Good Old-Fashioned Norwegian Lutheran Funeral

Ole died so Lena called the newspaper to put the obituary in.
Newspaper guy, “OK Lena, how would you like the obituary to read?”
Lena: “Ole died.”
Newspaper guy, “Ole died? That’s it? You’ve been married for 35 years and that’s all you have to say about him? Wouldn’t you like a little more information published?”
Lena: “Nope, Ole died”
Newspaper guy, “Lena, if cost is a consideration, you should know that the first five words are free.”
Momentary silence.
Lena: “Ole died. Boat for sale.”

Yesterday was Jo’s funeral. Redeemer Lutheran in Fridley was packed. A niece that was very close to her did a reading. She started to choke up early, and that’s all I needed. I was bawling like a baby. I’m a sentimental old fart. The pastor who gave the sermon was a young intern who had spent the last seven months visiting Jo her as health deteriorated. It was pretty obvious that she had captured him in her web of love and charm. He was having trouble keeping it together. He did tell an Ole and Lena Joke though. She was known as the Queen of the Ole and Lena jokes. My nephew Scott read the eulogy written by his wife Jill (Jo’s daughter) who knew she couldn’t get through it herself. Jill’s a writer by profession and the touch of her creative hand was evident through the service. It was a beautiful tribute, expressing sadness, loss, remembrance, humor and the joy of faith.
The day had an extra dose of pathos to it. An eleven year old girl blessed us with a solo performance of Amazing Grace. This kid will be famous some day. She is a fearless performer, a ham’s ham, always ready to do her latest bit at family gatherings. What I didn’t know about her was that she has a genuine country twang. In other words, she can sing two notes at once! I thought only Tibetan monks could do that. Some of you may not care for that twangy music, but to me it’s beautiful when done right. (Soundtrack of Brother Where Art Though) And she did it right.
Now for the pathos. Her grandfather had died the night before. Her parents didn’t tell her until after the performance for fear she couldn’t do it. It was a touching scene after the service when her dad had to break the news to her. Jill and little Sarah crying in each other’s arms.
God bless Jo Palmquist and all the Palmquist family.

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