Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's May

"Norway celebrates country and constitution on May 17th, which is like a Norwegian Independence Day. In Norwegian, this day is called "Syttende Mai" (May 17th), or Grunnlovsdagen (Constitution Day). "
So I'm waiting for 17 May; a day of celebration for all the Sons of Norway; a.k.a., the Vikings.
Born in and of the Northland, surrounded by towering mountains and deep fjords, my great grandmother came to America on a sailing age 15. She made her way from New York  to Yellowstone Park where she worked as a maid in the Yellowstone hotel. Everyone called her "Bonnie." While at the hotel she met and married a man (Pop Main) who was a chef. He worked some of the finest restaurants across the nation and ended up as a chef at the Olympic Hotel in Tacoma, Washington. I vaguely remember him. I was told that he had a temper; perhaps that was because he was one-half Spaniard.
The story goes that one day while at home he was sharpening a kitchen knife on one of those long, steel, sharpening shanks (I have his) when the cat walked by purring and wavering it's erect tail. Well, the cat was Manx'ed on the spot. (If you don't get it, don't ask me to explain further).
Pop Main and Bonnie were prolific. After my grandmother was born (third from youngest) Bonnie went to visit Norway...for two years...and when she returned my grandmother only spoke Norwegian. Perhaps that long visit was a 19th century version of birth control.
On both sides of the family there is Norwegian blood; 100% paternal and 50% maternal. Probably I should buy some dried cod, soak it in lye water, change the water several times, and then boil it and serve it up to all my enemies. Lutelisk, we call it, and such an odor you have not known since Rotefisk (it means "rotten fish") or ( Durian (a tropical fruit that smells so bad it is fobidden in hotels).
On the plate, Lutefisk is like a blob of soggy jello; one has to be sober and have a steady hand to keep it there. Rotefisk is opened outside and under water because the tin can bulges at the ends from the fermentation process and literally explodes.
Bonnie Main (widowed many years) and Lud Christiansen (never married and took care of his widowed mother) were good friends and drinking buddies. One day coming home from the tavern, Lud was carry a gallon jug of beer. We lived on high bank property and there were about 15 steps from the street to the porch. Lud was almost to the top when he fell and rolled all the way to the sidewalk. Hugging the gallon of beer like a sweetheart, he swayingly stood up and yelled, "...she ain't broke..."
The question is, if I were to celebrate Norwegian Independance Day, what would I do? I don't drink. I hate Lutefisk....I know...I'll put up the Norwegian vimple (a 6' long penant-like flag I brought from Norway) and stand there celebrating. Of course, my (mostly) English wife will have no idea what I am doing and I'll have to explain the whole thing. Probably I'll just look at the vimple. e. Christiansen (son of Christian).

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