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Chapter 4 Excerpt

14 December 1990
...The day took much the same form as the first day of the June trip...So, being in the same neighborhood as The Park, it was a relatively simple thing to walk to The Park...

Norwegians had been complaining about the lack of snow during the previous winters. A conversation among Norwegians that winter might be: “I hear it’s going to snow,” says one.
“Optimist,” says the other.

There was snow, particularly in Frogner Park. The steps in the park had snow and the streets were icy. Everything seemed to be in place at the park. The ducks were still there scavenging for food. The same bird seemed to be perched on top of the same statue as in June. The statue of the boy having the temper tantrum. Across from him, the little girl who you weren’t sure was smiling or crying. There was the statue of the man juggling two children on his left arm, one on his right and one hanging upside down on his left toe...

As we walked up the steps leading to the Monolith, Seth spotted two snowball packing kids. “If you throw those things you’re dead,” Seth shouted in English.

We made it safely to the Monolith and the statues surrounding it.

On the way back, we were suddenly face-to-face with those kids. Perhaps, they did understand Seth’s English. They started to pelt us with snowballs. Ah, a cycle of children’s’ lives Vigeland didn’t sculpt!

We had to try to defend ourselves and life, liberty and the American way? We did the best we could. After all, we were suffering jet lag, right? The snowballs kept coming our way. This event became an attraction as other people with cameras stopped to take pictures of these American adults being pelted with snowballs by two 10 year old Norwegian boys. Tourists, go figure!

At one point, I had to leave Seth on his own, so I could get in position for a picture of the kids throwing at us. Then a friend of the two boys came by looking for his comrades only to find them engaged in this exciting snowball fight. Naturally, he joined in. At this point, I started shouting at them in Norwegian about the unfairness of this situation.

Tre mot to!” “Three against two!”
Finally, we got close enough to them and made a truce. I tried my Norwegian.
“Går du til Majorstua Skole?” I asked. “Do you go to Majorstua School?”
“Ja,” they replied. “Yes.”
Jeg gikk til Majorstua in 1969-70,” I said. “I went to Majorstua in 1969-70.”

They seemed a little confused at this and one asked the other what I had said. For all I know, I might have said I went there in 1979-70.
We asked them their names and they us.
“Michael,” I said.
They had an immediate frame of reference. “Mike Tyson,” they said, putting up their fists.
Then, dancing, they said, “Michael Jackson.”
“Seth,” said Seth.
“Seth?” they said, looking puzzled.

Well, what an eventful first few hours in Norway. A snowball fight in The Park!

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