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to side to balance it. The horses took it in stride; they were used to it.
After such an initiation, a less stalwart heart would have lost courage. And how about bringing a young bride here? But, more friendly people than those he met here could be found nowhere. Rudolph knew that this was the place he should go if the congregations called him. They were pleased with his visit and did extend the call. One man who had not been going to church for some time said he would come back and contribute toward the pastor's salary if Mr. Larson would come. He kept his promise and became a good friend.
Moving to Canada
Rudolph Larson and Ruth Mattson were married on June 25, 1927 in Minneapolis with my father, Rev. Johan Mattson, officiating. On July 3, Rudolph was ordained as a pastor in the Lutheran Free Church in his home church at Lemond in Southern Minnesota. We were young, both twenty- five, and full of enthusiasm, eager to reach our new home and begin our work in the congregations.
After a short honeymoon we embarked by car on our trip to Canada. Rudolph's brother, Elmer, had bought a little Chevrolet coupe that he had converted into a roadster and sold to us. It had stronger springs than an ordinary road ster, giving it more clearance; a very valuable thing, we found. It was rigged out with side curtains of a heavier type than most cars of that day. We called our vehicle, 'Desperate Ambrose'.
As we drove on, mile after mile, we really felt that we were in a different country. This feeling was perhaps most pronounced as we went through customs on the United States - Canadian border. One of the Canadian officials asked if we thought that we'd like to live under the 'Union Jack'. He thoroughly checked our baggage, even looking at some of our pictures in our snapshot album! (Another time when we crossed the border during a vaca tion, a U.S. officer, seeing Rudolph's briefcase, examined that, asking if he were a salesman. Upon being informed that he was a pastor, he stopped his search.)
Since we were going through Winnipeg, we stopped there to shop for some household items. We ordered a davenport (called a chesterfield in Canada), a rocker, living room table and a hand-powered washing machine from the Eaton Company. These were shipped by freight.
We bought other pieces from our predecessors who were moving back to the 'States'. We had received money from Rudolph's home congregation and others as shower and wedding gifts that we used for our furniture. When I later saw the meager furnishings of some of the homes of our parishioners, I felt guilty having gone to such extrav agance.
The wide, flat, open spaces toward Portage la Prairie looked endless and bleak. Small colonies of shacks, the
homes of Indians, made strong impressions on us. This was quite different from Southern Minnesota! But our spirits were undaunted. We were on our way to our home and to 'our' parish.
When we came to Clanwilliam, 160 miles northwest of Winnipeg, we stopped to inquire about mail and to buy some groceries. The town did not make a very big spot on the map. There were two grocery stores - one serving as a drygoods and hardware store combined, a meat market, a church, a school, and a dozen or more residences, a garage and the depot. Erickson was a little larger. There were no paved streets in either town.
Both of our churches were typical of that day; white, frame, crnciform buildings with tall steeples. Each had a reed organ together with the usual furnishings. The church at Erickson had pews; Clanwilliam, chairs. Lamps, hung from the ceiling, were mantle-type gaslights. Heat from the basement furnace came up to the nave through a central floor register. The church bell called the congregation to worship.
Services were held in the churches on alternating Sundays. There would be morning worship in the Norwegian language and Young People's Society meetings in the evening, to which people of all ages came. There, the pastor gave a message in English.
The first evening meeting we attended at Erickson stands out vividly in my memory. Rudolph had been asked to present the interim pastor with a monetary gift for his services. Before he did this, the interim pastor (Odelberg) was called on for a few remarks. Imagine Rudolph's surprise when Pastor Odelberg presented him with a welcoming gift from the congregation. "Well," Rudolph said, "I was supposed to present you with a gift!" Everyone had a good chuckle out of that.
During the longest days of summer some evening services were held without lamplight. I recall the close of one Young People's meeting at Erickson, as I looked out the window to the west, I saw a most beautiful sunset. We were singing the Doxology and it really made me feel like praising God!
At a Watch Night Service in Erickson, I was given a gift of money. This was for my birthday (December 31) that somehow someone had found out. I bought a tea set as my gift.
Besides the Sunday service, there would be confir mati on class instruction on Saturday and Mission Society meetings on Monday. These were held in different homes.
Both men and women attended the Mission Society meetings. There was no planned program but anyone took part as the Spirit moved, with prayer, a reading or song. At one of these meetings a kindly old man read from a book of sermons. He read on and on until finally one of the men