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Lefse Friends

Rev. Daniel Bowman, aka the Holly Roller, rolled lefse non-stop during the Hawk Creek Lutheran Church Lefse Ministry Bazaar in Sacred Heart, Minnesota. He successfully connects faith and lefse.

When you make a lefse friend, you make a friend for life.

In the research and writing of Keep On Rolling! Life on the Lefse Trail and Learning to Get a Round, I’ve made oodles of lefse friends—and have added to my ever-growing list of lefse friends that started 25 years ago when I wrote The Last Word on Lefse.

This past week or so I’ve renewed lefse friendships and made new lefse friends in Story City, Iowa, and Sacred Heart, Minnesota. I was in each town to speak; sing my lefse song “Keep On Rollin’”; and sell my books, prints, and heirloom lefse rolling pins.

In Story City, I enjoyed getting to know members of a very vibrant Sons of Norway chapter, Kong Svrre. And many of the names of lefse friends from my first trip there 25 years ago were raised, including Merv Tieg, Marian and Ray Skartvedt, Muriel and Marval Melling, and Alice Miller. All have passed on, but some of their descendants were there to say hi. And one lefse maker I interviewed for Keep On Rolling!, Carolyn Yorgensen of Ames, Iowa, was there demonstrating how to roll Hardanger lefse (hard lefse), which Story City is known for.

And then in Sacred Heart, it was wonderful seeing Rev. Dan Bowman (pictured) again, one year after I had first interviewed him for Keep On Rolling! His church, Hawk Ridge Lutheran Church, is known for its Lefse Ministry because Pastor Dan (the “Holy Roller” in Keep On Rolling!) heads up a huge team of volunteers who make thousands of lefse rounds (most rolled by Pastor Dan) for donations and church fundraising. Inside each lefse package is a prayer or an inspirational message written by Pastor Dan. What outreach—irresistible!

I must say that I get a faith injection whenever I am around Pastor Dan. He oozes faith, and I am grateful that he has made a firm connection between faith and lefse. It is this connection that inspired me in writing the lyrics to “Keep On Rollin’”, which includes this repeating line in the chorus: “Keep the faith, oh give thanks, and you’ll be fine.”

2 thoughts on “Lefse Friends

  1. Thanks Gary for your kind words – not only about me, but about the Lefse Ministry I share with the members of Hawk Creek and Rock Valle. Let me say that Rock Valle – the second church that I serve and the church where Hawk Creek has found a temporary home after the fire – has been wonderfully supportive of the ministry and deserves a lot of credit, not only for their invitation to consider the Rock Valle building Hawk Creek’s temporary home, but also for their help in the lefse ministry. This past week, we rolled 450 pounds of potatoes into lefse with five of their members helping us almost every day. The fact that we were able to work hard together and strengthen friendships forged over the past year more than makes up for the exhaustion we feel as a result of our lefse-making. As you state clearly in your book, lefse is about much more than the flavor of these delicious orbs. It’s about the traditions we share as we act out age-old family liturgies around the kitchen table. It’s about the stories we tell – about the “almost perfect” lefse or the rejects that became immediate cullinary blessings. It’s about the memories we create as even our youngest children and grandchildren are made to feel incredibly important and valued as they help flour a board or roll a ball. And it’s about the spiritual blessings we can share with those who receive the lefse and the faith link we include with it (which this year and last was a package of table prayers).

    There is indeed a powerful kinship among those who love lefse. You have been a blessing to both me and the faith communities I serve. We are both humbled and thrilled that you saw fit to re-tell the story of how a small church in a small community in Western Minnesota is seeking to make a small difference for God’s Kingdom.

    Thanks Gary, for being a blessing.
    Pastor Dan

    1. Pastor Dan, I am glad that lefse has brought us together. May our paths cross soon. Gary

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