Today the Christmas tree comes down. Overdue, but Daniel has been sick on the couch and he's so nostalgic about the twinkle lights season that we had to let it linger. It was a good one, and I have time to write about it since I'm not yet ready to go outside into the deep freeze. It's a sunny blue morning, good view, lap dog, great coffee; I'm not complaining.
Since it is well below zero, Andy replenished the bird feeder. The kind and gentle little nuthatches, grosbeaks and chickadees just lost their turn. They were replaced by the big bully bluejays and squirrels who get first dibs. We have a fox that occasionally raids the bird feeder, and when I watch him it makes me miss Pepper, our childhood cat. Not that much however. When I went to college I came home allergic to Pepper, and now I can’t touch cats , unless they are especially appealing and worth the eye itching episode. I might take a chance on this fox, if he would let me cuddle. Do you suppose foxes have dander in their lovely coats?
Here's Jamie, staffer for part of the summer of 2007, and we’re hoping for the summer of 2011. Shelby gave her a few pointers, as she cross country skied. First time ever=yep, still speedier than me. Noah also came to hang with us, work, and to coach me through the final steps of the rubics cube puzzle. I keep it handy so I can show anybody, I'm so proud. Daniel says, “Yep, Mom, now you’ll be the only one on the Alzeimer’s ward who can complete the rubics cube.”
Our friend Kelly brought Torben and Tine from Denmark to Cabin 5. We were their exotic Tuscarora winter experience.They remind me how huge the world is-- we’re not at a time in our lives that we get to visit foreign countries, and when I meet the travelers, I crave that unique adventure sometimes.
We were doing our New Years' tradition---playing broomball, eating food, playing the name game with some families and people who were here. Regular noise. And these two were in a different world. I liked sitting with them sometimes, and watching the commotion. They were comfortable enough in the American culture, but we layered that with our traditional crowd--a familiar culture all our own. When people are functioning with a bunch of strangers in a different language, it's ironic that they always look a little dazed and learning disabled. I was envious of that experience--I happen to think it's the stuff of life--the sort of stimulating challenge=really living.
Do you know how goofy it is to try to play “Catch Phrase” in a different language? When there isn’t a translation for “Let the cat out of the bag” or other American idioms blurted as quickly and cryptically as possible? Woah. That was the funniest.
They were good sports about letting Shelby put stickers on their foreheads—Tine had to mingle and guess “Madonna”. Torben was George Bush. He was brilliant as sort of an amateur anthropological researcher—he could nail people in his insightful observations. I just was getting a kick out of sitting on the sidelines, listening to him, then every once in a while I’d interrupt ----OK, say it in German, now in French…….now Danish…….and Greenlandish (Greenlander? Greenlandese?). He could also speak Farose. I speak English and un poquito espanol. Nada mas of anything. And I did not know about the Faro Islands between Denmark and Iceland. Maybe they sometimes appeared dazed and learning disabled in my world, but I knew better. They were the smart ones.
They also brought with them some sort of Scandinavian tradition of rolling in the snow in the buff.. We did not join them in this escapade…I just cannot see…I just, well, I’m not sure why anyone would choose to do that without a sauna.
As they were preparing to leave, I asked them what they did in Denmark. I knew Tine sewed cool things from sealskin, but I wondered what else. Torben showed me a leather bracelet, sort of a rounded rope, simple, but nice I thought. He said he’d been wearing it for a year or so, in the garden, in the shower, to see how well the leather holds up. I liked his, so I offered to take him to the Tuscarora Trading Post and trade it for a sweatshirt. I am not so up on Scandinavian fashion. It turns out might just as well have asked Louis Vitton to trade a Tuscarora mug for a nice little shoulder bag. It was a very popular designer piece.
I think, for a brief moment, I was like a tourist in their world. As I stuck my foot in my mouth, and they laughed at me- I was dazed and learning disabled, and ---in that last hour, we might have become the kind of friends that last.
They sincerely invited us to visit Denmark. And maybe…..someday? Someday, I hope to make world travel a thing that works in my life, for my family. They were relaxed, and experts, and---well, we bonded. I’m glad for that. And if I ever get one of these , I know better than to remove the little ring that identified the designer bracelet as an original. Tine laughed at me, because…….well, to be honest, she recognized that it is the first thing I might have done.