Reminiscing about Christmas lights and nativity scenes in town

Published 6:00am Sunday, December 22, 2013

Column: Woods & Water, by Dick Herfindahl

Once again the Christmas season is upon us. For some of us, it’s time to get that little kid feeling if only for a short time. I guess I’d have to say that I still get a certain warm feeling inside whenever I drive past houses that are lit up with colorful Christmas lights. It seems as if there are getting to be fewer and fewer houses displaying Christmas lights each year, which is kind of sad. Maybe it’s the economy or just a sign of the times. I know our little granddaughter Emma still marvels at houses that are all lit up and thinks it’s a real treat when Mom and Dad go out of the way to drive past those houses.

I can still remember my folks loading me and my sister Judy into the car and driving around town to see all the houses decorated with lights. There were a few homes that had nativity scenes which depicted the true meaning of Christmas, and I can remember thinking how special that was. We would also go uptown — which has now turned into downtown — to shop or just look in the windows of the stores that were all decorated for Christmas. I can still hear the ho-ho-ho of the mechanical Santa in the window of the Skinner-Chamberlain department store. Those were simple times when folks had time to talk and weren’t all consumed with the electronic toys of today’s world. The town was always lit up with the traditional strings of garland and lights strung across the intersections and the sounds of music playing with the Salvation Army bell ringers chorusing in. Our family didn’t have a lot of money, but we didn’t really need a lot because we were satisfied with the simple things that meant the most: like a good home, food on the table and most importantly, family.

Speaking of family, my grandson Trevor is not only an avid fisherman, but he’s also quite the hunter. He loves waterfowl hunting and he especially loves to goose hunt. On one of his goose hunting excursions, he bagged a different-looking goose, and after doing a little research he discovered it was a Quill Lake goose that comes from an area in the vicinity of the village of Quill Lake, Saskatchewan. It is thought that these geese actually have a genetic trait that developed over the years while nesting in that particular area of Canada.

The following is a quote from an experienced waterfowl hunter from South Dakota about this particular goose. “(A) Quill Lake goose is a distinctive goose with mainly white patches on the wing tips and a white stripe on the bottom of it neck starting at the bottom of the chin all the way down to the start of the crop. You will also notice that there is a big white patch or two or three on his chest which is very distinctive. It is resident mostly in Canada and (few) migrate to the southern states.”

This particular hunter said that if you are lucky enough to shoot one, you should mount it because you don’t see them very often.

When I asked Trevor what he wanted for Christmas he said I could just give him some money to put toward getting that goose mounted. That works for me, and it’s also something he will have for years to come.

Now that the waterfowl season is behind us for a few months, I’m hoping Trevor and I can spend some time doing a little hard-water fishing. Of course now it’s him doing most of the work, and I’m just going along for the fun part. It’s kind of funny how things go full circle from the days when he’d go fishing with me, and I’d spend a fair amount of time untangling lines and retrieving lures from shoreline tree branches. Ahh! Those were the days that seemed to go by all too fast.

As I write this column my mouth is beginning to water — just a little — because I’m thinking of the lutefisk feast that lies ahead. Until next time, have a very merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.