Friday, November 6, 2009

The essential Norwegian

posted Sun, 14 Nov 2004

The other thing I wanted to tell you was my favorite Ole and Lena joke. It’s my favorite because it so truly describes the character of many Norwegians I know (and to whom I am related and perhaps, me).

Ole is on his deathbed. It is only a matter of days, if not hours. The pastor has been to see him to give him the last rites. There is nothing to do now but wait.

Lena is downstairs, cleaning the living room. She has been baking and has just pulled a tray of rhubarb bars, Ole’s favorite, out of the oven, and put them on the counter to cool.

The aroma of rhubarb bars wafts up the stairs, through the hall and into the room where Ole lies dying. Somehow, he musters enough strength to roll out of bed. He falls to the floor. Too weak to walk or even to stand, he crawls out of the room to the hall, where he laboriously makes his way to the stairs. He slides down the stairs and inches his way into the kitchen, gasping for air the entire time.

He makes it to the counter where the rhubarb bars await. Painfully, hand over hand, holding on to the drawers, he pulls himself up. He cuts himself a bar and is about to take a bite when Lena walks into the kitchen.

“Ach, Ole, shame on you!” she scolds, as she takes the bar from his hand. “Those are for after the funeral.”

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