Friday, December 23, 2022


by Todd Heimdahl


As a teacher in middle school, I always hoped that something I said or did would have a good effect on one of my students. You never know who you will touch or what your words will mean to someone. I can think of some of my own teachers, who made that kind of a difference in my life.

The other day, I received a card from Carole, the wife of one of my cousins. Enclosed with her note, she included a comic strip drawn by my cousin, Todd Heimdahl, when he was about 13. Todd went on to become a fine artist and college art instructor instead of a cartoonist. In his own work, he used pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor to make beautiful representations of the Great Plains. His work shows the emptiness, the stillness, and the beauty of the prairie. He is one of several cousins influenced by my dad, who wrote to him about becoming an artist and writer. Here is what my dad said: 

"Todd, keep drawing everything you see, people, animals, other objects, and with both your writing and drawing ability, you have a wonderful chance to develop. Don't ever let yourself become discouraged at anything, drawing or writing, because there is always an answer. You are young and you may see later that you want to do something else, but no matter what, you are sharpening your brain and talents now, and that will mean a lot to you later in life.

"Besides your drawing, keep a notebook to write down the funny happenings around home or school, the things your mother or father say, and your grandparents, uncles and aunts do and say, and others. You will set a habit for observation, and an artist and writer needs that."

As I read this letter from 1954, I could hear my dad saying those words and knew that I had been influenced by his way of life as I was growing up. I hope they will have meaning for all of you too.

two pen and ink drawings by Todd Heimdahl

The best to all of you this season!

Two good books to read:


  1. What good advice your father had. It's a path to a rich, deep life. Merry Christmas, Martha!

    1. Merry Christmas to you too, Flo. Thanks for your comment. My dad was a special person, for sure.


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