christensen classic,” this coming July. The Vertin-Munson Funeral Home of Wahpeton is in charge of arrangements, and a brief obituary is posted on their internet web site. The Rutland community extends condolences to the family and friends of Fred Christensen, a good man who faced suffering & pain, and dealt with it in his own way, head on, throughout his life. Rest in peace, Fred. No pain no more.
Rutland has some new homeowners. Aaron & Silvia Brooks closed on their purchase of “The Bagley House” at 301 First Street in Rutland on Monday, December 13. Brenda Smith of Results Realty, Lisbon, had handled the sale for the former owners, Kathleen Brakke and Bill Anderson of this community. The house was constructed in 1887 by Robert Bagley, the Great Northern Railway’s first Agent in Rutland. Over the next 130 years a few additions had been added to the original structure, including a kitchen, bathroom and entryway/utility room. Kathy Brakke had the house renovated with new plumbing, wiring, windows and siding in 2017. The Brooks have been residing in Rutland for the past year, and like their new home and their new community. Welcome to Rutland! Silvia says that she is looking forward to learning how to make lefse.
Jim & Ione Lunneborg were in town shortly after Noon on Tuesday, December 14, for a late lunch at The Lariat Bar. They were joined by John & Marilyn Lunneborg; Mervin & Karen Wohler; and, David Lunneborg; and report that they enjoyed a good visit and a delicious lunch. Jim has been keeping a low profile in recent months, due to health concerns. The Lunneborgs request that everyone get vaccinated against covid-19, to lower the risk of contracting the disease for those with temporarily or chronically impaired immune systems.
Chuck & Mary Beth Anderson were in Fargo on business on Monday, December 13, and stopped at The Pizza Ranch for lunch at Noon. As they were enjoying their lunch, Rutland native Harlan Nundahl (RHS Class of ’61) entered the establishment, spotted Chuck & Mary Beth and came over for a visit. In addition to being old Ransom Township neighbors, Harlan & Chuck are also first cousins. Harlan told the Andersons that he reads The Teller every week, just to keep up on what’s going on in the old hometown.
After a few days of activity at the Rutland Post Office during the week of December 6-10, the situation has returned to the “new normal”: no action; no information; no Post Office; and no service.
Some upcoming events in Rutland include Christmas Eve Service at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, December 24, at Nordland Lutheran Church; Rutland City Council meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 3, 2022, in the Rutland Town Hall; Rutland Community Club meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 10, 2022, in the Rutland Town Hall; and Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament on Saturday, February 5, 2022, in the Rutland Town Hall.
Well, that’s the news from Rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com, and take a look at the Rutland Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Don’t forget to patronize your local Post Office and remember to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.