Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve at the Fortress and the Mattson Family Christmas Party.

Jilane Williamson Bodily with Santa
Official Blog Christmas Photo for 2011
(Her photo posted. Whew, that's one gift done)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Merry Christmas!

Choosing to be the good son, I took my mother (Luella) out this early morning for a bit of last minute Christmas shopping. It's good to take her out for an airing occasionally. Getting her out of the house and shopping has a beneficial side effect - exercise. She spends hours a day playing Solitaire on her new iPad. That kind of inactivity at her age results in less blood flow to the extremities. Less blood flow to the extremities leads to a general loss of circulation. A loss of circulation leads to gangrene. Gangrene leads to noxious odors and amputation. Amputation leads to more inactivity, which continues the downwards spiral into the grave - all brought on by and iPad and an addiction to Solitaire.

Early morning Christmas Eve Shopping is perfect for people like me who put off their shopping until the last minute. WalMart was eerily empty at 7:30 A.M. I saw a few women, but mostly men. One man I overheard at the jewelery counter.

"I need something nice and quick. What do ya got?" The man looked like he'd just come off the graveyard shift at the steel mill. The sales assistant, who looked like she'd come over from the bakery department to help out, led him to a locked case where Walmart kept its good stuff ( Walmart's jewelry's selection starts with the plastic stuff in the claw machines near the entrances to 10K gold with diamond flakes and speckles in the locked cabinets).

While Luella pondered the multitude of gift card choices near the cash registers, I wheeled my cart with the wobbly wheel in search of a gift for my sister Jilane and her husband Kevin. I thought a nice set of silverware wouldn't go unappreciated, considering we have a weekly standing invitation at her home for Sunday dinner.

We are all trained to move quickly when her Kevin announces that "Dinner is ready!". The few usable forks they have go to those of us lucky enough to get to the kitchen first. The young and elderly are left to eating their turkey and trimmings with a spoon or, as I've had to do in the past when caught in the restroom when the dinner call was made, the tablespoon from the ring of measuring spoons. I'm getting smarter in my old age. Now when I arrive for Sunday dinner I go to the kitchen and hide a fork for later use.

"Not worth it." A man said when he saw me comparing two different sets of tableware, one cheap and one more expensive. "Our silverware ends up in the yard. Not worth the money."

I thanked him for his input and agreed. I returned the cheaper set that I had settled on to the shelf and wobbled away with empty cart. I reasoned that the Bodily children probably had dozens of forks hidden under their beds, chairs and sofas. Why should I buy more and add to the collection?

The actions of a few teenagers nearly cost me the holiday spirit. I watched a car park in the last handicap parking place as I waited in the Battlestar for Luella to finalize her gift card quandary. Three teenagers got out of the car and walked into the store. I couldn't see a handicap license plate so I drove around to see if they had a handicap badge hanging from the car's rear view mirror. They did. I came to the conclusion that the teens borrowed their Grandparent's handicap badge to do a bit of shopping. To be perfectly honest, I would do the same. Who wouldn't want to park near a shop's front door on one of the busiest shopping days of the year?
My lukewarm holiday spirit returned.

The Annual Mattson Christmas Party was held Thursday evening in the cultural hall of John and Bev's local LDS chapel. A good time was had by all. It was a 'bring your own pizza' with Christmas treats a plenty on the serving table. Bev made her world famous brownies and Bev's sister Joanne, knowing our insatiable appetite for her caramel popcorn, had several bowls of it ready to satisfy our sweet tooth.

Uncle John spoke about his time on the Montana ranch.
"I remember one late afternoon as we were coming in from working a long day in the fields. My mother was driving the tractor as I leaned out over the side - the most dangerous place on a tractor. My dad was on the other side. I remember thinking that life couldn't get any better. It was one of those moments that stay with you forever."
Uncle John continued to pay tribute to his mother Violet saying she was the kind of woman who could have done anything.

"She could out run and out shoot all of us, she was just that good. One time we were having company over and mother went out to shoot a couple antelope for dinner. She hit them both and they were running!"

Luella spoke a few minutes about her life on the ranch. I was asked to talk about our family history and Angie and Kent's eldest daughter sang. Normally I cringe when someone gets up to sing, not knowing what to expect. It's also a good time to excuse oneself for a quick bathroom break. I have a problem with getting embarrassed for people.

Taylor opened her mouth; we held our breath. My worry was unnecessary. Taylor gave me my holiday surprise. She has a beautiful voice. She hit all the notes spot on. Good Job Taylor!

And now, the family pictures from the party. Let me first apologize for the out of focus shots. I didn't have my glasses, meaning I couldn't see whether or not the pictures were correctly focused on the camera's small display. I had the camera on 'Auto' but this cheap camera has a mind of its own and enjoys giving me grief. Also, picture clarity isn't helped when you accidental touch the camera's lens with fingers greased by a slice or two of pizza. I tried to clean the lens using my felt jacket. I think you know the result. Grease doesn't wipe away that easily - it just smeared even worst...... Good Grief.

Relationship Chart
to help you place the people in the pictures

Brother and Sister.
What a Striking Family Resemblance. How many of us have that Mattson Nose?
Luella Mattson Williamson and John Mattson.
Children of Walter Mattson and Violet Pierce.

Luella with Charles
John with Bev
Time has been good to our family

John, Bev and children.
L to R. Gina, Camille, Jake, Joe, Bev, John, Kirk and Angie.
Candace is missing

Jake and Emily Mattson with Children.

Joe and Katie Mattson with family.

Gina and Quinn Walker with family

Kirk and Val Mattson with family.

Angie and Kent Berntsen and family

Jilane Williamson Bodily with husband Kevin their children
and new daughter in law Jessica (standing above Kevin - married to son Brayden)

Amber and Brock Doxey with family.
Amber is Kim Williamson DelGrosso's eldest daughter.

Brandon DelGrosso, wife Monica and family. Brandon is Kim Williamson
DelGrosso's second eldest son.

And a Few People Missing from the Christmas Family Gathering above can be seen in these random pictures below (click to enlarge) representing a few of my favorite pictures posted over this last year.

A family gathering from the mid 1970's on the steps of the Mattson
home in Spearfish, South Dakota. Please Ignore Jon. He insists to be at the very center,
only to make us all look good.
(click to enlarge)

Brandon DelGrosso, Annette Williamson, Lisa Williamson, Amber DelGrosso and Forest DelGrosso in the overgrown Williamson back yard.
Rapid City, South Dakota.
Brandon struggled with dressing himself, and you've got to love those bangs.
In those days it was "Shut Up, Sit Down," and out came the scissors.

Joe Mattson, Candace Mattson and Jake Mattson
American Fork, Utah.
Candace knew their kindness would only last until the flash went off.
Being the youngest, she developed a unique ability to fend for herself

Lisa Williamson, Kevin Williamson in front of their home
in Rapid City, South Dakota. Late 1970's.
Kevin was proud of that car. It meant freedom.
Lisa saw the camera and did what she did best,
Get in the Shot.

Amber and Ashley DelGrosso
Frisco, Colorado

Kevin, Janice, Jon and Jilane Williamson
Rapid City, South Dakota
Photo taken at the End of the Dark Ages.
They are gathered around the only source of heat in the living room,
one small heating duct.

The Mattson Children
Camille front.
Joe and Angie middle.
Gina and Kirk back.
(Jake Missing)

Jake and Joe Mattson

Grandpa and Grandma Liessman.
Grandma Elda was Charles Williamson's mother.

Violet Mattson (mother to Luella, Linda, John and Marvin)
Fixing one of her world famous Fried Chicken Dinners.
Grandma made the mess and we had to clean it up (oh and keep
her supplied with glasses of ICE COLD water.
"Let it run!").

Ashley DelGrosso.
At the DelGrosso Home, Frisco Colorado
The oldest DelGrosso children were raised in a small four room log cabin
in the Rocky Mountains. We only saw them in the summer. They were
snowed in the rest of the year :)

Forest and Brandon DelGrosso
Frisco, Colorado
Their Log Cabin days.
Purple Brandon? Purple?
Oh yes, you danced once upon a time....

Janice Williamson Burrows with husband Steve and
eldest child Nicole.
Ignore Brandon to the side.

Steve and Nicole.

These Pictures and More in this Favorites Slide Show for Years End


  1. Best picture ever is the one i am with Santa!! LOL!!

  2. Best picture ever is the one I am with Santa!! LOL!! Merry Christmas and God Bless Us Everyone!

  3. Oh, and I am also upset that guy talked you out of the silverware!! REALLY!! The gift I could use!!

  4. Love the pictures and video thanks Janice