Garden Party, et al.

Paul’s 64th birthday was yesterday, June 8th. That is a notable birthday for anyone who is familiar with the Beatles’ song “When I’m 64” from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. When I was a girl, I would listen to that album over and over with headphones in my brother, Tim’s, room. So I am quite familiar with the lyrics and tune. In preparation for this austere event, I asked our oldest, Nathan, if he would make a slideshow to that song featuring a compilation of photos of Paul from over the years, and he said that he would. Knowing that we would be in Norway on his birthday, I planned that if we were not invited to a dinner party for that evening, I would host one. Well, as luck would have it, we were invited to a gathering, a Garden Party, at Astrid and Asbjørn’s, and I told them it was Paul’s birthday and I would bring the cake and candles. She said the cakes were taken care of so I just brought the candles…and the special slideshow.

We arrived at 5 pm, and the 18 or so guests joined us soon thereafter. It was a sunny day with a light breeze, the tables were each set with flowers, glasses, drinks, cloth napkins, and ‘small bites’, and Øystein was hard at work at the grill. He had several kinds of ‘pølse’ (sausages) with toppings of onions, fried onions, ketchup, mustard, and homemade horseradish sauce. When ready to eat, they are wrapped in ‘lompe’ (a tortilla-like wrap) instead of a hot dog bun. Around the three tables were dishes of strawberries, cherries, gerkins, kalamata olives, potato chips, walnuts, and dates. The Froholt’s little pug, Carmen IV, joyfully ran around the party hoping for a treat and some attention. Unlike our dog, Rocky, she didn’t bark one time.

The party went on, we showed the slideshow, they sang Happy Birthday to Paul (the American version), and about 8:00 pm or so, Astrid began serving the second meal of the event (??), a delicious curry chicken and apple soup with hot crusty bread. The sun was still bright in the sky–this is Norway after all and Midsummer is just two weeks away–although it was heading towards the horizon and the temps were dropping slightly. So, people began putting on sweaters or wraps and kept visiting.

Finally it came time for coffee and cake–two kinds brought by guests, Anna and Bente–and the singing of the Norwegian Happy Birthday song. They sing it so enthusiastically, I wish I had videoed it, but restraint got the best of me, and I did not. You’ll have to imagine it.

Throughout the evening, conversations were mostly in Norwegian, but some, especially with me, were gratefully done in English. My Norske is rather rusty, and it may take a few weeks to get most of it back. It was now 10 pm and time for the party to end. I’d say five hours was long enough for a Garden Party. By the time we arrived home, the sun had just set below the horizon of Jeløy, although it was still considerably light outside.


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