Joyful Nordic Humor includes an essay, "The Finn Who Would Not Take A Sauna" about Garrison Keillor, noted for his radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion." Finland has a million saunas. Joyful includes lefse and lutefish jokes, and lots of laughter!
"Church Lady" Jonna Jensen, a parish pastor in Central City, Iowa, affirms in this book: "One of the best things about Scandinavian humor is that we tell jokes on ourselves. We learn not to take ourselves too seriously. When people come to worship on Sunday morning, they've either had a hellacious week, or they're going to have a hellacious week. You can't start the holy haranguing until people are feeling safe and welcomed and relaxed." Then with little warning she launches into "Ole is praying, and he says,' God, vy you make my Mrs. Lena so cute? Vy you make her cheeks so rosy? Vy you make her dimples so sweek? Vy you make her dumplings so light? Vy you make her so huggable under da feder bed at night? Vy you make my Len dat way?' And God says, 'Yah, Ole, dat's so you vil love her.' And Ole prays some more and says, 'God vy you make my Lnea so pitiful stupid?' and God answers, "Yah, der Ole, dat's so she vil love you.'" Whether it's Ole and Lena jokes, the antics of "weekend Vikings," the assiduous preparations of "church basement" women, the "creation" of Finn-America's Saint Urho, or the ritual consumption of lye-soaked lutefisk "like lemmings to the sea," Nordic Americans go all out. This collection of essays, stories, photos, cartoons, and folk art, reflects this hilarity with spirited thoroughness.