One needs an opportunity and possibly a good portion of inspiration to make snippets. Maybe due to shortage of opportunities and/or lack of inspiration, perhaps even due to reasons not to be mentioned, adjustments were made and written words were postponed. Yet……
Before the year 2017 is over, one thing needs a snippet plus a few added snaps.
In 2018 Leeuwarden, a town in the province of Friesland (NL), will be European Capital of Culture, which is a big thing for a not too big town.
Both my parents, Heit and Mem as we called them in the Frisian language, were born and raised in Leeuwarden. Yes, it was Heits violin being sound again and yes, it was Mem being mentioned on several occasions in amostlikeableplace.
Well, perfectly timed before 2018, which also happens to be European Year of Cultural Heritage, my Mem was honoured with a plaque on the gable of the house where she grew up.
My grandparents owned a cheese and grocery shop at this address and, as often in those days, the family lived upstairs. Somewhere in somebody’s archives must be a photo of the house how it looked in Mems childhood days, the shop-window covering half of the groundfloor gable with the name of the proprietor in large Jugendstil font across. After more than a century changing owners and purposes it’s not surprising there’s not much left of the original features. Fortunately the last renovations left space beside the frontdoor for a commemorative plaque.
Sure it doesn’t make sense to show snaps of all the (press-)people that crowded the Nieuweburen who made traffic stop and drivers angrily blow their horn.
It does make sense though to make an exemption for two of the attendees. The first one being the five year old girl* who, no surprise here, carries the same name as my Mem and who unveiled the plaque. The second one being the ninety-seven year old lady, Mems sister and last living sibling.
* Apologies, i don’t know if you are familiar with all the names, terms and qualifications for relatives, but i have to confess i had to find out how this little Dieuwke Winsemius is related to my Mem. Lifehacker.com explains relationships in chart form, so i finally learned what ‘1st cousin twice removed’ implies. Pfff, i don’t think i’ll remember that, but at least i’ve a reference now.
You know these mazes, the ones where you feel you have to prove yourself? Where buxus hedges reach high overhead, where walls feel damp, where the path is dark. You push the little voices in your head back as far as you can as you are not going to be intimidated by your own fears. A few steps is all it takes to cut you off from the outside world.
Once in there sounds seem muffled or there may not even sounds at all. Maybe you hear your own heartbeat, maybe you look up to acknowledge the sky is still there or maybe you already wonder if you will take the right turn to get to the centre.
Of course you keep going, sure you’re not a coward…or are you? While you take bend after bend, round corner after corner and stand still for moments to listen intently, you know you’re in a bolthole and yet you want to find the exit. In the meantime you are feeling your way around, listen to your footsteps on the gravel and control your breathing.
You will find your way out. You must. You have to. And if you don’t, someone will surely go looking for you, someone will surely find you. Eventually someone will…..
It’s not too bad if one is down and out for a while, is it? Things like that don’t announce themselves, they just happen. The question whether necessary or not cannot be answered.
Indeed, the right guess is, it was me being down and out for a bit.
Down in myself, down memory lane (even where i don’t like that expression), past the ‘no entry’ sign and ignoring the ‘tresspassers will be prosecuted’.
Out as well, out of my most likeable place, out of the country and sometimes happily out of my mind.
Perhaps i was more out than down, the balance isn’t completely clear. I may put both on different scales and use in and up as counterweights. Or maybe not. Maybe i just opt out for down.
There’s an English proverb that says you can’t have your cake and eat it. Well, i tell you something: you can! You can have your cake, eat your heart out, stuff your face, have your fill, lick your plate and still not know what to do with the rest.
Normally, the best part of a cake is what you’re eating and tasting, this time the best part is not being involved in baking nor preparation. Some family and friends thought this birthday should be celebrated and -in hindsight- i gladly admit it was the best thing happening this year.
To keep this a snippet, i’ll better write point by point. Guests first:
This unexpected company filled my hut with all kinds of everything: banners, noise, love, champagne, presents, cakes, laughter, madness, candles, bunting, hugs, food, balloons, happiness, surprises, drink, friendship, jokes, life, cream, nibbles, wishes and stories.
All of this shared by each and everyone and when the day was over there was plenty left on my plate and on the kitchen worktop.
p.s. As you can see I proved the English language wrong. You can eat your cake and have it. Surprisingly it is here: for sharing, for a snippet, for a slice.