“Honey, Please Take Me to the Meatball Dinner at the Church…”

Where can you go to get a good meatball these days? Mother Goose searched high and low for the perfect meatball dinner, and finally found it. Just thirty-six miles northwest of Bemidji, Minnesota near the village of Debs, we just happened to run into this quaint sign by the side of the country road:

Well, heck yeah, we followed the arrow!

And the arrow led us right up to the Trinity Lutheran Church where they were in the midst of their 31st Annual Meatball Dinner. Imagine our great delight to just run across this sweet little church in the middle of the northern Minnesota woods.

The steeple is brand new at Trinity Lutheran Church — the meatball recipe is old, tried and true.

Oh Mother Goose is just kidding, again. We knew when we left home that we’d eventually end up here at the meatball dinner. It was part of our grand scheme to surprise as many family members as possible. We walked surreptitiously up to the church looking for Dad.

He looked right at me; he looked right through me; he looked somewhere else. We were absolutely the last people on the planet that he expected to see at his church that day.

Finally, Mother Goose got right in his face and said “Hi, Dad!” (What else could I possibly say?) Then he realized that his daughters, his son and all their families were actually right there in front of him. Unlike my sister at her emotional surprise event, he kept his composure. Nate is known far and wide for his stoical nature. Ever nonplussed, his reaction was a simple, “Well, hi there. What are you doing here?”

Here’s the father of Mother Goose posing with three of his grand-goose-children. [He’s the one with the great hair…]

Dad took a break from his job as parking lot attendant. Earlier in the morning, he helped to peel three hundred pounds of potatoes.

It’s a wonderful community event, attracting meatball lovers from all around the region — Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike enjoy meatballs and gravy on mashed taters with a plethora of salad and veggie side dishes including beets…

And then a sweet young lady came around to the tables with her dessert tray laden with strawberry shortcake, apple pie slices, rhubarb upside-down cake and various cookies and bars. Believe it or not, Mother Goose does not have one picture of the food. She was too busy stuffing it into her mouth.

Here’s a candid picture of Brother Goose and Loon Goose enjoying their meatball dinner with side dishes. By the way, they drove two and one-half hours on their Harley-Davidson motorcycle to get to this amazingly delicious church dinner. Along the way, Loon peeked over Dana’s shoulder to look at the truck in front of them and promptly received a stone smashing into her nose and mouth. That just shows you what my family will go through to have a good time together…

Even bikers were allowed at the Meatball Dinner. Even bikers with stone-smashed noses and puffy lips…

And there was even live music! Mother Goose surely does not know the name of this country bluegrass band, but her rubbery and webbed foot was tapping. I thought somebody might ask me to dance, but then I realized they were mostly playing sad old country funeral songs…

Will The Circle Be Unbroken, In the Sweet By and By, Amazing Grace and I’ll Fly Away…

At long last, with our gullets full and the parking responsibilities passed along to another fine young Lutheran man, we could all pose together for a family portrait. Here’s a handsome picture of a pretty large flock of gooses (my husband goose and some of my goslings are missing, of course, as they had to hike in Wisconsin, work at vegan restaurants and/or serve our country in the U.S. Navy):

Even the little hero dog was there for the Trinity Lutheran Church Meatball Dinner!

After the dinner and the family photo session, we all went back to Dad’s house for some visiting time and a garden tour. It was a very special and happy time. But as we drove back to Keewatin that evening, we had some very surprising photo ops! You’ll laugh like a crazy loon tomorrow when this northern Minnesota adventure story continues…

Love, Mother Goose

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Three Well Beings
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 01:44:53

    I had to chuckle at your dad’s stoic response to seeing his family right in front of him. That would be my dad, too, I’m sure! But I’ll bet he was really pleased and must have enjoyed showing you all off to his church friends! Delightful!

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Aug 13, 2012 @ 15:00:39

      Debra, he doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but he’s got a precious heart. I was able to say “hi” to a couple of old, and I mean really old, like they are in their 90’s, women who were friends with my mom and my grandma. That was worth the price of 100 meatball dinners!

      Reply

  2. Dianna
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 06:19:34

    Aw, what a special time. It sounds like so much fun. Glad so many of your family goosemembers could be there!

    Reply

  3. yearstricken
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 11:52:13

    Sounds like a very fun time.

    Reply

  4. jeff noel
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 05:20:09

    Your Dad is blessed beyond measure. And so are his children.

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Aug 13, 2012 @ 15:03:57

      You know, Jeff, I think that Dad is finally getting that message. He lives alone, 36 miles from any town; Mom’s been gone for almost five years now. I think he’s really getting to appreciate us kids and our visits. Of course, we all think he’s such a character — but a blessing nonetheless…

      Reply

  5. Eric Winger
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 17:49:23

    Most excellent, and most fun! Glad the mosquitoes didn’t carry you away in the north woods.

    Eric

    Reply

  6. Natalie
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 15:05:19

    Eric, it was certainly all good — NO mosquiters because of the extreme dry summer they’ve had up there. AND we missed the deer flies by about a week. I hate deer flies…

    Reply

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