Submitted by Mark Metzler, Winona Minnesota
My Uncle Allie was a towering man. He stood 6-4 and had broad shoulders. A hard-working farmer and great baseball player, he wasn’t the type of man who you’d normally think would love being in the kitchen.
But he loved to bake. He’d make breads, cookies and cakes. His favorite was lefse. Each year he’d bring a big bag for my family, and each year we’d finish it off in a hurry. As I grew older, and especially after his wife died, I’d stop in to see him whenever I was in Stoughton, a town famous for its Norwegian heritage.
As the years went by, he continued the tradition of giving my parents a big bag of lefse, and my brothers would help my mom and dad polish it off. I never got enough, and I think he sensed my disappointment. After all, he was my godfather, and he was suppose to watch out for my well being. So, during my trips to his house he’d pull out another bag for me a bag that I would put in the trunk of my car and take to wherever I was living at the time.
“Don’t tell your brothers. We don’t want them to feel bad,” he’d say. I never did. But now I feel a little lonely. It’s not because my brothers didn’t get enough lefse as far as they know, they did. It’s that I never asked him to teach me how to make lefse.
A few years ago he died, and I no longer have that secret bag to take with me when I leave town. Certainly being without my Uncle Allie has left a gap in my life. Still, whenever I have lefse especially great lefse like I get from lefse time there’s a moment when I’m transformed, and I can see my uncle standing in front of me.