Thanksgiving at Sondreson Hall

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Thanksgiving dinner at Sondreson Hall is the biggest North Fork event of the year and is filled with tradition. For many, Many years, Steve Berg and his wife were the hosts. They bought the turkeys and hams, organized the cooks, decorated the Hall and made sure the parking lot was plowed, that the generator worked and the hall was warm.

Then they shut down the hall, hauled water, washed dishes, put the tables and chairs away and mopped the floors. Of course, they had many helpers, but even so, the dinner takes days and weeks to plan, execute and then clean up.

No one really kept a record of how many years the Bergs ram-rodded this major event. One North Forker estimated 30 years. They did it for so long they became a tradition themselves. After 2018, they decided they needed a well-deserved break and the search began for new hosts.

Dick and Janet Leigh stepped up and did a magnificent job, though I suspect Janet was the main push. Thanks to them, it was another terrific meal. I counted 99 folks eating and I am assuming there was at least one person in the outhouse, smoking on the porch or at their vehicle, so we can say 100 people enjoyed the feast.

Of course, there was plenty of turkey, ham and mashed potatoes. Also a ton of dressing, including the famous oyster dressing from Irene Brooks. Also, the traditional gallons of Joe Novak’s gravy, Trish Walshe’s deviled eggs, Becky Brauning’s stuffed peppers and so many side dishes and deserts that there were leftovers for distribution, including some of Janet Leigh’s cranberries.

Of course, Ed Nedema was there with packets of popcorn that he brings back from his visits to family in Arkansas. He has dozens of packets of Ziplock bags filled with corn, each labeled “Merry Christmas.” I look forward to the corn every year, bring it home and stash it in the freezer and ration it for special events during the winter – like Griz games and the Super Bowl.

This year I was blessed personally with home made cookies and divinity from lady friends, but my efforts to ration myself have already failed and both cookies and candy disappeared by Saturday.

Although I did buy a deer tag and an elk tag, I never took my rifle out of the house. From what I have heard, it was at least a normal hunting season.

Neighbors Ogle, Novak and Meeker harvested deer. I saw at least four bull elk and two moose that were harvested, but I did not see a checking station this year. I guess Fish, Wildlife and Parks – also known as Fur, Fins and Feathers – will rely on anecdotal stories to manage the game in 2020.

I did see more game wardens than usual and that is good. Now if we could get regular traffic law enforcement and an outhouse at Sondreson Meadow.

What do you think?

Larry Wilson’s North Fork Views appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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