The Curse of the Luther Bell

Allow me to tell you a story. A spooky story that I felt was perfect for the season and this day. Happy Halloween everyone!

evil waitress

– – – – – – – – –

This is the story of the Curse of the Luther Bell. Now, you’re probably sitting there going, “Really, Kat? A bell? At your very Lutheran college?” and I’m sitting her saying “Yes, a bell” in a very spooky voice with a flashlight held under my chin. This particular bell belongs to Luther College, a quaint little place in the far northeast of Iowa, where nothing worse than a few drunk assholes setting off the fire alarm in the Freshman dorms occurs.

OR IS IT?

grevious stare

Near the Union, the only building other than the dorms the parents ever see, the rests a pillared structure. Lounging between the two pillars rests the bell. Though quiet, iconic, and picturesque, this bell holds a curse, a curse which has been in place from the time the college was started, 150 years ago . . .

Picture it readers: Forests stretching out to unknown destinations, the river winding its way lazily through the quiet town of Decorah, where Norwegian-Americans have come to create a lovely haven for those who wish to pretend the really didn’t leave the desolate coasts of Norway for the desolate plains of Iowa. Or however Decorah got settled. I don’t really know. Something something Norway something is about all I hear in town.

people skills

I know! I know!

*ahem*

In this place, this place of quiet and occasional floods, some Norwegian guy decided to build a college! This college was placed upon a hill, a great symbol of higher learning and the new future the people of Decorah would have in this new world! It was also placed upon this hill because it would have been washed away by floods if they had put it lower with the other houses that got flooded. This college soon became a beacon of education in this little part of America that for some reason produced a lot of those kinds of schools . . . A great building, known now as Main I, was constructed, perched on this hill, overlooking her kingdom with all the regal splendor of any of those European queens that actually ruled over things, a crown for Decorah in the river valley. Tolling proudly in Main I was the bell.

The Bell of Luther College. Cast to celebrate this glorious college. Little did they know, the bell had an ancient Norwegian curse on it.

witchcraft

Oh, yeah, bet you didn’t know that part of the story, did ya? It’s true, 100%. The ancient Nordic gods were displeased with the Norwegians for leaving their home country and Loki, the great god of Mischief and Fucking-Shit-Up, came down to Luther College, the pride of this new settlement of deserters, and whispered to the bell. And do you know, dear readers, what he told it? Two simple, simple words, whispered sweetly to this bell.

destroy everything loki

Deep in the night, on a perfect spring evening in May 1898, a fire sparked to life. The fire spread quickly, raging with supernatural purpose, consuming the building and the bell, burning Main I to the ground. Nothing remained, not even the vengeful bell. But that does not stop the story. Oh no, dear readers. There’s more.

Another bell was made from the same mold and maker and patiently awaited placement in the next Main, Main II. Though the first bell was taken by the fire, the curse remained, carried by the spirit of the bell and embedded even deeper into the second bell. Ceremoniously, it was placed in Main II, which was by far the most beautiful building on campus (more building having been added to the main campus at this point). It towered above, even more castle-like than the first, spires rising majestically toward the clouds, lording over the river valley with even more pretentious fop than the first. All who came to Luther couldn’t help but notice this amazing building, keeping time with the reverberating tones from the bell as it was rung.

Main II stood proudly for nearly 60 years, watching benevolently as the college grew and thrived, increasing in size and diversity. The community grew, and peace settled over the land. There were good times and bad, but they were weathered with the fortitude of Norwegians who were now considerably more American, but still with creepy little gnomes in almost every window. Through all this, the bell waited, the curse ever present.

In 1942, another mysterious blaze engulfed Main II. The bell had extracted another victim, another fire, another moment of terror for Luther College. Students, faculty, and staff mourned the loss of the beloved structure of Main II, which was promptly replaced with one of the ugliest, most boring buildings in the world, perhaps even the Universe. Flat, drab, and hated by all, Main III was a better punishment than the curse could have hoped for. Now, instead of reverence for the building, residents simply felt disgust and loathing toward what once was a symbol of the college.

Tragically for the college, the bell’s justice did not end there, for it was moved to another building that was held in the higest regard. If the residents couldn’t praise Main II as the jewel of the college, they could still have the Preus Gymnasium, named after one of their most revered historical figures, where the bell was moved to next. Through this building, they could still celebrate their college. Even though there was really no reason for the curse to really be relevant anymore at this point, that is no the way of curses.

a lesson needs to be learned here

So Preus Gymnasium had to go. 19 years after Main II burned down, yet another blaze consumed the gym. The bell had struck its final victim (ha ha bell pun). With nothing but the charred remains of not one but three buildings, the bell was retired to where it stands now, a symbol of Luther College, proudly displayed in front of the Union, as though it isn’t plotting its next victim.

We can only hope, dear readers, that the curse has be altered somewhat to just burning down a building in the near vicintiy, and that Main III will be next. Because, seriously, everyone hates that building. The structure doesn’t make sense, it’s ugly, and in general just a boring piece of architecture and they refuse to change it! Come on Curse of the Bell! Get on with it already!

– – – – – – – –

I hope you enjoyed this little story of our local Curse, dear readers. Many of the facts are actually true, but some are not. Actually, the only thing that isn’t proven to be true is that Loki cursed the bell. Those three buildings did burn down and the bell was in all three. Spooky, right? Muahahahahaha! Happy Halloween readers!

Pies and Why I Shouldn’t Make Them

Alright, so, I realize I’ve been rather silent for a while, readers, with only the E-Card Wednesdays in my absence, but I have reasons. Partly, I’ve been swamped by school work for the last couple of weeks, and then we had Fall Break, in which I did nothing but sleep and work on more work. This semester sucks.

dead

But anyway, I’m back and shenanigans are afoot! This time they involve . . . pie.

Unlike Dean Winchester, I’m not a huge fan of pie. But I went out fruit picking with my friends and we came home with two loaded boxes of grapes and apples. So, which one did I make the pie with? That’s right. Grapes. Stupid idiot.

extremely awkward moment

Soooo, that’s probably my first mistake. In my defense, we had three quarts of the things taking up space in our freezer, which is often a problem in this house. It happens when there are six people all trying to eat on a budget and Luther College can’t quite grasp that concept . . . . Anyway, I was trolling through browsing Pinterest, which is how I occupy 95% of my spare time these days, and came across a recipe for grape pie. Now, I like grapes. A lot. And we had so many, I thought “Great! This will be tasty and I can use up most of the grapes in the freezer!” and quickly copied the recipe to a note on my phone, not being on my computer at the time and it being in a long blog post I didn’t want to scroll through again. Which was my second mistake. There are a couple of things on the recipe that I’m preettyyy suurree were explained in the blog post that I didn’t have.

Oh well.

The process involved peeling the grapes and then boiling them and sending them through a strainer to get the seeds out. Well, being in college with minimal storage, we don’t have a strainer! I’m not even sure what that is. So guess what we had to do? Seed the grapes by hand. And that’s where things started really going downhill because . . . I needed 4 cups of grapes. Needless to say, but the third hour, we were all like

sobbing

And let me tell you, that shit stains your fingers like nobody’s business. It looks like I’m some kind of tobacco addict to the extreme, the way my fingers look. Yeesh! I forget that grapes are some of the worst stainers of the fruit family. I won’t forget now, will I?! It was made both better and worse by the fact that the grapes were frozen. It made the peeling process easier, especially when they started to melt and would just pop out of their skins like good little grapes, but by the end of the first hour, we couldn’t feel our fingers. Brrr! Not doing that again!

Finally, at around 11 o’clock, having started at 7, we had all the grapes peeled and seeded and I was ready to be done with the stupid pie making business, just needing to boils and simmer it for a few minutes and then mix it together with a flour and sugar combo to make the filling. I would have everything done by midnight at the latest! Hooray!

You felt the dramatic irony creeping up on me, didn’t you?

hello bruce

THE FILLING WAS ENOUGH TO MAKE THREE PIES!!! *sob* When I looked it the amount of filling I had when compared to my pie crust in my chintzy-ass tinfoil pie tin that I bought at Fareway for a buck, I basically just

ice cream

It was 11:30, I was halfway through a margarita with extra tequila which I should not ever drink, I had two more pie crusts to make, I was dangerously low on butter, and I was just like THIS HAD BETTER BE THE FUCKING BEST PIE I’VE EVER HAD OR I’M GOING TO STAB SOMEONE!!!! Probably Derek.

emotional twirling

I did it. Oh man, it was 1 o’clock by the time they were done, and I was worried, because the pies were still really jiggly when I put them in the fridge and freezer and forced my friend Derek to take one home. But today, they had set up and, though the crust is a little on the thick side (my crust rolling abilities extremely lacking, especially with the tequila’s help), it actually is one of the best damn pies I’ve ever tasted.

celebrate

So, to end it all, here’s the recipe, for anyone who wants to go through their own crazy grape adventure.

Concord Grape Pie

Remember that the crust only makes 1 pie and the filling makes 3 pies

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter

3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Filling:
1 1/2 pounds Concord Grapes (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup Sugar
1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
Topping:
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter
Line pie plate with crust and set aside. Remove skins from grapes (see note above), setting skins aside and place grape pulp into a nonreactive saucepan. Bring pulp to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pass through a strainer to remove all the seeds then add the skins back into the puree. In a large bowl combine sugar, flour and salt. Mix well then add the grape mixture and the butter. Mix well again then pour into prepared pie shell. Cover edges with foil to prevent over browning and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile make the crumb topping by mixing together the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove the pie from the oven. Remove the foil edging and sprinkle crumb mixture over pie. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.