Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota.
I have always liked Scandinavian design in textiles and folk art, and I often shop at The Stabo, a Scandinavian store in Bismarck and Fargo. My daughter finds this embarrassing. “Mom, you aren’t Norwegian. You’re Dutch and German! Why do you shop there? Why do you like that stuff” I tell her that my ancestors are the people of Beowulf, and that something in the designs speaks to deep yearnings that must come from beyond the mists of the long distant past (well, not really, but if she wants to think I’m weird, I’ll play along).
My daughter takes particular exception to the tomte I have purchased-figures in different shapes made out of wool with luxurious beards and red hats. These are made from the wool of sheep raised on the Swedish island of Gotland. I keep them, along with a couple of Yule goats and straw girl, on top of our media cabinet in the living room all year long. Daughter warns me that I am to stow the tomte and goats in a closet the first time she ever brings a beau home to meet the family. I ask “What if he is Norwegian or Swedish?” She says it doesn’t matter, and the weirdness must be hid in favor of good first impressions.
Imagine my surprise this Christmas when I received this hefty fellow from my daughter. Now, I like tomte, but this guy is almost too much, even for me. Unlike the others, he has hands and thumbs, and I blame him for the dishwasher breaking down after Christmas. I didn’t put out the rice pudding, you see, so I suppose he let me know his disappointment by preventing the water from draining out. I mentioned this to daughter and she said “Good. Serves you right”.
I don’t think I need any more tomte after this. I have no more room, in any case. I am touched that daughter purchased something for me that I like but that she professes to loathe. Maybe something in the design speaks to a deep yearning in her. If so, the weirdness may continue long after I am dead and gone.
What do you love that others can’t abide?