Old time Ladies Aid

Played, sang and spoke to an old time Ladies Aid gathering at Little Fork Lutheran Church about 10 miles west of Mayville, ND, out on the gravel roads. I was lucky to find the place. And when I finally got there, although I was still fifteen minutes early, everybody was already in their pew.

Little Fork is a struggling country church--somebody said they average 12 attendees per Sunday. They are trying to keep going, although the lady who introduced the program said, "We don't know how long we can keep on."

Here is Lyle of Ada, formerly a member and organist at Little Fork, dressed in traditional Norwegian garb. Lyle pointed out that his costume is not consistent. It contains pieces from three different regions of Norway. In addition, it is made of heavy wool, "designed for ten below," as he put it. It was more like eighty-eight above in the sanctuary.

This 93-year-old lady sang the table grace in Norwegian. She waved off the microphone, and when the pianist hit the first note she barked, "I can't sing it that high!" So, the pianist gave her a lower key and she sang it acappella. Note the woman in the lower left corner in her bonnet.

Outside in the graveyard were some of the biggest stones I have ever seen, all with the name "Enger" printed on them. The Engers must have been in some sort of contest. Here is the mother of all the Enger gravestones, reportedly the largest stone in the state. It required a team of ten horses to bring it from the rail station in 1910. It was carved on the east coast.