POEM – “Our Quilter’s Hands”

Today I step aside from my usual writings to share a poem I created (with tears in my eyes) on the day our beloved mother, Clarice Arlone Sletten Noorlun, left this earth for the loving Shores of Heaven.   That day was June 23rd, 2017.  She enjoyed a wonderful 98 years and 3 months here on earth.  Oh sure, she experienced the natural bodily limitations of nearly a century of living, but this precious lady was the most thankful soul I’ve ever known!  I recall her saying on many occasions, “There’s always SOMETHING to be thankful for!!”  Amen!!, Mom.    Mom LOVED to quilt!  It was her creative way of giving to, not only her immediate family, but also to homeless shelters, little babies at her church, etc..


Elliott came home for his mother’s birthday every year on March 30th.

Our Quilter’s hands are silent now, Life’s tapestry complete.

The embroidery of her 98 years, Now lain at Jesus’ feet.

Her quilting frame lays silent, too, Just like her earthly frame,

No longer to hold, Its creators quilts, Signed with Clarice’s name.

Even with fingers going numb, Clarice loved to get a quilt going on its frame.

Like a quilt, Life happened “one stitch at a time”, Each “color of thread” just right.

And like a quilt, She made us warm, As we’d bid each other “Good Night!”.

I’m sure that during her adventure of life, A “stitch” maybe came undone,

But with the Lord’s power, She’d “stitch up” life,  Her praise always went to God’s Son.

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Clarice in 1919.  Such a cutie she was!

The “frame” of her life, Began for Mom, On a snow-bound day in ’19.

The doctor came by horseback, Across that blizzard scene.

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Clarice on the lap of her beloved mother, Amanda.

The “batting” to make Mom’s “life quilt” warm, Came from her mother so dear.

Amanda’s love, For little Clarice, Was a weld that held them near.

Though times were hard, And sometimes sad, Our mother rose above,

She strove for all, That’s fair and kind, For within beat the heart of a dove.

Clarice & Russell’s Wedding Day  June 21st, 1941

Clarice’s “life quilt”, Grew “block” by “block”, With her marriage to our dad,

And the “blocks” of four children, Graced their life, Two girls, a son and this lad.

That mother of ours, Had such a heart, For others she chose to live,

Therefore her quilts, Became a source, Of love for her to give.

Family, friends, Young mothers in need, Even homeless received her creation,

To know a soul, Would sleep warm that night, Gave our mother such sweet elation!

Though tears fill my eyes, Such joy fills my soul,

To have known and been loved by our mother,

Heaven knows this boy, Received the joy, Of her love that equaled no other!!!

Clarice carried yellow roses on her wedding day in June of 1941.  To honor her memory and their cherished father, Elliott brought a dozen yellow roses when he tended and dressed up their grave located in Vancouver, Washington.



Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 3rd


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No need yelling…Elliott was wide awake already 😉

My parents should have told the family rooster to take the day off on my first day of Kindergarten.  His robust, “COCK A DOODLE DOOOOOO!!!”, was totally unnecessary.   Geeee twilligers, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before Mr. Rowdy Rooster even peeked his eyes up over the edge of his nest in our chicken house.   I was beside myself with the excitement of stepping up from babyhood into the big kids world of school buses, playgrounds, color crayons and pencils the size of tree trunks!  No longer would I be relegated to just standing in the doorway of our house to gaze at our elder siblings rocketing out the front door for Marie Meyer’s bus each morning.  Now, I would join them in their adventure within the hallowed halls of…….”education”.

#66=Elliott, Lyle N.&Rosie in '50 Ford pickup,April '60
Elliott (with eyes closed) and big sister, Rosemary, are hopping in the pickup so that Cousin Lyle Noorlun can drive them to school.

Even though it felt like Kindergarten lasted all year long (speaking of it in the positive vein, of course), our beloved mother, Clarice, shared in later years that my first exposure to public education was a mere six week endeavor in our small farming town of Kiester, Minnesota.  Class commenced in April of 1960 and joyfully lasted to the end of that school year.

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Elliott entered the blue door, center, and found his Kindergarten classmates in the basement.

If our mother’s chauffeur service wasn’t available for getting me to my Kindergarten class on a certain day, then our Cousin Lyle Noorlun gave myself (and elder sister, Rosie) a ride in our black, 1950 Ford pickup.  Either way of transportation was fine with me, cause I was beyond excited to get to be part of the “older crowd” now!

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The word, “Kindergarten”, is from the German language and means…”a garden of children”.

The time had finally arrived.  I was growing up and entitled to now enter the world of my big brother, Lowell, big sister, Rosemary and our Cousin Lyle who had been living with us for over a year or so.

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Those Kindergarten pencils seemed to be the size of Elliott’s leg!! 😉


Between the experience of learning to hold those giant pencils, to our sweet, smiling teacher, Mrs. Wigern, I was ready, set to GO for learning!  Upon arriving at the school each day, my tiny scrubadubbed body was ushered to the southeast corner of this stately brick edifice of education that had been built back in around 1928.  With energy to spare, I bounded down those concrete stairs till I entered the super colorful “Kindergarten Clubhouse”…….well, at least to ME it felt like a clubhouse;  all cozy with tons of things to see and do.

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Elliott’s parents felt that an 8 pack of color crayons were enough for Kindergarten.

Accompanying me in learning the ABC’s, were my very own, brand new carton of Crayola Brand crayons.  Eight basic colors were just waiting for me to wear down those beautiful sharp tips as I colored every page Mrs. Wigern gave to us in our learning activities.  Inadvertently, I also learned something else in class…… indirectly.  That was my first taste of crayon envy as I saw some fellow students waltz into the classroom with a fat pack of 48 Crayons to use during THEIR school day!!!  And, my jealous drool salivated when an obvious “rich kid” hefted in, under his armpit, that massive, rectangular box of a whopping SIXTY FOUR pack of crayons that even had a crayon sharpener built into the back of the box.  Talk about Kindergarten Cravings!!! 😉

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RECESS!!  Whoopee!



Being that our classroom was located in the basement of the school, the windows were narrow and located high up on our walls.  The imprint upon my memory banks is of when I’d gaze out those windows during the older kid’s recess times.  About all I could see were kneecaps flying by housed in either dresses or blue jeans while those older students exuberantly made all the noise they could muster while enjoying the playground just outside our narrow, horizontal windows.

#1052 Kindergarten Teacher for El

Without a doubt, the real heroine of this tiny child saga was our beloved Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Henry Wigern.   I can still see that her greatest beauty was that she possessed, within her, a genuine loving heart and soul that she graciously shared with us little babes in her class each day.  When the graduating class of 1972 would look back to 1960, we truly were her “Garden Of Children”.  She was like a genteel “feminine farmer” who nurtured her “tiny plants” that each of our lives represented.   From her loving care, in those gentle days of the Spring of 1960, many young lives grew up to blossom where they were planted in life.  And, like a mature flower brings joy to all who gather in its beauty, the garden of children Mrs. Wigern cultivated, now bless uncountable others in the ripples of life’s stream.

#26.a=Candi & Elliott Noorlun(1959)
Little E. in the Big K.

As I reflect back over the many decades of life since Kindergarten, and why its indelible mark is made upon my psyche, I muse upon the concept that maybe I should have been a psychologist.  It has fascinated me, over the years, that I have an intense need to analyze every issue and event that I’ve encountered.  I guess I’m always looking for the deeper meaning in my life of the age old question……..why?  What is it in we human beings that chooses to embed some memories in our brain and let other moments in our history dissolve into the abyss of gray abandon within our brains.

I do know this, I shall always be grateful for God’s provision of loving parents, siblings and others who put me under the warmest care of Mrs. Henry Wigern who launched me into the educational flow for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 2nd


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Representatives of the Emperor of Japan, on board the USS Missouri Battleship in Tokyo Harbor, sign the formal document of surrender that brought peace again to the world

I can only imagine what it must’ve been like to have been alive back on September 2nd of 1945.   The exuberance must’ve been palpable to have witnessed the shear energy of elation that exuded from every freedom-loving man, woman and child in the world after the carnage of World War II finally came to an end!!!  There, in Japan’s Tokyo Harbor, sat the mighty USS Missouri Battleship.  Overhead, seemingly unending masses of American fighter planes and bombers flew in celebratory formations past the battleship as the delegates of the Japanese Empire put their signatures to the surrender document that once again brought peace to our world.

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For Uncle Sam & Country!


In today’s sharing, I want to let my young readers (and other friends that tag along here) to know of men from both sides of our Noorlun/Sletten families that served in that great conflagration.  The young men, of our respective clans, were part of the mighty force of 16 million men and women who, collectively, conquered the evil alliances that sought to domineer and dictate the world in ways that were the antithesis of all we believe in as Americans.  And, how very grateful to God we are that all of our family soldiers came home safely.  Not so, for other families, though.  Over 407,000 American men and women died in World War II, paying the ultimate price for the freedoms that we still all enjoy to this very day.

#261=Clarice Noorlun & siblings; circa 1943
Left to right: Uncle Robert (Bob) Sletten (US Army Tank Corps – Europe), Elliott’s mother, Clarice.  Clarice’s sister, Beverly Sletten Smith.  Uncle Delmaine (Del) Sletten (US Army Infantry – Italy).  This photo is from the year 1943 and Del had just finished Boot Camp training.

Our mother, Clarice Arlone Sletten Noorlun, saw both of her brothers serving in the Army during that giant, global conflict.  To my recollection, her brother, Bob, served in the Tank Corps in France and other areas of Europe during the war.  He even brought home an accordion that he found in a bombed out house in France.  He learned to play it and serenaded us at family picnics with his war souvenir.  Mom’s other brother, Del, served in the Army Infantry in the country of Italy and took part in the arduous mountain fighting against their very tenacious German enemies.   His regiment received the Presidential Citation Award for their gallant and valiant actions against the Germans.  In her reflections of the war, I remember my mother sharing with me…….“We (she and our father, Russell) were living on a farm called, “Cocklebur Hill”, just south of Vinje, Iowa.  When we got the news that the war was over, all I could think of was….NOW, Del and Bob can come home!”

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Elliott’s Uncle Doren E. Noorlun.  US Army –  Rank of Sargent

My father, Russell, saw two of his own brothers enter the US Army and served Uncle Sam as they left Minnesota for parts across the world from where they grew up.   If I remember, My Uncle Doren E. Noorlun served as a motorcycle messenger which was vital in getting documents and orders to the front lines of battle so that high-ranking officers could then make proper judgement calls for troops to move accordingly towards victory.  When I learned of Doren’s motorcycle-related duty during the War, it made so much sense to me, for he handled a Harley Davidson motorcycle like a professional.  Especially the time when he took tiny me for a ride that I loved so much!  I can still smell the leather saddlebags and hear the “scrunching” leather sound as we climbed on and off that handsome Harley of his.

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Elliott’s Uncle Erwin Noorlun.  US Army – Paratrooper.

My dad’s other brother, Erwin, chose a specialized path of adventure while in the US Army.   He joined the Paratroopers.  These were young men who went through very rigorous training AND, learned how to jump out of C47 aircraft (DC3 in civilian life) with parachutes on.  In order to earn your “Wings”, you had to gather the courage to make not just one, but FIVE different parachute jumps from out of that aircraft and land successfully.

#901 Russ Noorlun n siblings w G. Edwin. 1945 Clearwater, MN
Everyone celebrates the two Noorlun boys (Doren & Erwin) who came home safely from the war.

Even though my Grandfather, Edwin A. Noorlun, (far left in photo above) was a very quiet man, he STILL must’ve been beside himself with joy as his two sons came home safe and sound from their experiences while in the Army.   To have peace again in the world, after millions experienced such unimaginable death and destruction between 1941 and 1945……well…..such a celebration there must have been.  Forever shall there be a grateful heart for them all inside this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…September 1st


#918 Russell Noorlun Summer 1919
Elliott’s daddy, Russell, when he was about 1 year old in 1919 while getting a tub bath outdoors on their farm in northern Minnesota near the town of Mahnomen.

POEM – “Norwegian Birthday Boy”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

September 1st, 1918, The day of our father’s birth,

A third-born child, Of the northern wild, There on Minnesota’s earth.

#902 Russell Noorlun and family. Early 1930's
Elliott’s daddy, Russell, is front row in the white shirt.  Photo from the mid 1930’s.

He was one of eight, Five boys n three girls, It must’ve been a riot,

As families that size, Were known to be, Anything but quiet.

Elliott’s daddy is in dark cap, second from right.  Early 1930’s while playing at his school.

Born on or near, The Chippewa Tribe, Dad had many Indian friends,

As rowdy boys, With similar joys, Their laughter could bring on the bends!

As Daddy grew, Hard times he knew, So he launched out on life quite early,

Schooled up to 8th Grade, It was farm work that paid, As he proved his worth so surely.

Russell on the right, with new buddies in Iowa.

Hired farm work, Brought him south, To the northern Iowa line,

He worked for food, A place to sleep, And dollars in the pocket were fine.

#739 Dad n sister Doris 1945
Russell, and sister Doris (on right) were a bit tipsy (from too much alcohol) as they celebrated the ending of World War II in 1945.

As World War II, Came to a close, It was time to celebrate.

Brothers were home, No more to roam, So they partied rather late.

I’m told that Dad got “tipsy”, From partying with his sister,

But HEY, Why not?!, T’was a happy lot, That partied with our Mister.

Elliott’s handsome father, Russell, in the early 1960’s.

Father was born of a generation, That held a lot inside.

Maybe from quiet Norwegian parents?, Or preserving one’s own pride?

So many questions, I have for Dad, That long to be explored.

A silence dwells, For all the times, I had hoped to find a cord.

Therefore, in MY life, Whilst in victory or strife, I choose to share my story,

His answers I’ll find, As we both unwind, Someday in Heaven’s Glory.

So September 1st, Will always be, A time to stoke the embers,

Of memories gold, And his laughter bold, As this Norwegian Son remembers.

100th Birthday Card Printable 100th Birthday Chalkboard Poster Sign 100 Years Ago Back In 1918
Some interesting facts about the year Elliott’s father was born into the world.


Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 31st


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Clem got clobbered, dat’s fer shure!!   Hehehe 😉

Ohhhh, do you mean those cruddy, crass, crustation-covered crap castles?  Sure, we had one of those when we lived on our farm northwest of Kiester, Minnesota.  That domain of “doo-doo” looked like a tiny house and was located in the woods that made up our “windbreak” that surrounded our main home and buildings.  In case my young readers may be wondering how this little house came into being……..basically, a farmer would dig a deep hole in the ground and then would build a small house over the hole with one or two open-holed seats inside to sit down upon.  A roll of toilet paper (or old Sears catalogs) was then hung inside and you could swing the door shut for privacy and see about getting rid of the human waste that we all produced in daily life.

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Outdoor “Out House”.




Since this miniature, architectural creation resembled a house, and, since it was located outdoors in our woods, it was called the “Out House”.   On a summer’s day, if you ventured too close, you could hear someone “breaking wind” (farting) in the windbreak where the Out House was located.  Get it?  Breaking wind? ….in the windbreak?  Oh well……just a pun of a son, I guess 😉

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The “two beady eyes” didn’t want to bare all to the bears!! 😉

In my very early years of life, there on our farm, our parents had not yet installed a “plumbed-in” flushing toilet inside our bathroom.  Therefore, a person either had to use a “chamber pot” (bucket with a seat on top) or, make a trek outside to the “privvy” in the woods.  I seem to recall that our Out House was a two-seater, but I can’t imagine wanting to have someone “baring their all” and sitting right next to you in such a private moment…..YIKES!!

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Mr. PeeeYooo!!!

Of course, for those of us “ancient kids” that had the human need to use such a structure as an Out House, we all knew that the “perfume” of what was down below, in the pit of the Out House, was of a negative, odoriferous organic pungency that was just a part of life, then, that all humans had to deal with.  But face it, folks, when you have the urge to purge, “any port in a storm is good for refuge and relief” (to coin an old sailor’s adage).  So, if your internal intestinal “storm” was urgent enough, you gladly headed for the putrid, peeeyoooo potty parlor!! 😉

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Elliott was scared of all the sounds outside the Out House.

Nighttime was the worst time for me to have to go out and use the Out House.  But, since “nature” was calling rather urgently one summer’s evening, I had no choice but to go out there so I could “go”.  I gingerly crept out out towards the Pooper Palace and was in the “process” ( of taking care of human needs) when sounds in the night overcame my super-hyper imagination.  Low hanging branches began to scrape the siding of the structure as the wind brought them “alive” with movement.  Owls were hooting in the darkness of the trees and Mourning Doves sang their sad tunes.  All of those incoming noises fired my already vivid imagination to the point that I thought the “Boogy Man” would grab me in the dark as I stepped out the door after “finishing my business”.   With my heart beating rapidly, after my “paper work” was done, I hooked up my bib overalls in record time.  Bursting out the door of the “privvy”, my bare toes dug in for traction as chunks of dirt and clover shot up behind me.  I ran like a rocket across the yard and back to the welcoming light of a single bulb fixture at the back door of our home and safety once again.

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Creative guy! 😉

Growing up, when we did, made for some funny, flatulent farm boy times for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 30th


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Elliott wanted and needed to speak the truth to his father.

POEM – “No Taller Than Truth”  by N. Elliott Noorlun

No man can stand, Any taller than truth, My father and God taught me well.

And when it came, To confessing sin, I knew what I should tell.

In my young days, With the wayward ways, That a child will tend to go,

My father shared, As his soul he bared, That this is what I should know.

#172.1=Russell Noorlun circa 1949
Elliott’s father, Russell.

“Son, I HATE a liar!, You can never trust that man”,

“With “stories” galore, He’s like the seashore, With shifting, faltering sand”.

“If you speak the truth, I’ll always show, The benefit of the doubt,”

“But lie to me, And you will see, The thunder of my shout!!!!”

Teenager Elliott had done something VERY wrong!!

So there came a day, In my teenage way, That I was guilty of major sin.

It tore at my heart, From the very start, Oh where would I begin?

To tell the truth?, Or fabricate?, A story that I had made?

Was I to lie?, To try to get by?, From foundations of truth that were laid?

The “jig” was up, For this teen pup, When confronted by my dad,

He was seething with anger, Till he shook, By the doings of his lad.

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Elliott knew what God would want him to do. ><>

From my Christian upbringings, I knew what was right, In the eyes of God and my father.

So I spoke the truth, In hopes I’d grow, Much closer to Dad, Not farther.

The moment was tense, As I bared my soul, E’en though his words were terse,

But Dad honored me, For choosing right, And from my father, There was no curse.

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Elliott’s father was very weak and dying from Pancreatic Cancer when he held him.

As my dad’s life, Drew to an end, From cancer raging within,

I was at peace, That truth had been, My choice in time of sin.

I held his frail body, In my arms, As I said, “I love you, Dad!”,

He said, “I love you, too, my son!”, That really made me glad!!

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So true! 😉  ><>

To know that I stood, As tall as truth, Though easy it was not,

As far as the east is, From the west, Those sins our God forgot!!

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Norwegian Farmer’s Son…August 29th


#18=Elliott(with Dad, June '56)
Elliott at the age when he saw the baby chicks.



Did you ever notice how the titles of Dad and God both have three letters in their spelling?  As a tiny lad, there on our family farm in southern Minnesota, I worshiped the ground my daddy walked on.  My miniature self wanted to walk like him, talk like him and act like him.  Our daddy was strong, wise and the handsomest dad this side of anywhere.  I longed to spend every minute of every day with him whenever the opportunities arose.  Even just to stand by his side, or ride next to him on the bench seat of our 1950 Ford pickup truck was a treat that couldn’t be beat for this lil farmer boy.

#966 Genevieve and Wally Mutschler..our 3rd grandparents
These sweethearts were Elliott’s “other grandparents” and were loved dearly by his entire family!!

“Green Gables” was the elegant acreage of the farm to the north of our place that housed our most beloved neighbors, Wally and Genevieve Mutschler.  These precious souls, and their wonderful family, were like another set of loving grandparents for we Noorlun kids and also played the parts of another “dad and mom” for our own parents.   Matter of fact, it was through the blessed benevolence of Wally and Genevieve’s generous hearts that our parents could actually make a start of farming from animals that were shared to them from the Mutschlers.

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Ohhh boy!!! Time with Dad! 😉



In my tiny life, there came a day when Dad asked if I’d like to ride along with him to the Mutschler farm.  I was ecstatic with happiness and ready to roll!  As the gravel dust billowed behind our pickup truck, Dad shifted down to a lower gear as we made a left banking turn into the farmyard of our dear neighbors.  True to the farm’s name, there were handsome green gables on the house, barn and outbuildings.  Sweet old Wally, replete in his bib overalls, met us at our truck as he and Dad exchanged pleasantries while we made our way into their beautiful, two-story home.  The Mutschler home, to me, was like a castle and I relished every minute inside their stylish kitchen while my father enjoyed a cup of coffee and some visiting with these fellow farmers.

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The word “brood” refers to a gathering of young chickens.  Therefore the name of this type of structure is called a “Brooder House”.

During the visit with Wally and Genevieve, Dad had heard that the Mutschlers had been blessed with a giant batch of baby chicks in their Brooder House, so, at the end of the visit, Dad and I headed that way for a look.  It was a sweet moment because it was just Dad and I that took a gentle walk through the green, dappling shade of the treed windbreak until we came to that Brooder House of baby chickens.  Always in the shadow of my daddy’s legs, I stopped when he stopped by the doorway of this little building.  I remember him squatting down to my minuscule height so he could impress upon me what he was about to say.  “Son, I’m going to allow you to come inside this Brooder House with me and see something VERY special!  There are hundreds of beautiful baby chicks inside here.  In order to see them, though, you have to promise me that you will be silent and move very slowly in silence.  The reason for being quiet is this…..if those tiny chicks get spooked (scared), they’ll be frightened and will run away from us into a corner of the room.  Sadly, in that corner, they would pile up on top of each other and cause those chicks on the bottom of the pile to be trampled and smothered to death.”

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Elliott was enthralled by the hundreds of fluffy joy that surrounded him in this quietness.

Deeply impressed with what my father just shared, he ever so quietly opened the door of this little chicken house and the two of us floated inside on gossamer wings.  The only light, in that dark quietness, was from heat lamps that cast a golden glow upon a literal moving carpet of fluffy baby chickens.  Their tiny peeping voices were like music to my farmer boy ears!  True to my daddy’s instructions, I hardly moved a muscle as this precious “carpet of golden life” moved with an innocent marvel around our lower human appendages.  It was as if we were standing on a farmer’s version of “holy ground”.

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Peeping cuteness in abundance.

Life was a triple treat for me that day!!  Why?  Well, for #1…I had been obedient to my father’s instructions and had garnered his smile and appreciation for being his “big boy”.  Then, #2…I had the joy of visiting my “other grandparents” at Green Gables Farm.  And, #3…I had witnessed a moving carpet of golden softness in the form and beauty of God’s creation in those darling little baby chicks.   What a GREAT day it was to be a Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉

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Elliott’s heart will always be in love with farming.  😉