Today I have one of my lazy days. I let my mind go blank and sit on the sofa with my computer in my lap. I surf on the Internet, visit my regular web sites and push the usual thumbs-up on comments that I like. I have my tea at my side, my Easter egg filled with candy and chocolate, and I am trying to get my little grey cells started. That’s not an easy task when they have already been switched off for the holiday.
I look out the window and wonder where all my younger years went. Those days when I could feel spring tickling through all of my body because something nice was about to happen. I would take my bicycle and go to visit an old friend. He was my Godfather, and lived not very far from me. He was always very kind to me, and taught me to appreciate the little things in life, such as a nice bonfire in the evening, and the importance of drinking hot chocolate and eat buns, ice cream or even a simple warm bowl of soup, all parts of enjoying life at its simplest and best.
He’d tell me about his younger days, how he would catch fish of all shapes and sizes, and how to grow flowers and berries, herbs and vegetables, and he even grew his own potatoes and carrots. In autumn he would make his favourite food: pickled herring, with onions and lots of spices, all placed in lots of little glass jars, and I would get a few to bring home with me. I’ve always loved bread with pickled herring, and they come in all kinds of flavours: onion, mustard, tomato and garlic, to mention just a few. It’s like a local version of sushi, and it is an old traditional part of Norwegian Cuisine.
My old friend always had time for me. He would cheer me up if I was down, and I never went home sad after a visit. He once gave me a small flower, and told me that I had to plant it in the garden and give it lots of love and water, so that one day it might grow to be even taller than me, and that the seeds that grew on this flower would be food for the birds in winter. He looked me in the eye and said that one day I would be as tall and beautiful as that flower. And it did grow into a tall, yellow and beautiful sunflower. I don’t remember the exact height, but it must have been close to two metres, and I remember feeling proud as I watched it grow. After this, I have always loved to work with the soil and make plants and flowers grow.
And he was right: although some days are really rough, my life has become better. He gave me such a precious gift, love and attention, kind words and support, he shared his life’s wisdom with me, and took the time to really see me as I am. These are things that I carry forever with me in my heart.
There is one special, dear memory. A few years ago I came to visit, and I found him by the sea, fishing. I was sad, crying, but he smiled at me in that way which always managed to stop my tears, gave me his fishing rod, and gently told me to hush and be quiet, or the rod would lose its luck and then it might not catch any more fish. And I would have to take good care of it, and take it out and go fishing once in a while. I still keep the fishing rod, and from time to time I bring it with me to the sea.
Easter is a time to think, and therefore I write these words in the memory of my old godfather who passed away a few years ago. I visit his grave from time to time and I really wish that he has found everlasting peace.
In my heart you were were my uncle and my friend, a father figure, teacher, gardener and fisherman. Some people leave a piece of themselves in your heart while you journey through life. A piece of you will forever be in mine, and only happy tears will fall when I think of you.
Rest in peace.