She once played the violin….I was her teacher in the 5th grade. I knew her as Sonna Anderson.

Her father, Harold, and my father, Corliss, sang in “The Plainsmen” together. They were a musical group of men who sang cowboy and some country gospel songs. A lot of their repertoire was from “The Sons Of The Pioneers.”

Her heritage was tethered to Scandinavia. So is mine. She was a champion for Sons of Norway. My dad cooked the lutefisk, and I played in musical groups for many of their dinners.

Some years back, after raising families and establishing our careers in states far apart, we reconnected on Facebook and communicated from time to time. I followed her posts.

Sonna was of Lutheran notion; a servant, hard working, caring, curious and benevolent. I know this because my writing partner faced a health crisis that became a financial burden. Sonna found out about a benefit concert we were having from one of my posts, , and generously donated to his medical fund in Nashville. She never met him.

In 1988, I lost my sight for a period of time, and I spoke about it on a visit to Bismarck at my home church. Sonna waited in line to speak to me. It was one of those special moments. Memories of the orchestra flooded my heart as I received her warm hug..and we talked briefly.

This lovely woman was brilliant, a distinguished District Judge, and revered. But most of all, she was my friend….and I’m very very sad just now. I mourn her passing, but I’m so happy for her in her new home.

I’m going to Norway for 19 days in May. I’ll be remembering her there….and that sweet smile. ❤️


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