In the pause between the main course and coffee there is space for much to be said. When hunger is satisfied, attention can move to finer things than a gurgling stomach.  This span of relaxation, when senses are laid-back, is the optimal time for stories to unravel.

When far-away family recently came over to meet their relatives in the Swedish motherland, stories flourished as faraway cousins from the two sides of the Atlantic got together around a long meal.

One side remembered the jars of quaint jello sent over by the American aunts, and the more interesting newspaper wrapping. A now seventy-year-old family member recollected how,  when visiting the relatives in America as a young man, he was asked to fetch some watermelon from the fridge and ended up staring into the guts of the cooler not knowing what he was supposed to look for.

reunitedThe American side shared the experience of growing up in a Scandinavian community on the new continent and recalled festive occasions on which the culinary abomination of lutefisk had to be endured out of respect for the older generation’s sentiment.

ostkakaFragments of a memory puzzle collectively put together over a table laden with smoked fish and meat, salads, ornate homemade bread, Swedish cheese-cake, cake roll, whipped cream and forest fruit.

My favourite story of all, was  that of a great-grandmother, the eldest daughter of a couple of hard-working and up-coming farmers. As a young woman she got hired as a maid at a nearby estate.  At  some point, she returned to her family home and revealed to her mother that she was pregnant. Her mother did not even let her take her coat off. Instead, she hurriedly grabbed her by the hand and walked with her back to the estate to speak to the landowner.

When they arrived  he was not in, so they were asked to please sit down and wait. The mother retorted that their errand was not of the “sitting” kind. She  declared that  they knew who the father of the child was and that they did not wish to know of him.  Having said, she took her daughter back home.  Mission accomplished.

I find this story beautiful because it shows how massively important the support and acceptance of parents are. It is also beautiful because my great-grandmother got restitution by probably the most important person to her.  Knowing that  my great-grandmother later got married, had several children, toiled  and  died a precocious death in tuberculosis together with two young daughters, makes this story even more worth telling.

That is the true value of a good story. Even if it springs from the past and often tells about  harsh times, it can give away beams of hope and comfort for the future..

1 comment
  1. Reblogged this on Sadness Theory and commented:
    One day reflecting over your heritage and the history of your ancestors can leave such an impact. The stories that were told that day have us a taste of the past. Just a love how this blog can make you see how.
    Storytelling is a way to describe and pass forward our experience and this is often a source of inspiration to my music. Memories, dreams and thoughts weaved in with a melody that can describe a feeling.

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Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

the chickonapea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts

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