You all know that our fourth child, Nicole, went on an LDS church mission to the magical land of Norway. So, naturally anytime she bumps into someone from there, they begin chatting in melodious vowels and upswings that I cannot hope to understand. But I love to watch and, to my credit, I have learned their fabulous, bouncy birthday song.
So a few weeks ago St. Bob and I decided to have a family reunion-- Just a small gathering of our four far-flung children, a daughter-in-law, and a girlfriend. We’ve given up hope on getting everybody in one spot for the holidays—someone is always missing. So we chose a random long weekend when everyone could get away, and met in Salt Lake City. And it was absolutely fabulous. On Saturday we rode the Alpine Slides and Coasters in Park City:
Then we went out for sushi. And in walked an old, crusty panhandler in a cowboy hat, vest, and boots. He asked if any of us could spare some money for a Norwegian veteran. Nicole, seated right at the end of the table where he now stood, perked right up and began to speak to him in Norwegian.
To say that panic filled his eyes might be an exaggeration, but he quickly back-pedaled, waving her away and saying, “Not so much,” before accepting some money and scooting on his way. We could only imagine his thoughts: Dang! What are the odds I’d run into someone who actually speaks Norwegian?! He probably chose the least likely language he expected to encounter.
The next day we attended the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Music and the Spoken Word broadcast (for whom I’ve been a writer for 20 years), and toured Temple Square.
And whom should we see, parking a motorhome on the curb just as we were leaving? Our “Norwegian” friend, again! This guy can’t seem to get a break. Though panhandling is popular at this huge tourist attraction, the Temple grounds also draw people from literally everywhere in the world.
Maybe he should look up the least spoken languages, as I did today, and he could claim to be one of the eight people in the world who speak chimicuro (from Peru), or Dumi (from Nepal—again eight speakers worldwide), or Ongota (from Ethiopia). Of course, with tours in 47 languages, he’s still taking his chances.
Grab some great books to give your family members at your next gathering—I have 23 of them to choose from right here!