Sunday, March 17, 2013


This is from the family reunion at Oscarsborg in 2006. It took place just after Suki and I were married. Richard and his then-wife Teena are in the foreground.

Oscarsborg is a fortress on a small island in Oslo Fjord. It proved important during the German invasion of Norway in 1940, when, armed with World War One vintage big guns and torpedoes (the guns, I believe, manufactured in Germany), the Norwegians manage to seriously cripple a German naval vessel. This delayed the German invasion for several hours, though in the end it did little to deter it.

The fortress is a castle, really. I'm not sure when it dates back to. Nowadays, it is used for events like weddings and large get-togethers -- and that's what we came to Norway for: our cousins on my paternal grandmother's side of the family are in the habit of organizing reunions every five years (or so), and this one was organized by our cousins Hege and Tone Bratsberg, along with help from many other cousins.

The weather was perfect. It was a bright and sunny summer in Norway. Again, like Canada, the summers are unpredictable, so we were lucky. I remembered all the cousins my age from earlier visits that Richard, my dad and I had made to Norway in the 1970s. But now a lot of them had kids. At times, keeping everyone straight was a little confusing.

Because of Norway's latitude, the evenings were extraordinarily long. One night Suki, Richard, Teena and I were out on the shore watching a cruise ship sail slowly past. By the time it was out of view, the sky was still light, but it was then past 10 o'clock.

Everyone got along, and that good cheer was like a long day, too. But the day faded, ultimately. Suki got to meet Richard and Teena. Suki and Teena would meet one more time -- at Richard's memorial. Richard and Suki never met in person again.

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