Posted by: janpierce | November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving, my Norwegian Cousin and Hurting Hearts

Today is Thanksgiving and Diana has gone out of her way to celebrate it in style. She made a pumpkin pie, all the while explaining the holiday meal to Rohit the helper. He didn’t seem very impressed by the American holiday menu. We’ll have chicken, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy,rolls, and the pie with vanilla ice cream. Sounds pretty American to me, plus she has pilgrims and a turkey decoration on the table.

You’re probably wondering who this sweet little lady is at the top of the blog entry. She is 92 year old Miss Groene who  is originally from Norway. She has lived in India for 62 years, came here in l948 with her sister and has stayed all this time. I met her on the way out of a bathroom in a restaurant here in Allahabad. She was coming out and I was trying to get in. She apologized for being so long and I could tell from the lilt in her accent that she was Scandinavian so I asked her where she was born. That led to a discussion of my maiden name and in very Mennonite style we tried to ferret out people we knew in common. I don’t know any Groene’s and I may have spelled it wrong, but she did know some Jorgensons. We parted with the thought that we may be distant cousins and she said, God bless you.,” I wish I’d asked about her life here in India–I suspect she is a Christian worker of some sort, but after all we were in a restaurant and needed to order and eat. I loved that little serendipitous interlude.

Last night Roger stayed home in bed with a bad chest cold while David, Diana and I had a nice meal with one of the families from their church. Their son is home from three or four years of study in northern England. During that time he grew out  his hair, develooped a cockney accent, became a bartender and then had to come home because his visa ran out. His parents are trying to deal with a son who has changed in major ways, doesn’t have a job, is not currently living the way he was brought up and talks as if he is now fully mature. I could feel the combination of devotion and unconditional love from parents to son, but also the apprehensions and astonishment they are feeling as they try to find their way in dealing with an adult son come home, but in nearly unrecognizable form. I think variations on this theme occur all over the globe. I liked the young man and all of his enthusiasm for life, while at the same time I empathized with the parents who still remember their little boy as he was and are trying to adjust to the way he is now. Heartwrenching.

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