Ben Oostdam Story # 338


It is now exactly 09:00 on December 27, 2007 and I feel like I have worked
a long long day . . .
Let me tell you why.
Because I went to bed early last night, namely at midnight, I woke up by 5
and did not get up. I just used my old Gatorade bottle for what it was needed
and would dump it out later.
Instead, I tried to reproduce a poem that came into my mind about Peace,
and it was not Abou Ben Adhem Baker may his tribe increase, with that angel writing in a book.
This was the inscription on the so-called peace temple in the Rijsterbos,
in Gaasterland, Friesland, which had so impressed me when we were vacationing
there in summer 1941,when I was almost 9 years old.(and Holland had just been invaded by the Germans)
Of course, it was in Dutch - (wait, why of course? off course would have been better: why not in the Frisian Language?)
and went something like :

Vrede groot geschenk van God
Blijf bestendig Neerland's Lot
Laat het dankbaar op U zien
Immer twist en wraakzucht vlien

or, in my own clumsy translation:

Peace Great Gift of God
Remain steadfastly Netherland's fate
Let peace descend on you gratefully
And may strife and vengeance flee forever

Just now I wrote it down without too much trouble, but early this morning
it must have taken me at least ten minutes to "reconstruct" this poem in my mind
after some six decades and a few years.
I then started to wonder why I had been thinking about this.
I am always intrigued with the working of one's mind and philosophy haha.
The solution came like a thunderclap in the foggy winterair -
(like yesterday afternoon outside on the way to the mailbox)
It had to do with the Christmas letter I had picked up from my old Navy mate
Frans who lives in Zeeland right close to the bungalow whih my brother in law
had just and unexpectedly sold after self publishing two photographic elegies.
Going back to 1950, when we were being hazed in the Naval Academy,
Frans and I had detected that we had both been in Gaasterland and close
to the Rijsterbos in 1941 when he had lived there.
My family's host, the "jachtopziener" (lit."hunter-supervisor"), had been his
"arch-enemy" because he and his father had been occasional "stropers", that is,
illegally snaring rabbits...
That made me think of the fear of our hostess and her children.
Not for the Germans , no, but for the pending visit of the "HEREN"
(like, in the "Heeren 17", the 17 Directors of World's first (1602) multinational: the VOC)
What that referred to in this typical feudal usage was the "Gentlemen"
in 's Gravenhage, a.k.a. The Hague, one of Holland's capital cities where the Queen resides.
Probably, these were a dozen or so government employees, some with such titles as
"Jonkheer" and "Baron" - [(which "we" in the U S of A have done away with - what a pity)
(I always liked thinking of myself as quote Ben Baron van Oostdam van Harinxma thoe Slooten Mom Luang Prah Chedi Sam Ong unquote
before I became a naturalized American in the same year that Nixon resigned) (probably since my "sea-father" at the Royal Dutch Naval Academy
was a Baron, and because I had rubbed shoulders in Thailand with members of their 'diminishing nobility')
who had leased the forest and hired the "Jachtopziener" full-time.

Anyhow, where was I?
At this rate of writing (it is now 10:13) it will take me the rest of the year
just to tell you about this morning only and I am still supposed to take a bath
and shave - I just sat down here to quickly jot down my thoughts, but this is getting out of hand . . .
so just let me put a temporary stop to it and show the end results -
when on my way to do all of this I had my hands full and found the door to the
bathroom closed and thought it would make a nice picture so I went to get
my camera first to take a "spontaneous" shot and found that my daughter Erika
had taken off for Pittsburg with our joint digital camera (and her boyfriend Rusty)
so I had to dig up my old one which unfortunately had run out of power so
I had to change its battery on which occasion (=when) I accidentally touched
the plug to the Spike Bar ('What do they serve there?'- wondered the Irishman)
so that my computer closed down and only showed the ominous or dreaded
blue screen when I tried to turn it back on (I seem to be unlucky at turning on both live and dead objects)
so it took me another half hour
to try and fix that, then a dozen
trial shots to try and achieve the
sizzling single simple spontaneous shot
etcetera etcetera but now I really
have to go to the bathroom so excuse
me please and stay tuned for the rest of
my busy morning - of which it is
now only 10:30. B Y E !!!
N.B.: I promise to fix the links
when (and if) I get back!

BLO fecit 20071227 - stories