We were in Germany. There were no troubles on the horizon. I was working on my English degree and my husband was working for a military contractor. I wanted to see more of Europe.
My girlfriend, Patricia, had suggested going on one of those daytrips that the USO offered the military. After looking around for a good trip, I decided to take my tour with the travel agency on Ramstein Air Force Base. It was inexpensive and they promised a tour of all the great sites in Denmark. My girlfriend backed out when I told her the cost of the trip. My husband had to work. So I went on this full week alone.
So why did I want to go to Denmark? First, I didn’t have the time to take three weeks to travel Norway. The Larson side of my family, my mother’s side, were from Norway. I would have loved to see the fjords, the fishermen, and the scenic route along the coastline. I would have loved to see the towns that my great-great grandfather had walked. He came to America as a young boy.
Second, I did have family from Denmark. My great-great , however greats, grandmother came from Denmark. There was a story that when the King of Denmark came to the throne he was very ill. He had girl-children and of course in the 1800’s the kingdom was entailed. Entailed is a legal term that meant the kingdom could only go to a son.
For the kingdom, he had sexual relationship with the housekeeper who was from a minor noble house. She became pregnant and was then married to a member of the household. If the child was a boy, he had to be legitimate to become king. Well, that child was a girl. She was cared for as any member of the household. She was the youngest child so she had a lot of access to her father. When she was sixteen, she was married to a landed nobleman. Eventually, they moved to the Americas after the death of her father.
So knowing this family tale, I wanted to see Denmark. I kissed my husband goodby then climbed into the bus going to my fairy tale land. There is not much more I can tell you. My treatment for Wegener’s has broken many connections in my mind. If I think really hard, I remember the statues, the cobblestones, the boats, and the castles.
One bright memory was sitting in a booth in a famous smorgasbord in Coopenhagen. As I stood in front of a small table, I could see fish of every kind spread out before me. My companions had taken a few bites, but were not impressed. They joked about how many pounds they had lost because they could barely eat the food. Our travel guide pointed out some of the best fish. I can’t remember what she called it. But, as I put the fish in my mouth, it was ambrosia. My viking was showing.
Since I have been away from Europe for five or more years, I still crave the fish. Sometimes I buy a can of oysters or sardines. Sometimes I eat a bite of fish and then a bite of green olives. I roll that tart taste in my mouth. But since then, I have not found that fish that I loved so much. She told me when she pointed out that fish from the smorgasbord table that in the olden days, it was only eaten by the king and his family.