Grateful for the memories of our hometown
Posted 6/26/18 (Tue)
By Steve Andrist
Beaucoup members of the family descended on Crosby last weekend for the burial of the family patriarch.
There were close to 50, all told, and all of them had been there many times before, save for a handful in the youngest generation, generally those under 5.
Many grew up and graduated from high school here. Some of us have been back recently. For others it’s been 10 years or more.
For all who have fond and countless memories of the place, one strange twist of reality became sadly evident as we buried John Andrist next to his beloved Elaine at the Crosby Cemetery.
For the first time in more than 100 years no one with our family name lives in these parts.
For all intents and purposes, Calvin L. Andrist, my grandfather, brought the family name to the great northwest when he moved with his dad and step-mother from Minnesota to a homestead that turned out to be on the Canadian side of the border north of Noonan.
His parents didn’t stay long.
Though still a teenager, he did. And by 1921, after having worked at newspapers in Kermit, Noonan and Ambrose, he and a partner purchased the Divide County Journal in Crosby.
He ran the business for more than 30 years, John took the next 30-plus years, and I finished the family run with just over 21 years.
For some, this trip likely will be their last to the place where the family put down deep roots.
The eldest family visitor was Ardy Thvedt Andrist, who has a double connection to the community. Now 86 and a longtime resident of Tulsa, she grew up on a farm near Wildrose, graduated from Crosby High School, and married into the same Andrist family as her sister – my mother.
For many years, Ardy and Calvin R. Andrist made annual treks by to northwest North Dakota to visit her parents, Joe and Emma Thvedt, and his, Cal and Lela Andrist.
But this trip was her first since 2015 when her sister Eileen was buried at Skabo Cemetery north of Alamo
There was one other strange twist of reality for us. There is no local residence left in the family to provide beds and breakfast for those who return to visit.
As a result, our crew made a pretty good contribution to the local economy in the form of around 15 rooms for a couple of nights at the Guardian Inn, a couple thousand dollars worth of food and drink, several trips to the grocery store, green fees and cart rentals for a dozen golfers and several tanks of gas.
Two family members even left town with shiny, new, $50 spades from Hardware Hank after they became enamored of them during a Crosby Park Board tree planting ceremony at the swimming pool park.
At the same time, several family members weighed in with their impressions of the hometown that has seen dozens of changes since they spent time here.
On the down side were those who expressed disappointment at what they saw as unattractive entrances to the city, a preponderance of brown yards with either little landscaping or overgrown bushes, especially surrounding apartments near the motel, and a penchant for parking vehicles in places they don’t belong.
One offered a mixed message, noting that the community center is a wonderful feature for a small community even if its exterior appearance could be spiffed up.
Most, though, noticed the positives, including yards the appear well-manicured, a beautifully presented Main Street, attractive housing options surrounding the hospital, a great new addition to the courthouse, a splash pad that would be the envy of many larger communities, parks that are well-groomed and cared for, and a golf course that inspires pride, beauty and sport.
In short, they were pleased to call Crosby home, and saddened that it will not be home for future generations of Andrists.
Sentiments of my sister Penny sum it all up appropriately:
“The last day of our Crosby trip we biked out to the golf course to heckle family golfers. Reminded of the peaceful and beautiful setting of my home town, we drove away with a lump in the throat and a renewed sense of being charged with continuing the legacy of love and generosity my parents instilled in us and modeled for us.”
“It's a high bar.”
Thanks for the memories.