Waffles and Weeds
Rasmus and I have little in common beyond a few tenuous strands of Norwegian DNA. - A THREE-MINUTE FICTION
Born in South Dakota, my Uncle Rasmus is a retired grain merchant, a staunch and steady Republican, and decidedly of the Lutheran persuasion. I am a Californian, a would-be writer, a disappointed Democrat, and on Sunday, I worship only at the temple of Baskin-Robbins.
Rasmus mans the backyard barbecue pit every summer with gusto, and scoffs at my vegetarianism. I drive a small hybrid car and take him to task for his new gas-gulping Wrangler. He has three monument-sized baseball trophies and a diploma that he earned at a high school in Sioux Falls. I have a Master’s degree from UC Santa Cruz. While he explored the back roads of North Dakota, Idaho, and Montana, I traveled through Scotland, Belgium and Italy. An enthusiastic drinker of Budweiser, Uncle Rasmus jokingly calls me a snob for my preference for scotch.
He and I are family, but we are as different as a waffle and a weed.
I tell you, though, in spite of all our differences, I love that old guy! We get together four or five times a year – mostly on holidays and summer family gatherings, marriages and funerals. As you might imagine, there are very few subjects we can talk about without contention, but we always find common ground in one place – and that is on the dance floor. That man loves to dance and so do I, and he always devises an opportunity for us to rock out whether at a social hall reunion, a wake, a wedding reception or a backyard party.
Oh, we aren’t great dancers or anything — nothing like that, but the minute the music begins we are up and throwing our arms around each other. Polka or fox trot, boogie or waltz, it doesn’t matter which — we are on the move.
He is thirty years older than I, but our short, square Norwegian feet seem to be just made for each other. We glide and step, bounce and twirl to the music, and all our differences disappear. Leaning into each other, cheek to cheek, laughing – we dance. And that is all the connection we need to make the two of us friends for life.
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