Friday, 11 January 2008

My Danish Friend Died...


Yesterday I got an e-mail from Denmark, saying that the last of my Danish friends, whom I wrote about in December, has died. He will be buried next week in the church yard where his parents and brother, who drowned in the Netherlands, are buried. He has very loving and caring relatives. One of his cousins I met in 2002 when I was in Denmark with my sister.
She works at and open air museum, not far from Copenhagen, where all kind of old trades are demonstrated. My Danish friend was a member of the organization that supports this museum. After the funeral there will be a funeral meeting and a meal in one of the buildings of the museum. I can't go as it's too far. Besides I think I should have gone to him when he was still alive.
I shall always remember the many times he and his parents met us, either here in my house or at their farm. The first time I stayed at their house, it was three years after Bent drowned in the Netherlands.
I was hitch hiking with another Dutch girl through Denmark and we were invited at the farm. The Danes are very hospitable. I remember that we had six meals a day. A few hours after breakfast, when the farmers had been working in the field, we were called for "Kaffe" and we had pancakes with of course lots and lots of other lovely cookies and".smørrebrød". Smørrebrød is a thin slice of bread with a lovely salad on it, consisting of a slice of tomato, a piece of lettuce, a slice of meat and all kind of herbs.Anyway we had coffee too and we liked it all very much for we too had been working with the farmers. One of them asked me:" can you drive the tractor?", and without giving it a thought, I said :"Yes". Mind you the only thing I could drive or ride was my bike. Anyway I sat on the thing and drove it. But when I had to stop it, I didn't know how to do it. The farmers ran after the tractor, shouting at me, while I was going round and round until at last one of the Danes jumped on the tractor and stopped it. Afterwards there was a lot of laughter and the story was told over and over again. Between lunch and dinner we had another meal of smørre brød and coffee. After dinner we had coffee and before turning in we got something which was called "rød grød med fløde", a kind of red porridge with red fruit, like cherries or plumbs with double cream or sour cream.That was my first impression of Denmark and since then I often went there with my husband and children and the Danish family stayed with us in Holland. I tried to prepare six meals for them and made coffee for them. The Scandinavians are the greatest coffee drinkers in Europe . They taught me how to make smørrebrød, to say "tak for kaffe"or "takk for maten" (Norwegian) and "tak for mad"(Danish). I shall never forget this Danish family!


Patty said...

So sorry to hear about your friend.
I remember you posting an article about him and his brother.

Sounds like you had a lovely time that summer. My goodness hitch hiking was rather risky wasn't it? Perhaps not, because even over here, at one time, almost anyone could hitch hike across the US and not have to worry about either being molested or murdered by either the hitch hiker or the person picking them up. Now adays it's very dangerous to try it.

The six meals a day they had must have been very healthy, other wise I would think they would have gained a lot of weight, but then they also were working out in the fields, burning off what ever they had eaten.

reader Wil said...

Yes we had a lovely summer. And all our Scandinavian holidays were fantastic. Hitch hiking was not dangerous at the time. It was though in France, Italy and more of those southern countries. I never went to those countries. The Scandinavians are a bit calmer than the Mediterranean people, besides we had no money.
It was amazing that I didn't think that there were so many fat people at the time. I wonder why!

kostas said...

hard-luck story and sorrow for the loss of your beloved friend.
Be always healthy him to remember, thus with love and good reasons.

kostas said...

Very good are the photograph, the flower splendid, this season open, do know his name?

reader Wil said...

Thanks Kostas! The flower is a flower of the kapok tree. This flower grows in north Australia on Lizard Island, where I spent a day with my daughter and her three children.

jodi said...

I'm glad you visited my blog, and it's nice to come and see yours. I'm sorry about your friend's death, but your posting is a lovely tribute to his life and that of his family. A slice of history that brings the past stirringly to life.

reader Wil said...

Thank you so much, Jodi for your nice comment. The death of my friend, whom I have known for 53 years, brought back that day in August 1954, when his younger brother drowned here in The Netherlands. I wrote about him last month.