Since completing a first draft some -two and a half- seven weeks ago, I have been struggling with the subject of this Christmas winter letter.
Last year, I wrote about the impression that travel and traveling partners had made upon me over the course of the preceding twelve months. I suppose I should have followed in that same vein with a sequel that was equally carefully written and reasoned.
Alas, my thoughts are not spilling from my head onto the page as I would like. So, for the lack of anything more profound, I give you:
Bjorn Arneson’s Brief Inventory of Particularly Memorable Personal Events
1-5. Still reveling in December 30 team victory at Leaning Tower of Pizza Trivia Night. Not father’s trivia.
- Attended dance at Luther Seminary at invitation of friends Bov and Chris. For future reference, “So, how about that Habakkuk?” not a good pick-up line.
- Renowned choral director Weston Noble calls me “Butch” at National Lutheran Choir workshop. Should have printed more clearly on nametag.
- Survived Ides of March without major incident.
- Dinner with friends at Rainbow on Nicollet Avenue. I recommend the soup du jour. Outstanding.
- Another year older.
- Took first golf lesson since 1996. Good times. Now in mood for more competitive play. 7-10. Visited brother Hans and sister-in-law Angela in Durham, North Carolina. Witnessed Hans’ hooding ceremony for Master’s degree. Turns out he was telling the truth about the whole “being busy with school” thing.
- Moved most of belongings from apartment to storage unit.
- Packed rest of stuff into back seat of car for remainder of summer.
4-6. Spent weekend in fresh air of Bemidji, Minnesota to sing at wedding of aforementioned Bov and Chris.
- Moved to Decorah, Iowa for 2004 session of Lutheran Summer Music. 11-13. Traveled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to sing and participate in wedding of Eric and Erika. Driving across Iowa Highway 9, experienced moment of clarity about gi-normity of earth. Really.
- Admired Grant Wood-esque Northeast Iowa landscape on way to view Independence day fireworks. Tried to temporarily tune out 175 hormonal teenage music geeks who accompanied me.
- Last day of full-time work at Lutheran Summer Music. Hope to remain involved in some way.
- Sang at ordination service of my friend Dan. He’ll make a great pastor.
- Moved belongings from storage unit to new place at Belmont Apartments: only the most luxurious old-timey-hotel-turned-rent-controlled apartment in Minneapolis. Slightly skewed corners and uneven floor give a “lived-in” feel.
- First day at new job. Very pleased to serve as General Manager of National Lutheran Choir. If not so modest, would encourage readers to visit www.nlca.com for more information.
- Played piano and sang at Logan and Denise’s wedding in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Took advantage of reception’s proximity to Prairie Green Golf Course in hitting a few range balls with usher and groomsman. 19-22. Last wedding of year. Traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with friends to sing in wedding of Zeb and Amanda. In addition to beautiful ceremony, had lot of fun exploring PittsburghÕs natural wonders and Andy Warhol museum. 23-25. Annual extended family pilgrimmage to cabins on North Shore of Lake Superior. Took shoes off upon arrival. Reapplied them upon departure.
- Played in open Scrabble tournament at Galleria Barnes and Noble. Discovered I’m not as good as I thought.
- Enjoyed dinner cruise on Saint Croix River with friends from National Lutheran Choir. Beautiful scenery and perfect weather soothed memory of previous day’s butt-whooping.
- Attended my first-ever “house concert.” Highly recommended. 8-10. Enjoyed Augustana homecoming celebration in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sister Ingrid wore many hats in planning, preparation and execution of event.
4-7. National Lutheran Choir tour to Nebraska and South Dakota. Amazing how choir tours never change, regardless of singers’ age. Still very geeky.
4-5. Road trip with Grandpa and Grandma to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sister Ingrid’s last go around with Augustana College Vespers.
- National Lutheran Choir party to remember. For future reference, key to good party of any sort: diversity of attendees in age, profession, gender, status, class, etc. Can’t wait until next year’s.
- Played volleyball with friend Dan and others. First exercise in weeks months.
- Hurt to laugh. 18-20. Celebrated Christmas with Arneson family in Cottonwood, Minnesota. Homemade gifts talk of town.
- On whim, took inventory of refrigerator. Water, cream cheese, orange juice (half gallon), yogurt (two cups), fresh pasta, ketchup, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salsa, bloody mary mix, marinara sauce. Even Emeril might have hard time with that. Bam. 24-26. More Christmas celebrations. Best time of year.
- Began work on first short film. Smell Oscar. Watch www.choirgeek.com/blog for news of release.
- Embarked on old-fashioned country road-trip to Sisseton, South Dakota for holiday weekend with sister Ingrid and friends Paul and Sarah. Began reading one of best books in recent memory, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, by Wendell Berry. Wish everyone could read it. Hint, hint.
That’s it folks. There’s probably more, but I’m running out of room on the page. Here’s wishing you and yours a very happy and peaceful 2005!