Les Crook was a good ol boy from Kentucky who got drafted, ended up in Kansas working in a hole in the ground,
(a missile silo) worked part time for a farmer and married the farmer's daughter.
He studied art at Bethany College, and two or three other Universities. He ended up doing these fabulous ceramic sculptures with layer after layer of color. He would spend hundreds of hours in just the final surface finish. He had a liver transplant that went bad and he died. A real good guy.


  JULOTTA In Kansas City Mo. at Trinity Methodist Church 620 East Armour 6:00AM Dec.25, 2017

The Swedish early morning Christmas service is celebrated in Kansas City Missouri at the Broadway Church just south of 39th street. It is usually our first stop at 6:00AM on the 25th of December. They always have coffee and homemade pastry after church at 7:00 AM. Usually we leave immediately and drive to Lindsborg for Kalas at my sisters. This year 2009 was the first time in over a hundred years that the service was canceled. They still had coffee and pastry for those who showed up anyway. There were about 16 people who showed up and since the road to Lindsborg was pretty bad we stayed for coffee. Met some real nice people. This is an infamous Cederburg walking back to the car in the Walgrens Drug Store parking lot a block away.



Next year you should invite a friend and show up as we will probably not stay for coffee and there will be some left over for you. Seriously it is a very nice service. A couple of songs are sung in Swedish. Before the service starts two St. Lucia with burning candles in their hair, walk in and light close to a hundred candles in the sanctuary. It is kind of nice to sit in a hard backed pew with the glow of candles and a bevy of warm hearts and realize that sitting with you are departed loved ones and of course previous Christmas rememberances.


Another place to attend Julota is in Olsborg Kansas. It is right north of Manhattan KS.
I used to sit in the front row on the right with my parents. One Sunday I got carried away with some thought and decided to heave a hymnal at the preacher. He moved real fast and I missed him. My father carried me to the back door and applied some liberal education to my rear. I tried it again a couple of weeks later and the education was a lot more liberal .

I was up that way again in June for my Aunt Ebba's funeral. The inside of the church seems a lot smaller than I remembered. Her kids, grandkids and other relatives filled up one whole side of the church. They have a very interesting tradition there. Actually it is the old way, which has never been changed. Everyone walks to the cemetery behind the casket. There is actually a lane on the south side of the highway, which is marked and that is where everyone walks. The cars actually pull over and stop in deference for the funeral. I've been to several funerals there. The first was when I was about 6 years old. My Aunt was the first Woman County Commissioner in Potawatamie County. That is probably the reason that when the highway was repaved they didn't forget to put in a walking lane for the funerals.


I was back in Olsburg for my cousin Wesley Quinton's funeral. One of his daughters preformed the service. She's a Lutheran Pastor up in the Dakotas. All of the remaining Espings were there and it allowed me to see my own mortality closing in from behind. The Bjorlings were there. the Sislers, Earl, his sister Cecelia and her husband, Woody and family and all the Nelsons. We walked to the cemetery, but this time we went to the one on the north of the road. It is the reinterred graves from Maridahl. Our great and glorious government couldn't find the money to move Maridahl Church, when they decided to dam the river and flood the church grounds. The oldest Lutheran Church west of the Mississippi. A lot of bad feelings about that. The first setlement of Swedes in Kansas. The farmers up their bought a guy a rifle to shoot at the engineers while they were trying to build the dam. I think they were some of the Norwegians.


My mother died on February 25. It was just 5 days before my birthday. A day which we both shared for 68 years. She was my ticket into this world, and I could not thank her enough. My birthing was not easy and provided pain for my mother for weeks after I first began breathing air.

She had a full and eventful life, and continued to provide guidance for myself and my sisters even up to and including her dieing.

My intellectual concept of "Mother" many times seemed to skip over or miss the subtle nuiance of a soft spoken word or an emphasised phrase that allows for the correction of ones behavior or calls for pondering rather than rushing to judgement on a worldly question.

One evening while we watched television, my comment on the news was a question. "What should one do about a government run amuck?" Her answer, " I really don't know" scared the shit out of me. At fifty years of age her answer amazed me. My Mother did not have even an answer that I could argue with. "Mothers" were always supposed to have an answer.

The thing I heard her say the most often was "If you have nothing nice to say, just don't say anything"

When she was eighty she went with me to march in a protest against racist threats painted on a persons home in Hutchinson Kansas. Only after walking for several blocks did it dawn on me that I might have to take care of her if there was trouble. She exuded a grounded power. Her children knew she could take care of herself.
After the march, a black preacher heard we had lived in Downey California. He said, "It is a long way from there to here!" my Mother answered, Yes Pastor it is a long long way from there to this march."
Yes, I had heard my Mother say something that inferred something not nice about Downey.

The comments about and rememberances of my mother from friends and acquaintances after her death have been especially interesting. "I always wondered why my mother was not like yours."
"There was a bearing and grace about her as she sat quietly listening to other people argue."

My father died forty years before Mother. I remember him as being powerful and ready to get into any fight that was just, maybe even one or two that were just going to be fun and maybe not totally justified. He taught me that there were many things worth dying for, my mother guided me to the realization that there isn't probably anything worth killing for.

a note from an aquaintance said ....... No matter how intellectually we acknowledge mortality, the emotional impact isn't something we can prepare for. . . this time of grief -- a time of celebration of your Mothers life and a time of emptiness with her passing.


Tuck and Dee Dee live near the Canadian border. in a little town called Twisp which is another of those drop out towns that you only hear about after it is ruined by the Californicators and the New Jersey Nuts that are out looking for places to mess up. I talk to Tuck about twice a year. He builds homes that rely on intelligence, forsight and craftsmen ship for heat and air conditioning. I would say that he builds "Greeen" but the Obamacrats have ruined that word with their new cash cow deals which are all "GREEN"

Last time I talked to him he told me that the grasshoppers ate his garden in 2008 and he really needed his garden because he sold a lot of the produce to off set his part of the economic downturn. He said that the grasshoppers pissed him off so much that he sat and thought about them for most of a long cold winter. Some time near Feburary he hit on the real deal. He built a fence around his garden spot. He used a a fence with small holes and he put it in with strong poles. Then he put another fence around that fence also with strong poles. He said as soon as the sun came up every morning he went out and opened the chicken house door which had a fence tunnel to the two fences surrounding the garden. He said that the chickens came looking for breakfast and they found it in the form of grasshoppers. He said that the chickens go absolutely crazy as he does not feed them. The area between the two fences looks like a gladiator chariot track with chickens running full blast around and around it eatting grasshoppers. This year he is going to advertise Organic Chickens for sale. He said that grasshopper fed chicken tastes real good. I'm going up and see if he is lying.

Well here is a picture of the double fence chicken yard. The garden is behind Tuck. I shot the photo through the first fence. I didn't get to eat any chicken. I saw about twenty chickens, and they all looked healthy. A new inovation is the addition of cloth material on the bottom three feet of the second fence. This means that if a real fast grasshopper aludes the chickens he has to make a three foot jump up to get high enough to jump through the fence into the garden. The only problem I see is that the grasshoppers who make it through the chicken run and make the three foot high final jump are automatically self selected to have the genetic material that will make their next generation super hoppers.


One of the first Christmas"s we celebrated in the big house was with my mother-in-law and our renter at the time Joey.

Joey is an artist with a degree from B Tech the Swede school in Lindsborg. He came to Kansas City and went to work for the KCMO Library system. He was always busy messing with computers.

He also designed some crazy animals which were going to be used in an animated movie.

When this picture was taken his wife to be was in England on an internship. She came back to the U.S. and moved in the apartment which was very crowded and then the were blessed with a bundle of joy so they moved away. Haven't seen him for a couple of years, I heard he is in Topeka. The thing hanging over the table is a LJUSKRONA that one has been over me or my relatives table for over 150 years.

My mother-in-law died in 2009. She was the progenity of an Anderson family from Nebraska. I think that when this picture was taken she was 91 years old. We were sharing a bottle of wine.

My marriage to her daughter was cause for much consternation. I was not what she expected, nor what she wished for her daughter.

She was always fair. She was a lot like my mother in that she did not believe in saying anything if she had nothing nice to say.



Sure makes you feel old when you look at photographs and only five of the people are still alive. 


Fagerberg's was on the north of the road and gas station was on the south.

If you enlarge the photo on the right, you will see that above the two commercial establishments on the right are signs indicating that they are part of Black Jack Springs. Right beyond the trees on the left is the U.S. Post Office for St. George, Kansas. This photo is taken from the intersection of the highway and a street going north. Two blocks north is where the building in the photo below once stood, it was the grade and high school.





 If you go north one block of Fagerberg's store, (on the way to where the old school building sat) there used to be a horse trough on the right hand side. To the left is a photo of me drinking from the pipe that had water continously running into the horse watering trough. The water was well known to horse breeders and old men it was laced with some natural aphrodisiac. A lot of fast horses and big families in St George Kansas.



There used to be a several springs that were piped up out of the ground for people to get a drink. Another one my parents stopped at quite often was east of Salina Ks. on old highway 40.


My father taught Girls Basketball (the competition was Father Bealer who taught at Flush) and also taught the FAA kids how to butcher a hog. The killed it, strung it up, and bled it right outside of the window on the far left side at the rear of this building. Saved the blood for blood pudding. This was in 1946/47.

I attended the first grade in this building. My teacher had the first and the second grade in the same class room. Everything that the second grade was learning was much more interesting than the first grade lessons.

Those listed from left -------

SNOW, his Wife?

Paul Clopton

in front is his wife with child. Wife deceased

Top Hat Roger Jamisson

Wife at the time slightly to left and in front of him Gretchen Coles

Les Crook with Stan Dahlsten in front and his then wife slightly to left Linda Fuller

Art Quallo and his wife at the time slightly to left.

Mark Esping

Wife Mardel with parrot and Karla Crook behind

Ron Myrick

Picture taken at the Old Mill by Dale Hoag

he printed the cards and only charged us for the number of cards we wanted.

Taken at the Old Mill Museum.




Here are a few of the hand made cards we have received over the years
and some that were designed and sold by artists we've known.

My Uncle Mox did a linoleum cut in the 1940's for this family Christmas card. I found ten of them in a box. I guess I own the copy right now.


If you want to purchase Russell's cards call 816-753-1871 & I will help you make contact.


This was a Christmas greeting that I sent out one year after finding the magical Ljuskrona which succeded in winning me away from the dark side.
It is a Kenneth Patchen Poem

Original design by
Lester Raymer. The
Strom family used it
for years and then one
of the granddaughters
had it printed for her
use in the 1990's

The design was given
to the Folklife Institute
of Central Kansas.
. They printed it in this
color and also used it
on the brochures that
accompanied the NEA exhibition.

Chester Bruce card by Lee Becker

Dirk Shear and a lady friend

The Lindsborg Tomte

Neumuller from the Swedish Press

Sonny Gibson at Eggs & Enlightenment

Bob Carlson at Gallery Karl Oskar

Elmquists -it now has windows and lights