Holiday letters forge friendships [UPDATED]Published 7:04am Monday, December 24, 2012 Updated 9:09am Monday, December 24, 2012
Many of us who saw high school and college friends, almost on a daily basis, now connect only once each year with some of those friends. The saving grace is the annual Christmas card and/or letter.
This is especially true when hundreds and even thousands of miles separate friendships that were formed many years ago.
One Christmas card and letter I look forward to receiving each year comes from Herman native Bob Forsberg. He’s a Lutheran minister who serves a parish in Fairborn, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton.
We first met in the fall of 1968, when both of us were students at Moorhead State College, now referred to as Minnesota State University, Moorhead.
I resided on the second floor of Ballard Hall West, and Bob lived on the third floor of the same dormitory wing in the heart of the campus.
We enjoyed campus life with many friends.
Ballard Hall was and still is situated near the student union and center for the arts. Back then it was fun to take some time from studying to throw a Frisbee to one another in the fall and spring, and to attend basketball games at Nemzek Fieldhouse during the winter months. A member of the team and a very good athlete was Underwood native Bricker Johnsen.
Bob was a psychology major who later studied at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul. I majored in mass communications and started my career at the Fargo Forum. We both feel blessed to have stayed in touch over a span of 44 years.
We’ve shared the joys of family life and, on occasion, have seen each other but not very often. We’ve mostly relied on Christmas cards and letters to keep the friendship going.
This year Bob and his wife, Sandy, shared the joy of being grandparents for the first time.
“I’m enjoying ministry more than ever,” wrote Bob in his Christmas letter. “I’m not really thinking much about retiring. Besides the ministry, I write a weekly devotion for the congregation and three area newspapers. I really enjoy that.”
Over the years I’ve told Bob that I’ll never forget the times when he graciously took me and others to movies and other places in Moorhead in his trusty Volkswagen that always started, even in 20-below zero weather.
In the late 1960s, these vehicles were known as Beetles and had great reputations for reliability and sturdiness.
Had it not been for the exchange of Christmas cards and letters, I doubt that our friendship would have endured.
Another precious Christmas card and letter I received this year came from Sister Adela Gross, our eighth-grade nun at Our Lady of Victory School who attended a 50th reunion this fall during the parish’s ice cream social and talent show. In 1962, she was known as Sister Mary Peter.
“There is so much for which to be grateful,” she wrote. “I have a supportive and caring community (Little Falls), wonderful family members and friends and the ongoing relationships with those who I have ministered.”
In closing, Sister Adela shared some words of comfort from author Angela Patri.
“In one sense there is no death. The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond his/her departure. You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you, talking to you in the things he/she touched, worked with and loved. He/she lives on in your life and in the lives of all others who knew him/her.”