Thanking Three Months

Here are the two glass doors entering my neighbour Dirk’s apartment. The right one is open, the left closed. I often bug him that who really lives here is Princess Di. He always smiles.

Tomorrow is the three-month anniversary of Dirk’s arrival on the Oudburg. It’s clear what’s to be done: throw a party! In an hour, ten of us will gather downstairs. Dirk has a bevy of surprises planned. He wants his guests to smile and laugh, to sip their favourite beverages, to fill their bellies with frites! We shall oblige.

Hours from now, I will continue. Let the celebration begin …


Wow! First of all, I’m thankful that Dirk included me. And so did the other eight folks. I wasn’t a Canadian oddity. I was simply another human being who wanted to celebrate the arrival of his friend.

Almost all of the evening was in Flemish. I know none of the words when they’re spoken fast. And therefore it’s all music … with mysterious melodies. I’m used to this at two other dining room tables – with my friend Lydia in Maarkedal and with my friend Anne in Toronto, where the language is Ukrainian.

We sat around snacking on strawberries, chocolate mousse and other assorted yum yums. Someone would try on the role of storyteller. I watched the other faces. They were following along, with occasional bursts of joy on their faces. I didn’t need to know the story to feel its impact.

At one point, Dirk was getting his frites fryer ready. Slabs of fat started heating. And then an instant of raucous Dutch laughing all around. Near as I can tell, Dirk was heating the fat without having taken the paper off.

Then there was excited pointing to an open closet, and a shelf way up high that included a big vertical wheel. What, oh what, was that about?!

Next another fellow started his story, complete with wild hand gestures. He soon had me, even though I had no clue about the plot. Suddenly he blurted out …

Over my dead body!

Then he was back at it in Flemish. A fine time was being had by all, including me.

A cluster of tiny white lights hung on the wall, with a little black tube at the end. Dirk grabs the tube and starts speaking into it. Gales of giggling. Sounded like he was ordering room service, but this English speaker was essentially clueless.

And so it went

The music rolled on

And at the end we all hugged goodnight

2 thoughts on “Thanking Three Months

  1. This is such a spectacular story, and the photos are delightful a colourful and fabulous way to live and celebrate all things human! truly love your posts. well done yet again my friend!

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