Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Christmas Letter to Family & Friends Around The World

To Family & Friends Around the World
A Christmas Letter from Del Lonnquist in Montana USA

This family of mine has grown so large that sending individual cards and presents is just no longer possible or practical. It is time to use this new Generational tool called Social Media, along with my blog to share the joy, the excitement and the profound appreciation I have for all of you who have made this year and the many past years this fantastic journey called life. Thank you.

Beginning with my six children and their five spouses, 19 Grand Children and their 14 spouses and the fast growing number of Great Grand Children which has grown to 20 with the additions of Oliver in New York and Lily in Denver, my family now numbers 64.
Lois and Del: The Dakota RamblersHow wonderful to see the results of that first meeting with Lois at Butch’s Lunch in Fargo, North Dakota on January 25, 1954. 
How could we have possibly dreamed that this meeting of two teen agers in love would bring the world this great Global family.
Little did daughter Diana know when she married the handsome and charming Ilidio Sacramento from Sao Tome, that she was beginning the Global expansion of our family.
How wonderful to see Grand Children continuing this new tradition as Grand Child Lorna brought to us Rosario this great gentleman from Sicily, Grandson Daniel bringing us Hye Uhn a wonderful lady from Korea and his brother Erik bringing us the beautiful Honey Kim, also from Korea and in July 2017 with Grandson Vaughn we welcome the lovely and gracious Poojah whose family is from India.
Grandson Peter brought us the beautiful Becki this year. Thank You Peter.
New cultures, new traditions, new celebrations and observances to learn about and to love.
How could my immigrant from Sweden Father and my Norwegian family immigrant Mother have possibly known that they were the beginning of what has now become this wonderful  International family.
What a thrill it was to attend Grand Daughter Jenny’s wedding in Lake Mary, Florida in July and share the wedding feast with guests from five continents and many, many countries.
Her marriage to Ben Falcone, whose mother, Anne is from England brought many family members from the United Kingdom and from Canada, while Jenny’s friends and family from England, France, Portugal, Sao Tome and other countries joined the festivities.
Greetings and Thanks to the Jack LeBron family for taking care of me while at Jenny’s wedding.
I am in awe of what these Children, Grand Children and Great Grand Children are doing with their lives and their families.
As daughter Janis put it in a recent Email:
“God truly did bless the union of you and Mom and, I believe, gave you a special mission in preparing children for outreach.  It's awesome and rare how many of your children and grandchildren have worked or served abroad in ministry and humanitarian aid - Gabon, Tanzania, Samoa, Haiti, Rwanda, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, India, Sao Tome, Japan and this year Grand Daughter Jerusha will go to Kosovo with the Peace Corps. Roger with help from thousands of listeners to the Christian radio group, Your Network of Praise has raised tens of thousands of dollars for humanitarian aid to many countries.
I expect we'll keep adding on!  
We were brought up to love God and see beyond borders which made it a natural.  
I'm so grateful for that.”
Thank You Janis. Well said.

And we are thankful and bless our family in the military, Justin, Meagan, Tim, and Daniel for their service to family and country serving in the Middle East “sandbox” and the Far East, Japan, Korea and beyond.

What a fantastic year of Ground Pounding it has been with ML&R, (much love and respect) from the Long Distance motorcycle riding fraternity.
With help from special friend Shareef AsSadiq, I became the oldest Iron Butt Association rider to accomplish the Cross Country ride from Coast to Coast in under 50 hours.
With daughter Linda riding the sidecar I was able to complete the 48 states in 10 days ride.

New friend Hugh Smith III, also known as Highway Smiley recognized Linda and I with his famous “Smiley Ground Pounder” patch.
Thanks Smiley and Dimples it was great meeting you at Morro Bay, California.

Thanks also to Stephanie Hampton and her Get Yonder Magazine crew for doing the 48x10 story about Linda and I in the October issue and for using the picture of Smiley and I on the cover of the November/December issue. Humbled and Honored.
Thanks to SeCCRet the great cross country rider for the wonderful story in the Black Girls Ride on-line magazine and to Porsche, SeCCReet, Mike and Cali Cat for getting me safely through the Los Angeles freeway traffic. What great new long distance rider friends, so many I couldn’t possibly remember all of their names, but please know that each of you give new meaning to the word  friend. The kindness I have been shown by members of the Long Distance Motorcycle Riding Community from all across America will never be forgotten.
From Bill Ryder in Montana who kept my rig in such good shape to Ilidio and Bill in Florida who brought their welding skills to the repair of a broken strut, you are all appreciated.
Greetings also, to our next door, part time neighbors, Chico and Ricci Honda who are spending more time in Kumamoto, Japan now that they have wonderful new Grand Children there.
We look forward to your visit(s) in 2017.
Christmas greetings also to my friend Grace, members of the Seldom Paid Jammers who allow me to bring my banjo and sit in with them at Helena area Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Centers, and to the many friends I have made while playing banjo at the Helena Farmers Market. You are all appreciated.

Swiss explorer and writer Isabelle Eberhart expressed the feelings and emotions of every Long Distance Motorcycle Rider when she said:
"Life on the open road is liberty, to be alone,
to have few needs, to be unknown,
everywhere a foreigner and everywhere at home.”

Thanks Family and Friends for bringing the world a little closer together for all of us and for making 2016 a magnificent episode in the life of this first generation Scandinavian immigrant.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Ride!


  1. Del, wonderful sentiments to a growing circle of family and friends.

    Mark your calendar for July 28-29, Corning NY for the 2017 USCA sidecar rally. Hope to see you there.

    1. Thanks CCjon, looking forward to the Corning Adventure.