Meet Your Neighbor: Woman offers ministry of music, love

Carol Halverson plays peppy piano tunes during lunch hour at the Milaca Senior Dining site.

Milaca – Many neighbors of Milaca and the Milaca Park Apartments know Carol Halverson for her piano playing, long walks around town and a one-woman ministry of love.

She said, “The reason I witness to people is to let them know: Somebody loves you.”
Halverson, a resident of the apartments the past four years or so, said she tries to love people no matter what and doesn’t care if they drink or smoke or what because “everybody needs love.” She said people are a ministry because everyone has some kind of gift to share.
People who eat at the Milaca Senior Dining site, which is on the lower level of the Milaca Park Apartments, know Halverson well and even applaud her in thanks during each lunch period. She comes downstairs each weekday a little after 11 a.m. and proceeds to play peppy piano tunes for everyone’s lunchtime entertainment.
She plays everything from memory and does not have music or a song sheet in front of her. Halverson said she never learned to read music but has been playing piano since she was a child. Her mother had played piano and had learned the skill from a woman who lived across the street in their North Minneapolis neighborhood.
Halverson said the neighbor also tried to teach her how to read music and play from it. The music-reading lessons never stuck, but she learned to play an endless number of songs on the piano and autoharp.
“When it comes to the piano,” Halverson said, “stuff just comes to me. It’s a gift God gave me.”
Halverson said she has seven children and “lots of grandchildren” who are spread out in different places. She also has four brothers and three sisters and says they all grew up in North Minneapolis. She’s lived there or in Milaca all of her life except for a few months when she was away at college.
The Milaca neighbor is a widow and said she was married to her second husband for 23 years. She liked to play and he liked to sing, so they got along well and would visit churches and other places to make music together.
Halvorson smiles that she hasn’t always “been with the Lord” and instead used to be “rough, tough and just enough.” For this reason, she says she is better able to understand some people’s perspectives. She said she had a good mother who was saved and then began to minister to her family; Halverson said her mother led everyone to God, and she’s following in those footsteps.
Halverson, who turns 87 in December, is well-known for walking around town. She goes daily “if she feels good,” and usually stays gone for about an hour. Asked where she goes, Halverson replies “all over.”
Many in the community have probably received one of the custom tracts she hands out regularly. On them she testifies to God’s grace in her own words, paraphrasing Scripture or penning an original poem to lift people’s spirits. For example, one of the tracts is an original poem titled “Somebody Loves You.” She attends the Lighthouse Church and said she enjoys being among the people and hearing the music.
Halverson said she’s had cancer twice and both times “the Lord healed” her. She said she plays music and interacts with people to try and lift them up the way she’s been lifted. Several fans in the senior dining room said they look forward to the music each day and that Halverson’s upbeat tunes and kind spirit are a true blessing.