George Floyd

By Valerie J Laidlaw
May 27, 2020

I’m sad.
Children see too much injustice, today.
Power is a priviledge.
Power is not to be taken to an inhumane level.
It is scary to see how this happens.
It does not need to happen.
Please, protect and serve,
With love and compassion.
I am glad to know there are some, or most, people who do.
We are all in this world together with empathy and compassion for a person who cried out to our common humanity, beyond the inhumanity shown to him.
A film speaking, pleading, and crying out for someone rendered silent will live on in our memories.
In our hearts,
In our souls,
All lives matter!

Teaching tough lessons

“Black Lives Do Matter!”
By Valerie J Laidlaw
June 9, 2020

In the late ’70’s, way back,
I lived in Decatur, Illinois,
Raising “tow-headed” boys,
In a near Southern town, mostly Black.
My older boy, was in years only two,
He’d greet all who he’d see with a friendly, “How-do!?”
His Kindercare teacher, who was black,
Loved all the children in her care, and they truly loved her back!
My husband’s coworkers, I loved them all,
And, as I worked in an uptown card and candy store,
I was aware that the children, who were white, usually begged and fussed for more.
The beautiful children who were black,
Were respectful,
Their parents were loving,
And guiding,
Utilizing the social experience as a mentoring situation,
Throughout their brief visit with me at the store.
They all taught me, and educated me about their culture, and who they were,
Treating me unconditionally with love, caring, and more.
Yes, I do believe, “Black Lives Matter!”

Posted on my Facebook, June 2020.

Reasons to get Covid-19 Immunization Vaccines

By Valerie J Laidlaw

There’s so much misinformation out there, please don’t let it sidestep you from getting immunized.

1. You do not want to go through so much suffering, hospitalization, after effects, and possibly death.

2. You do not want to cause someone else go through so much suffering, hospitalization, after effects, and possibly death.

3. The Healthcare systems were like a warzone. Many Healthcare workers are suffering from battle fatigue. They were also at risk, as were their families.

4. Historically, we have started immunizations for polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, hepatitis, so we could eradicate those diseases, and get them under control. Covid-19 is highly contagious, as we have seen, this helps to bring the numbers down.

5. Our loved ones want and need those hugs! My mom’s nursing home was on lockdown. There were about 30 residents. I saw her in February for her birthday. Then, we were quarantined. I saw her and my mother-in-law few times through windows. Last fall, she was failing, so Hospice started to see her. We were masked up and were able to visit as she was “dying.” When she improved our visitation was ceased, only to begin the day she was dying. I was unable to be there as I had a headcold that day. She passed away on December 20, 2020. The time period in between my last visit and her last day, she was moved from her wing and back, as her wing temporarily became a Covid-19 wing where 10 residents passed away. My mom never caught Covid-19. She had advanced Alzheimer’s and Dementia, which was the factor in her passing. Eventually, she was going to go. Indirectly, she was affected by Covid-19, which isolated her throughout her last year.

My sons, daughter, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren were cut off from visits. Pre-quarantine many of us got together at a hotel swimming pool and a restaurant. That ended up as the last hugs and face-to-face visits for much of 2020 and into 2021. That day was the very last hug and face-to-face visit I will ever have with my oldest son, as he fought and lost the Covid-19 battle on December 23, 2020. I am not alone in my loss of a family member. Some families were “wiped out” with few surviving in their family unit.

6. Immunizations are more consistent. Many people don’t follow good decisions, rules, or judgement. Because of that, we are more vulnerable and susceptible to Covid-19. Too soon, they don’t socially distance themselves. Masks are used improperly, covering only their mouths, and not their noses. Masks are not worn at all. People don’t wash or sanitize properly. These inconsistencies are a reason to fortify oneself with immunizations, yet, we all still need to carry on these practices until more of us are immune. Flattening the curve, totally. There are other outbreaks happening in evolving viruses, so these practices of masks, distancing and sanitary practices still need to happen. “Universal Precautions” have been taught and have been in practice a long time, so let’s just continue to be vigilent.

7. Management of practices are also inconsistent. Politics from region to region, state to state, cause inconsistancies. Some tested positive and had no symptoms, yet, the worker was told to work. Some had symptoms, tested and results came days later, and that person was told to work until test results come back. This mismanagement caused others to be exposed. Not everyone can win in the battle of Covid-19, and that exposure caused harm and ultimately unecessary death.

Lastly, I don’t want to cause anyone to suffer from Covid-19. I want everyone to ultimately live a more fulfilling quality of life. I used to be a blood donor. I have had cancer and major surgerical procedures. Some medical issues are unavoidable. With vaccines and safe practices, Covid-19 can be averted and avoided. I hope this helps even one person decide to get immunized.

With the Utmost Sincerity, Valerie J Laidlaw, March 23, 2021, date of my first Covid-19 Immunization, 3 months to the day following the loss of my first-born son, Kyle, from Covid-19.


by Valerie J Laidlaw

faith is planting bulbs in the fall,
with the hope that in spring
the flowers grow tall.

faith is knowing when autumn leaves fall,
that buds, blossoms, and fruit
will answer nature’s call.

faith is the sun rising in the eastern sky, bringing warmth to the earth as the birds sing perched on the branches up high.

faith, upon hearing baby’s cries,
is believing new lives sail forth and drift with the melodies of lullabyes.

faith is in knowing our legacy will live,
with laughter and memories spread out into the branches of kindness we give.

“Heavenly Wings”

“Heavenly Wings”
For Barbara Baxter Hettervig
By Valerie J Laidlaw
(Granddaughter of Melvin Johan Hettervig, Daughter of Vivian Jean Hettervig)

Her mom, Irene, was widowed in nineteen thirty-three,
With her toddler sister, Frances, and, Barbara, just a baby.
Irene and Henry were wed, as he took them all under his wing,
Realizing the wondrous love of this threesome to his life they would bring.
As their baby brother, Donald, grew up to learn all about farming,
The girls also helped with the household, the chores, and everything!
The Hettervig families have worked the land up and down this Red River Valley,
In the rich black soil where sunflowers, soybeans, and potatoes grew.
When Henry’s brother, Ellie, had a son named Ernie, Ernie knew,
This treasured lady, Barbara Baxter, as a child became older, attending school,
It was only natural she would eventually become his partner and wife,
A strong, yet soft, spirit he could work with,
Stand and dance alongside with, throughout the remaining years of his life.
Ernest and Barbara were blest with three girls,
Then, a rambunctious, sweet boy arrived in their world.
The legacy lived on in the generations to follow,
Many happy times, intermingled with sorrow.
As Barbara’s spirit rejoins Ernest’s in a new life she’s been given,
One has to believe there’s a grand reunion up there in heaven.
Friends and families of cousins are all dancing up there,
Like birds taking flight on their wings in the air.


by Valerie J Laidlaw

Parachuter south of Fergus Falls, MN

some try to put a face
to our suffering and loss
there is no face
to all of this
viral vast vacancies
this pandemic caused.
a mother’s heart still beats
where a son’s has ceased,
the person, the people
who filled our lives
with love and kindness
the “glue” that bonded
our broken families
at what cost?
don’t put a face of blame
on this!
we all are suffering
we all are nameless
and faceless
in this!
yet, so many faces
are now lost
all the people
whom we loved
who loved us
who were affected by all of this
who are affected by all of this
they are the faces
among all of us!
we are the faces
among all of us!
let’s give meaning
to the sacrifice
to those faces
who have suffered
in this battle.
let’s show honor
and kindness
to eachother!
it affected us all,
divided we fall.
it affects us all,
so don’t fall.
let’s face it all

Kyle and Mom, Val

“Lefty O’Doul’s Chili”

Shared by Valerie J Laidlaw

This is a recipe my Aunt Dolores shared with my mom, Vivian Jean, which she had gathered into her tin recipe file.

”Lefty O’Doul’s Chili”
4 T oil
2 large (chopped) onions
4 (minced) garlic cubes
4 # lean stew meat
3 # pork sausage
Sauté & add meat brown drain
56 oz canned tomatoes
2 T cocoa powder
2 6oz tomato paste
6 T chili powder
3 t cumin
1 T oregano
2 t salt
2 t sugar
Stir & simmer for 2 hrs
32 oz baked beans
2 15oz kidney beans
2 15oz pinto beans
Add & cook 30 min
She wrote;
I use leftover roast, steak, or chops and Italian sausage.
Also soak & cook my own beans
Cocoa prevents gas

So, who was “Lefty”?’doul

My 1st Limerick

By Valerie J Laidlaw

Years ago, the Fargo Forum had a Limerick contest for St. Patrick’s Day

I don’t win, but my Limerick was in the newspaper with some of the other entries.

From there, I noticed there was a Limerick page on a Website in Norway. I sent a few there which were posted. That evolved into a page devoted to my Limericks, plus, other poems I have written over the next several years.

The heading on my page on a website in Norway
My first photo on the page
Description of who I am
The First Limerick

“There once lived in Fargo a Laddy,
Whose birthday was Isle of Eire’s St. Patty.
Although Norski by trait –
Irish cakes were his fate –
Labeled ‘Artie O’Kolle’; my Daddy”

A cake I order today to be delivered for a birthday tomorrow.
How I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Last year with my grandson Ryan
Muriel’s “Renaissance” Menu with a Green Tint.
Me, Valerie & my husband, Richard Laidlaw.

Charlee Jean’s Poem

By Grmaval Valerie J Laidlaw

You look so familiar to me; “First-born” of my “First-born”, Charlee Jean.
I agree, as your mom says, “You’re the most beautiful girl!” she’s ever seen.
Your dad says, “When you were born, it was like witnessing an indescribable dream!”
Until the first breath and first cry; I recall very clearly how upon his birth, that moment did seem.

If Heaven lined up all of the babies born in the world,
There’s no doubt you would have been chosen as “our little girl.”
You have aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and a brother who all give you their “Love,”
“Best Wishes and Blessings” from their friends, plus the Angels and the Lord up above.

You are the perfect result of a “perfect” blend
Of the recipe of ancestors from which you descend;
Your creativity, your intellect, and personality will be exclusively your own;
Embellished by the influences of the world you’ll be shown.

You’ll always have family to guide and protect you even after you’ve grown
Into a young lady in the future; you won’t need to face life’s challenges entirely on your own.
When that time comes in your life many of us may no longer be around,
But our spirits will watch and pray for you even when you may think you’re alone.
The memory, the warmth of our love, our hearts, and our hugs will still about you surround,
To bring much success and happiness; as the laughter and joy of your friends and family abound.

So, now, through the birth of a new generation,
I’ve been transformed into a “Grandma;” my new life’s station.
“Welcome to the world, Charlee,” God’s newest creation.

For my first grandchild, Charlee Jean Roos,
On her “1 week” birthday, March 21, 2005
From your grandma, Valerie Jean Kolle

Love, Grandma Val 3.21.2005

When I first held you, Charlee Jean Roos

Vivian Jean, her story, 19

By her daughter, Valerie J Laidlaw

Some of my most enjoyable times while my children were growing up, we had spent camping and exploring our state and national parks.

Traveling westward, we saw Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the Snake River, and Multnomah Falls. The first site of the Pacific Ocean at Canon Beach, Oregon was a fun adventure we shared with some of my family who had settled in the Northwest.

Coming back, we ran into a hail storm on some of the highest peaks and passes up in Glacier National Park.

For many years, annually, on Memorial Day weekend, we joined the Anderson family at Upper Red Lake to camp and fish. We usually caught our limit in Walleye, and a goodly amount of woodticks. Lyle made the best camp-stove pancakes. He had grown up in rural Black Duck, Minnesota.

Originally our neighbors in Fergus Falls, Lyle, LaVerne and their trio of kids were our best friends long after they moved to Roseville. We toured the Twin Cities with them several times. A bragging point was that we were up in the Foshay Tower when it was the tallest skyscraper in the metropolitan area.

LaVerne joined me at the airport when I had a moment on my way to Hawaii to see Muriel. Occasionally, the Andersons visited us in our home in Fargo, too.

Me, 1972, Minneapolis International Airport
LaVerne and Me, 1972. LaVerne dressed like “Mary Tyler Moore.” I’m enroute to Hawaii.

Another enjoyable time camping was in Canada at Riding Mountain National Park. We rode horses on the trails, swam in a clear, crisp, refreshing lake, and watched Bison on a grassy, open plain. After leaving the Bison, we pulled to the side of the road to empty my thermos of my coffee which was cold. Suddenly, a car pulled up behind our station wagon. Weirdly, and coincidentally a family from our church which included Becky, Val’s best friend, were in the car. Neither family knew that the other was going to vacation there that same week. It was the only time I had ever been there with Art and our children. We invited them over to our campsite. Val joined them the next day to a rodeo off in Saskatchewan.

Here I am standing behind Val as she made “Jiffy Pop” popcorn with Becky and Cheryl. Lori is standing next to Cheryl. Becky’s parents are on the left and her brother, Don and little David are in-between. Riding Mountain National Park

One time I camped a couple weeks in Itasca State Park with Ron and Val. It was so refreshing and relaxing to have that getaway.

Another memorable camping adventure was at Lake Carlos State Park with nice trails, beaches with swimming areas, and showers.

Our typical campsite set-up. My portable kitchen, our “elephant” tent, the station wagon with car-top carrier, and me cooking. The kids are behind me, pre-technology. They might have their binoculars, a camera, or their transistor radios with an earpiece. (An “ear-bud” wasn’t a thing, yet)

We camped up at the “Boundary Waters” and “Lake of the Woods” in Northern Minnesota. This happened to be on July 20th of 1969. My daughter wrote a visually descriptive poem in remembrance of this historical time.

By Valerie J. Laidlaw
November 25, 2013

“We setup our grey, second- hand canvas, ‘Elephant,’ tent with its flexible, fiberglass poles
Among the whitewashed, pealing, scarred birch, and aromatic pine.
The ground, the earth, was powdery and sandy,
Intertwined with dried needles, leaves, and cones.
Tall trees, drew our eyes upward to the sky,
Until a lake appeared in an open area,
Reflecting the blue sky in the water,
Edged by a horizon of jagged forest,
Shimmering reflections shadowed occasionally
By clouds, birds, and aircraft.
A smooth-ness interrupted with ripples,
Through the hands of nature, and of man.
The convoluted boundaries of the sky, water, and land
Overlapped between the two countries
Appearing to take on a more natural flow.
We had been cooped-up in the car,
So, my brother and I enjoyed the freedom
Of running around exploring the grounds.
Checking first where the facilities were,
Then gathering split wood, pieces of shredded bark, and twigs,
We prepared our site before becoming enveloped with the darkness of forested night.
In this awesome setting, the humans began whispering,
Then, the talk became more animated, and the excitement grew.
A small crowd of campers began moving in mass
Diverging in front of a camper trailer with a small, raised shelf.
The owner had a portable black-and-white TV hooked up to a long electrical cord
Connected to a utility pole.
He tuned in, adjusted the vertical hold, wiggled the antennae, following the crowd’s input,
Until the ‘snow’ faded, and the picture became more clear.
A reporter on the set explained and displayed the milestone, historical event which was about to occur.
Like a kid playing in a sandbox, he utilized toy models of the space aircraft, and the lunar landing module.
The older campers looked up to the moon in the sky in disbelief,
And shouted comments like: ‘Impossible, how do we know they are really up there!’
‘It looks like science fiction to me!’ ‘It could be just another mock-up!’
As the reporter continued his live satellite report ‘on air,’ I watched that historical first step.
I also looked up at the face of the moon, yet, as a child, with less skepticism, I believed.”

My children and grandchildren have followed this camping and traveling tradition with their families. Sometimes, their camping also includes music festivals with concerts.

It is so important to experience these adventures…building happy memories!

Vivian Jean, her story, 20

By her daughter, Valerie J Laidlaw

I have shared on this WordPress site, recipes, plus, much of my memories of Mom. Much of this helped me accept and cope with her challenges of Alzheimer’s and Dementia for over a decade of her twilight years.

I cherished the days she had which were “good!” On the way to get married in South Dakota, Rick and I stopped to visit mom. June of 2015, we told her about our plans, and she exclaimed, “Well, I suppose I should give you my Blessing!” She laughed, and gave us her blessing for our marriage. Rick and I, in our late fifties, both love and appreciate that she did!

Mother’s Day in Graceville, MN

I became her advocate, guardian, and a warrior for her. She passed away on 12/20/2020. I will always love and cherish her. I am overwhelmingly grateful for all that she has brought into my life and into the lives of others.

My mom, Vivian Jean, and me, Valerie Jean, in her lakeside home.
“Sunnyside Care Center”
Enjoying the lakeview
Great-Granddaughters, Charlee and Layla, Grandsons, Kyle and Josh, Granddaughter-in-law, Jaci, Granddaughter, Kaira, and Great-grandma Vivian
Grandma Vivian with Kyle & Brandi Fargo, ND
Me and my grandchildren in the late 1990’s Detroit Lakes, MN
Moorhead, MN
Grandma Vivian and her Gladiolus Garden, Moorhead, MN
Grandma Vivian, with Granddaughter, Kaira, Daughter, Valerie, and Niece, Susan Moorhead, MN
Mom & Me in Graceville, MN
In Graceville, Mom with son and daughter, enjoying the sunshine!
On our Wedding Day 6/5/2015. Val & Rick Laidlaw
Grandson, Kevin, Great-grandson, Mark, Daughter, Valerie, and Great-grandma Vivian Madison, Mn
Grandson Josh, Grandma Vivian, and her Buick Madison, MN
Great-grandma, Vivian Jean, Daughter, Valerie Jean, Grandson, Kyle, and, Great-granddaughter, Charlee Jean Madison, MN

The following links will bring you to the other stories and a few recipes on my blog. Keep this page as a reference. Enjoy!

Looking forward to Spring

Article about my mom

“Poems for my Mom”

My Mom’s Little Tin Recipe File

More Recipes from Vivian’s tin file

Further Mom’s Tin Recipe File

Gr. Viv’s Bran Muffins


Vivian, I

Vivian, II

Vivian, III

Vivian, IV

Vivian, V

Vivian, VI