The Canadian years, 70, the son in law

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Saturday 14 February 21:25

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The son in law

Delicious smells came floating from the kitchen. My sister was working hard, preparing the meal fit for the king when I came in. ‘Did you have fun’, she asked, without turning around. ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘That did not sound very enthusiastic’, she said, as she turned around, but when she saw my face she broke into a laugh. ‘You have the sun in your face and your arms have gone red.’ ‘It was very nice,’ I said.’ Uncle and aunt are in’, reported my sister ‘and Hans will come soon.’ I walked with her down to the living room and sat there next to my mother my aunt and uncle who were doing their story of their trip to Vancouver. My brother had put them on a day tour, while he went to his course and they were telling my mom about it. ‘So boy,’ my uncle said with a warm smile, ‘how was your day?’ I thought, ‘I better not say that I had been in the river, sitting to an equally naked Beverly in the cool water, one way or another that sounded funny.’ So I said, ‘it was lovely weather and I went with some friends along the river.’ ‘Well boy,’ said my uncle, as I bent down and kissed my mother, ‘we also went along a river.’ ‘More a delta, Hank,’ said my aunt. ‘Well,’ said my uncle, ‘you will not believe, but what we have seen!’

‘We have seen the salmon return to their native lands’. ‘Oh, off a boat,’ I asked?’No there was a building on the harbor side and you could go down a staircase to a panorama window and there were just huge big salmon swimming by’. My uncle was obviously very impressed. ‘Some were a meter long.’ ‘I've heard of it,’ I said, ‘they come back to die in their breeding grounds. The Indians will just stand along a river and spear salmon. Always bulls eye’. ‘We went by bus,’ continued my uncle, ‘your brother had arranged that and we have seen everything. We also ate salmon at a salmon processing plant, we were offered free snacks.’ I said ‘yes,’ I had a bit of a chuckle about my excited uncle. ‘There were people who bought a garbage bag of salmon,’ my uncle continued. I mean really a garbage bag ful, for almost nothing, boy if you knew what it would cost in the Netherlands.’ ‘It's almost waste food here,’ I said, ‘but that is what Canada is like. You can hunt and you eat deer, you go to the salmon factory and you eat salmon for a month.’

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‘We went to Hell's gate as well, ‘my aunt was now taking a turn, ‘and it was great.’ ‘Hell's gate,’ I asked, I had never heard of. ‘That is a canyon in the Fraser River and it is swarming with salmon, the water looks occasionally pink. ‘You take a cable car there crossing the canyon,’ and my uncle said, ‘you can go to a village where they make fudge.’ ‘I bet  you found that interesting.’ I thought. Your uncle is such old candy guzzler, hey’, my aunt laughed. ‘Have you been to Stanley Park with its totem poles’, I asked. ‘Yes, we have,’ said my aunt, we have seen so much and I thought good for you!’ ’Where is my brother,’ I asked?  ‘Picking up his girlfriend,’ replied my uncle. ‘He’ll soon miss an important announcement,’ I said, and realized that I had spoken out of turn. ‘What about,’ my uncle wanted to know?’ ‘Leave it for now,’ I answered because I did not want to anticipate on things to come.

The table was laid out in a very festive manner, with knives mats and napkin rings, my sister had put work ito it. Betsy was bored and filing her nails and TV  blurted the plush animals wisdoms about, over the heads of the young viewers. My sisters sat with their eyes riveted to the screen. My sister beckoned me a moment and said, ‘it is almost time and I’ll  go to freshen up. Can you wait for Hans at the gate, he has got a blue Volvo, just stand a little in the garden. He is very punctual. He comes between now’ and she glanced at her watch ‘and 5 minutes.’ ‘Show him where to park, I do not think that I should be the one standing there waiting for him.’ I understood that. I was waiting outside in the fading sun, sitting on the fence, to see if a blue Volvo would indeed appear in time. Quietly without creating dust clouds, in the distance something blue turned into the alley . It was the Volvo. I walked to the car when it stopped and the driver lowered the window.’ Good afternoon,’ I said, ‘are you Hans?’ The blond man looked at me for a moment, then nodded briefly. ‘You can park here,’ I said, pointing to one of our parking spaces. It was a nice car. A tall blond man with an open face stepped out and turned around to get a bunch of flowers from the passenger seat.

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‘So’, he said with a measured smile, ‘are we fellow table guests today?’ He had a heavy accent that stood out immediately. He held out his hand, it had a pleasant feel. It was a firm handshake. He was smartly dressed. My sister opened the kitchen door when we came walking to the house and looked enchanting. She had her beautiful hair up, which accentuated her slender neck. Hans ran into the door post and the flowers were almost knocked out of his hand.’ Oh’, my sister said to save him, ‘are those for me’ and she held out her hand to take over te flowers.’ Betsy,’ she cried, and then Betsy entered the kitchen, she said simply, ‘put those in the water and do not cut them off short. I am going to introduce my young man.’

My sister first went to my mother. ‘Mom,’ she said , ‘I want to introduce you to my young man.’ ‘Madam,’ said Hans, and he stood stiff as in attention and almost clicked his heels. He looked super correct.’ Steven,’ my mother said, the morphine intoxication affected her, ‘you have come back, how wonderful.’ ‘Holy cow,’ I thought, ‘now she confuses Hans with Steven, the American war pilot who wanted to marry my sister in Libya but unfortunately had found an early end in Vietnam.’ No,’ said my sister with a tender voice, ‘no, Mom, this is not Steven, this is my future husband Hans and with Hans, Steven is back a little with us’. It dazzled me. But my mother simply said, ‘that is what I said already. Welcome home boy.’ The kitchen door banged shut. The dog flew whining under the table, father was home. ‘Some moron,’ said my father, ‘has parked his car in my parking spot’ .. and he stopped in mid sentence and stared in amazement at the young man who stood straight and now turned a quarter turn and clicked his heels.

‘Good afternoon, sir,’ Hans spoke formally overpronouncing each word, ‘you must be the master of this house. My sister looked proudly at her young man. ‘And who may you be,’ my father asked in amazement? ‘I,’ said Hans, ‘am your future son in law, pleased to meet you,’ and now he clicked his heels again.

My father’s briefcase fell from his hands to the ground. ‘Bloody Krauts,’ my father said.

San Daniel 2015

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