Opening day of fishing at Norway Park

Photo: Solveig Lee
Bjarne Varnes at peace with the lake.

Solveig Lee
Mount Vernon, Wash.

April 22, 2017, was the opening day of fishing! Could there be a better place for the Norwegians to gather than at the pavilion at Sons of Norway Leif Erikson’s Norway Park at the north end of Lake McMurray? For many, this was the day to pack up one’s fishing gear and set off for Norway Park. One might eat breakfast then fish, or fish then eat breakfast. Others came for breakfast and to socialize. Early in the morning, boats dotted the lake. Of course, they were looking forward to catching their quota—five fish!

The kitchen crew for breakfast served a menu of casserole, pancakes, and toast, with watermelon and of course coffee.

Photo: Solveig Lee
The intrepid breakfast crew had delicious offerings ready at 7:00 a.m. From left to right: Bonny Lisman, Berit Smith, Karen Brady, Nancy Larsen, Dave Ross, Linda Briggs, Ann Crawford, and Kelly Ross.

Among those eating was Bjarne Varnes, a past president of Leif Erickson Lodge. Born in Ålesund, Norway, he lived on an island that had two farms. There were four children in his fourth-grade class when he immigrated to America at age 11. He is currently an associate member of Sons of Norway Bothell Lodge, as well as Sons of Norway Abel Lodge. He has a cabin at the park and spends many weekends there.

Also eating was Michael Ness, whose father built a cabin at the park in 1965. Ness was an aeronautical professor at the University of Washington and later at Seattle Community College.

Photo: Solveig Lee
Fishing brings childlike joy to participants of all ages.

Then there was Knut-Erik Erlandson, born in Oslo. What an interesting life! On Saturday, he was eating breakfast at Norway Park, but he also holds a memory of the dinner with King Olav at the Olympic Hotel in Seattle. Tom Stang was the Norwegian consul at the time, and Erlandson was the catering manager for the Olympic Hotel. He has lived at Norway Park since 1977.

Bjorn Lunde, who emigrated from Bergen in 1953, has designed houses. Six of them can be found in Port Townsend for the Co-Housing Company.

Knut Karlsen is known by all. He found the site for Norway Park. He was also the president of the lodge at one time.

Photo: Solveig Lee
The Krafy children, excited to hit the lake.

Since this was the day for fishing, it was great to see children, parents, and grandparents heading to or from the lake. There was Dag, age 10, and Brian, age 8, who came from the Seattle area to fish at Norway Park and visit their grandmother. Also present were the great-great-grandchildren of Stan Andahl, one of the founders of Norway Park. All faces were smiling. All caught the quota! Some had been throwing fish back into the water for half an hour.

For all, opening day of fishing at Norway Park was wonderful!

This article originally appeared in the June 2, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.