Archived Story

Hormel family celebrates

Published 4:40pm Saturday, December 22, 2012

As this will be published the weekend before Christmas I thought I would share a glimpse of a Hormel family Christmas.  The year is 1895 and George writes in his autobiography the following:

“The Christmas holidays that year were like the old times I remembered from boyhood.  As a family we were all together for the first time in many years.  My bother Henry had joined us also, to become the first minister of the newly organized Presbyterian Church, feeling that Austin was a better place for his wife and baby than “Little Hell” of the Chicago slums, where he had begun his ministry. And when the family got together, it always meant music.

There was Sue with her guitar, Herman with his violin, my wife or sister Charlotte at the piano—and everybody singing!  The Hormel quartet was a special feature of these gatherings, as my four brothers had beautiful natural voices, which they used well together in best “barbershop style,” with Herman as tenor, Henry, baritone—as well as a yodeler of some talent—John and Ben as first and second bass.  My wife’s sweet contralto joined theirs when she played the accompaniments—she was an accomplished musician who brought much enjoyment to the family circle—and all joined vociferously in the refrains.  Mother’s presence assured the old Gemutlichkeit—the German word that means so much: sentiment, kindliness, tenderness, and freedom from care.  I can think of no better word to describe what Christmas ought to mean always, and what that particular Christmas meant to me.

Not least important under the circumstances was Father’s generous gift of a new delivery wagon for “Tip,” the calico mule.  Evenings of gay and rollicking song ended always with the singing of that tender hymn, long since the family favorite, “In My Father’s House are Many Mansions.”

I, too, will be celebrating with a large family at Christmas.  There won’t be any violins or yodeling, but we will rollick and I will consider myself blessed, like George, to be surrounded by kindliness, tenderness, and carefree fun.  Merry Christmas to you all!

What’s happening at the HHH

January Social Concerns-Mower Refreshed

10 a.m., Jan. 15, Sandy Anderson will offer us the opportunity to learn about the initiative’s history, wellness challenges that are being focused on and updates on how citizens can become involved and stay informed on the ever-evolving efforts of Mower Refreshed!

 Austin Wedding Showcase

The premiere wedding resource for all those busy planning brides will be held at the HHH on Sunday, January, 27th from 12-3 p.m.  The fashion show presented by Belles & Beaus and VeDeyo Arts will begin at 2 and will once again feature the Austin Bruins players.  Admission is $3

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