Monday, June 28, 2010



Location:  30,000 feet above Wyoming. 

I’m on the way to Sweden with Victor and Lina. We set the alarm for 7:00, ate breakfast and headed out the door for check-in with Delta airlines.  I was expecting a zoo of people, but instead it went quite smoothly with their self check-in. 

Last night we all drove up to Park City for the Midsummer celebration.  A holiday that is wildly popular in the Scandinavian countries, stemming back to the days of the Vikings.  They saw it as a time to honor the longest day of the year and the fertility of the human race.  Yes many a child has his or her birthday in March.

We had the Maypole from last years festival; a large 4x4 pressure treated wood pole with a cross bar on it.  This is then covered in leafy twigs cut off of bushes and then adorn with flowers.  String is generally used to wrap the greenery around the pole.  

We were also late driving up there, putting the entire pole decorating ceremony on hold.  Somehow when we tied the large wooden cross to the top of the car, I thought wearing a white robe would have fit in better. It looked like we were heading  to a KKK rally.  I was waiting for the first cop to pull us over and start the questioning process. 

The women took over the decorating tradition as we arrived. Most of the guys grouped together with some stout beer in hand.  David Maribello, our electrician friend had just finished a job wiring up a brewery and of course had a rather large collection of their most potent products in the form of liter bottles.  This of course attracted more guys to join our group in conversation, as the women worked.   In this organization the majority is Swedish wives married to Americans.  We all had something in common, foreign wives.

Soon the dinner bell rang out and we lined up for the smorgasbord of food, starting with herring and potatoes.  Most of the guys gleefully fill their plates up with the fish, as the Swedish tradition is to wash it down with Aquavit, a potent 40 percent-spiced vodka.  With each shot the group broke into Swedish songs, most of which I would be shot for translating. Especially when they deal with the sexual arousal of women, or the stiffness of certain male parts.

When everyone is to the point of finding it difficult to balance, the games begin.  We split up into seven groups and were given names from each day of the week.  The completion was fierce, as Monday’s group was yelling out primeval grunts. 

The first task was to loop a string around your ear with a piece of candy tied to the end.  You then had to run up to an empty wine bottle and gingerly try to lower the piece, in this case, a Swedish fish into the neck of the bottle.  No hand could be used and it took a while.  A three-legged race followed with half of the contestants flailing on the ground. They saved the most dangerous until last.  “The boot tossing”.  This is where to victim gets into more or less a football squat stance and the boot is then tossed between the legs, arcing it over the back in an attempt to propel it forward.  The result usually ends up with the boot flying straight up in the air and landing on some unsuspecting contestant.  I deflected one away from Lina head.  It was a fun evening for everyone. 

At 11;00 we finally headed back down the valley, we had an early morning to deal with.


Richard Boyer

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