The following Sunday, the talk at church turned to the annual affair to raise money. It wasn’t just money the congregation needed, but something to lighten the heavy mood. It would have to be something that gave everyone a chance to do something different and feel good about it. So a talent show was planned to be held on the second floor stage of the firehouse at the end of September. There would be a bake sale, a white elephant table, and a grab bag for the children. John Havir would be the auctioneer for items contributed by members of the congregation, and even some local businesses.

From Carl and Jennie’s family, Harvey would do a violin rendition; Thelma would contribute a reading; and Carl would be the tenor in a barber shop quartet. Jennie would be sure Thelma had a special dress for the occasion. Others would offer vocal performances, and there would be at least one dancer. Linnea Johnson would lead a committee to provide for the sale of refreshments. There would be plenty of activity in the next months preparing for the event.

The Church event in September was a success. People bought each other’s white elephants. Some friends and neighbors showed up, happy not only to enjoy a good show, but also to buy the baked goods for which the Swedish ladies had such an excellent reputation. Parents dug deep to give their children pennies for the grab bag. The free will offering far exceeded hopes and expectations. Like the Torsäs neighbors who had given from their poverty at Carl’s departure party, the church members had given beyond what they could afford.

At the end of the evening, Harvey was filled with the warm satisfaction that he had performed his solo well. Thelma was swollen with grown-up pleasure in her faultlessly delivered reading. Jennie and Carl were happy with their contribution. Mona felt the joy as she rode on her father’s right arm as if in a royal carriage. It was a good walk home from the firehouse

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