(I took the header picture of a Common Loon resting on a pond in Utah on its way north in June of 2015. It was in transition from winter to summer plumage.)

Translate - I dare you. Then make a comment on the funny errors the translator made.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"It's hard to be humble . . . when you're Danish"

I'm still working on my grandmother's research notes.  Today I'm in the local library, with a carrel by the window and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing Schubert on my headphones.  It's nice.

I just found some notes she took from William James - I like William James.  I had started to read The Varieties of Religious Experience a couple of years ago, and this reminds me I ought to try to finish it.  (You can get it for free on Project Gutenberg.)

These notes were bundled with some drafts she had written about Danish history.  My great-grandmother was born in Utah to parents who had recently immigrated from Denmark - Scandinavia supplied a huge number of Mormon immigrants in the early days.  My great-great-grandfather, in fact, was called as a missionary to southern Minnesota (where I also lived for 12 years) and met many fellow Danes there.

So my father has one Danish grandparent, and my mother does too.  And I can feel a certain pride in that heritage when my grandmother wrote: "Denmark came to appreciate and give worth to peace.  She developed ways by which peace could be maintained without aggressiveness in conquest and control of other nations."

I have felt a lot of pride in my Danish heritage and hope to go visit Denmark some day.  I continue to be curious about what Grandma thought and wrote concerning the history of Salina.  Many times I've reflected on what a shock it must have been for inhabitants of a prosperous green low land bordering the sea, to find themselves in a dry landlocked country with red cliffs towering over their new homes.  I think that's one of the distinguishing oddities of American history in general: how many groups of people have tried to adapt ways of life that evolved in certain environments, to new environments that are radically different. 

No comments: