Thanksgiving Inside a Norwegian Storm
Norwegians name their storms every year just like the storms in the southern Atlantic: using first names starting with one that begins with letter “A”. The last two days, storm Berit hit. In American classification, Berit is about the strength of a strong tropical storm just below a full-fledged hurricane. Of course, islands get the full brunt of the storm. Here at Rødøy, we had winds around 60 miles an hours for a full day. The people and buildings here are used to winds like that, but this time, the storm surge was very high: some say the highest in 40 years. From our window, we can see a couple of houses on stilts submerged in water.
Two days ago, it was just drizzling and the wind was not so strong, so I took the kids down to the ferry dock to look at the high water. When we got down there, we saw black streaks over the oceans that appear to be headed our way. So we turned around, and within a minute, we were attacked by hail that flew sideways in winds that threatened to lift us off the ground. Besides the pain inflicted by little ice pellets, it was the sound, the loudness, that I remember the most. Definitely the most violent weather I had even been exposed to. Thankfully, we were close to the general store, so I grabbed both kids and ran inside for shelter. They were not scared: they were exhilarated. Me too. I wanted more than ever to sail in weather like that. It makes you feel alive.
So it was in the middle of this storm on Rødøy we carried on the tradition of American Thanksgiving, the best of all American traditions. It’s a day of giving thanks to the two best things in life: people and food. We planned a dinner for yesterday, Saturday. And as luck would have it, two families on the island had their company Christmas parties canceled due to the storm, so we were graced with their company, and their formiddable stomaches. It was the best turkey I’ve ever made, through the long process of brining and drying on the day of roasting. The meat was moist and very flavorful — more flavorful than the local turkeys in Boston.
And today, the snow finally came. Winter days before the snow are always the worst. They have the bad parts of winter: cold and dark and rain, without the good part, which is the snow. The kids sang in the church choir today as snow fell softly outside the window, and after the service everyone went to the lighting of the town Christmas tree just outside the nursing home, and a group of people, including Kristin and the kids, sang around the tree. Just the sort of thing that happens in a fairytale small town.
All in all, a great weekend, which is very timely, because I had just started to get grouchy.