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Michelle Turnberg, Published December 09 2011

Turnberg: ‘Darndest things’ adage really is true

“The face of a child can say it all. Especially the mouth part of the face.”

– Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy.

I recently had a great conversation with friends about Christmas memories and all the funny things kids say. It reminded me of a trip to visit Santa a couple years ago that I will remember forever.

I love Little House on the Prairie. I have seen every episode. I grew up not far from Walnut Grove, and my hometown of Dawson was even mentioned on the show once. As a mom I thought it would be a good show for my kids to watch. No snotty talk, no sass – like you see on the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. Just Ma and Pa, Mary, Laura and Carrie and good wholesome family values.

We had just watched the episode where Miss Beattle dismisses school early because it’s Christmas Eve, and the children are so excited to celebrate.

Just as the school children start walking home, a powerful blizzard blows into town and some of the children get lost in the storm. All the men folk go out in the blizzard to search for the stranded children. The women are at the school/church/hospital with Doc Baker taking care of the children that are rescued as they arrive frostbitten and near death.

Doc Baker shows Ma and Grace how to care for the sick and give each of them a sip of brandy to warm up. It all ends well as Mr. Edwards finds the last of the children and they have a happy Christmas, for the most part.

After we watched that episode we went to Santa Village at Rheault Farm in south Fargo to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. My daughter Julia insisted on wearing her Little House on the Prairie dress and apron and wore braids like Laura. We talked with Santa and then decorated cookies with Mrs. Claus.

Mrs. Claus told Julia how much she liked her dress. Julia promptly told her: “It’s my Laura Ingalls outfit and did you know that one time, children left school early for Christmas but they got caught in blizzard and they all got rescued and came back to church and drank booze!”

Julia was so proud, but my jaw dropped and Mrs. Claus looked at me very sternly.

To this day I laugh to myself every time I think of that day, and how kids really do say the darndest things. Merry Christmas!

Michelle Turnberg writes a weekly column for SheSays. She can be reached at michelleturnberg@gmail.com