A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
The Norwegian solje pin commemorates special occasions. This is a wedding solje, given to a bride by her husband on the morning of her first day as a wife.
My mother, Doris, died on April Fool's Day, also the birthday of her oldest grandson, Casey. As deaths go, this was a good one: more about that later.
But yesterday was a whirlwind of meeting with funeral directors and bankers. Mom had things carefully lined up, and by noon my sister and I were done with what needed doing right away.
We met Karen's grown children, the aforementioned Casey and his sister Molly, for lunch.
Casey's forearm, a pretty massive one, was bandaged. We'd been forewarned, but we feigned ignorance and asked what was up. He lifted the gauze to reveal a tattoo, about six inches long, with a shamrock and in large script, "Doris."
"Oh, that's just what Grandma would have wanted you to do," said Karen, sarcastically. Mom was not fond of tattoos, especially Casey's "sleeve," an elaborate design covering his entire arm.
"Casey, you look like you were in the Navy during the Big One," I said. "Nobody younger than that has 'Doris' on his arm. And what's with the shamrock?"
"Grandma was Irish, wasn't she?"
"No, she was Norwegian. A little bit Irish. Her grandpa Duffy was."
Casey's dad, brother-in-law Larry, has a St. Patrick's Day birthday, so the tattoo will do double duty in the memorial and honoring departments.
"You could have gotten one of those Norwegian pin designs," said Molly, no stranger to the inked needle herself. "But that's pretty complicated."
Like life--and death--I thought.
I'm writing this wearing my great grandmother Sofie's wedding solje--even more lovely than the one pictured--and a boiled wool jacket my mom gave me just before she died. Like her, they are warm and beautiful.
Casey's tattoo, not so much, if you ask me. But it will raise delight and laughter each time we see it. Grandma would have laughed, too, after scolding him for having no taste and less judgment.