Spur of the moment Vikings

It’s a strange sensation. I have no homework to do tonight. I submitted my final paper for this semester today, and now I’m done with all that. If I keep a “sufficient to the day” attitude, I have nothing to worry about until my first summer class starts, which happens to be before the end of the month.

But. Today I’m free. I’m 2/3 done with my graduate classes, and I can do anything I want this evening. I can loaf. Or I can tell you about my weekend.

In my youth (you’ll probably be surprised to learn) I had a reputation as a guy who had no problem dropping everything and driving off to a distant town with friends, on a moment’s notice. Saturday was like that, sort of. I think it was Thursday I got a call from Ragnar, who said that we had a Viking gig nobody had planned on, scheduled for Saturday. The hosts thought they’d confirmed with us, and they were planning on us, and had advertised us. We didn’t know about it.

I said sure, I’d go. Rather to my own surprise, I’d worked far enough ahead on my final class work that I was kind of coasting through the last couple weeks. I could take Saturday off without repercussions.

So Saturday morning I rose early, loaded Miss Ingebretsen, my PT Cruiser, with almost my full Viking load, and set out for Litchfield, Minnesota.

Litchfield is located in the west central part of the state, near Hutchinson. The local Sons of Norway lodge, in association with the congregation of historic Ness Church, Acton Township, were holding a Scandinavian festival.

Ness Church was (I was informed) the first church established by Rev. B. J. Muus (about whom I wrote here), back in the 1850s. It is also notable for being the grave site of the first victims of the Dakota War of 1862 (which we used to call the Sioux Uprising). The history books now call it the Battle of Acton Township, though it was just a matter of some Native Americans stealing eggs, being challenged by the farmer, and then murdering him and some friends and neighbors.

I’m not sure why the victims, who all have British names, were buried at the Lutheran church, but there they lie, in a common grave (you can see the monument in the background of the photo). Legend says that you can sometimes see strange lights in the church windows at night, and that if you drive your car into the graveyard there after dark, sometimes a little girl will come and sit on your car. You then have to wait for her to leave of her own volition, or she’ll go with you and haunt you.

Anyway, it was a nice celebration, the weather was beautiful (though a little chilly), and I sold books as I seldom have before. I’ve rarely had the feeling that people were throwing money at me, but that’s what it felt like that day.

I also sold a book to a young man who declared himself a C. S. Lewis fan. Excellent.

To top it all off, Miss Ingebretsen got 30 mpg on the trip, which is theoretically beyond her capabilities.

Even I can’t complain about a day like that.

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