Our First Night Out
Last Saturday there was a country music concert at Klokkergarden, the only hotel on Rødøy. We got two of Kristin’s students to babysit for us and headed out for our first night out since we came here. We went to our neighbor’s house for a beer, and waited for the hotel shuttle. Yes, hotel shuttle. It was pouring sideways outside as it had been for 2 weeks. Plus, at 25 minutes, the walk from our house to Klokkergården is the longest on the island.
Klokkergaården occupies perhaps the most picturesque and protected piece of land on the island. It sits by a bay on a well manicured lawn; behind it is Rødøyløva, the vertical mountain peak of the island. It used to be a hopelessly dilapidated farm house, which the current owner Malin transformed into a charming and cozy country inn. Many gatherings in the larger community beyond this island take place in the hotel. That night, there was a meeting of regional postal workers.
The band was one singer, named Hans-Arne Arntsen — a great entertainer with a guitar, accompanied by a full electronic ensemble. He drove no less than 14 hours to get here. I’m no country music fan, but even I recognized “Fire” by Johnny Cash. There were about 40 people gathered around six tables, about half of which were regional postal workers. Age range was wide: a couple of 70 year olds were there.
The highlight of the evening was a strange game. Everyone was given a piece of paper to write down the name of any person in the room, and the pieces of paper were tossed in a bowl. The singer picked a card and a package from a pile, all slightly risqué. Then, he picked two names from the bowl, who would be the pretended sender and receiver of gift. One man sitting at our table with his girlfriend, for example, had to hand a card bearing a gift of a bike pump to another woman at our table. And the woman had to stand and read the card out loud holding the bike pump, which, in the dimly lit room, looked unmistakably like a dildo. At least after too many Nordlands Pils, the Bud Light of Norway, this was very funny. Everyone was into it, because all the people know each other very well.
Time went by fast. People danced, talked, and of course, drank. At 1 am Kristin announced that it was probably time to go home so the babysitters could get to bed. An elderly woman at the table said she and her husband usually went home no earlier than 4 am back in the days when they used babysitters. So we stayed for another hour until 2 am.
We had never stayed out that late since we became parents 6 years ago.