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A Moving Response to Final Rounds

About 125 book lovers attended last weekend’s launch of my new novel, Final Rounds. I signed all my books while lefse makers made fresh lefse to the music of an accordion player and a hardanger fiddler. One of my red letter days, indeed.

Last Saturday was one of those days that will forever make me grin. It was snowy and windy and therefore perfect for lefse, but the weather was not enough to stop 125 or so book lovers from coming to the launch of my new novel, Final Rounds: On Love, Loss, Life, and Lefse.

Throughout the book launch party for Final Rounds, Shirley Evenstad and Larry Lafayette rolled lefse and encouraged guests to give it a go as lefse makers.

I signed books for old friends and new, while lefse-making friends made fresh lefse while music from an accordion player and hardanger fiddler filled the air. And then I said a few words about the the writing of Final Rounds, which was followed by a reading from the book by me and my 12-year-old granddaughter, Amaya McIntosh. Amaya is the inspiration for the book and the book’s main character.

It was a great day, but the frosting on the cake came the next morning. I opened my email and read these responses from people who had finished Final Rounds overnight. Karen wrote this:

I just finished reading Final Rounds, which I greatly enjoyed!  Congratulations on this fine book … tender, humorous, and wise.


And then came this most moving email from Pam:

Dear Gary,

Many, many thanks for the gift you gave all of us with your beautiful book Final Rounds.  Well done my Norwegian friend. You have a gift of being able to weave together humor and wit, poetry and prose, loss and the grief it causes.  But the story doesn’t leave us to wallow in grief as we see how writing, working together, and finding comfort in God’s love ease our pain. 

Similar to the theme in Final Rounds is the birthday letter that my oldest granddaughter wrote to my late husband on his birthday.  She was five and half when he died six years ago this month, and is the only one of our six granddaughters who can remember him.  She dated it 2/28/19, which would have been his 73rd birthday.

“Dear Baba, Happy Birthday!  I’m 11 years old now!  I miss you so much. … Love, Elsa”

Ah writing, how it can ease the pain.  Keep on writing, Gary, and making and sharing your wonderful lefse.  I helped myself to plenty of it yesterday. Many thanks for your open house and the chance to meet and greet.  Best wishes, and as my dad often said, “Takk for alt.”


When I wrote Final Rounds, I didn’t really understand why. I just knew I loved the story more and more as I told it. Well, as these responses come in one by one, I better understand the why.

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