Thankful for family time

Is the busyness of life crowding out your family “togetherness?” Here’s how one local family, the family of Delbert and Bonita Hansen of Staples, is preserving it.

Beginning sometime in 2010, the Hansen family began having potluck suppers together on Sunday evenings at Delbert and Bonita’s home. At that time, their son, Scott, was being treated for brain cancer and the family met together to support him.

Sadly, Scott passed away in 2011, but the family kept on meeting for their weekly potluck meal. They kept it simple...paper plates and all.

Initially, the meal was strictly a potluck. However,  one week everyone brought potato salad, so now a little planning is involved. The meal is served at 5 p.m. and family members come as early as they can and leave when they must. There are usually at least 20 family members who attend these weekly gatherings; but, of course there are some weeks when not everyone can be there. These are busy people.

Delbert and Bonita have six grown children and several grandchildren, ranging in age from four month-old Scotlyn, to 21 year-old Ian. 

Scott was Delbert and Bonita’s oldest child. Their other children include Todd, Melanie Altrichter, Mark, Susan Storry and  Jacquelyn (Jackie) Goff, all of the Staples area. The Hansen children have a variety of careers, including heavy equipment operator, physical therapist, machinist, registered nurse, contractor and salon owner.

What does a typical Sunday night look like? Everyone shows up in time for the meal at 5 p.m., some come earlier, some stay late...whatever works in that particular week. A colorful meal with a lot of variety is served along with animated conversation as they catch up on each other’s lives.

Following the meal, the family plays games. Indoor favorites include Smear, Spoons and dice games. They also enjoy outdoor games; and since Delbert and Bonita live on the Long Prairie River, several family members enjoy fishing.

The family members share their skills with one another, including haircuts and backrubs. There is a lot of teasing and joking that goes on each week, as well as more serious times when the family prays together over a current need. At Thanksgiving time, family members gather around the table, each sharing something they are thankful for.

What makes this effort worth it? Jackie says, “Keeping in touch with each other’s lives, with all of the kids, their well-being and activities. It gives us opportunity to give little expressions of love to one another and to celebrate birthdays. Our children have become close friends with their cousins and look forward to this weekly event.”

‘It would be impossible for us as a family to do this...for one thing we don’t all live in the area,’ you might say. May I suggest...“Don’t look at the impossibilities, search for the possibilities, such as Skype, etc. Where there’s a will there’s a way.”


Larson is a customer of Jackie Goff.


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