Monday, May 07, 2007

Spending a week in Sweden with my mother and my mother's new lover.
'Does she have yet another new lover?' ask my friends with a mixture of incredulity, approval and feigned shock.
But in fact she doesn't. It is the same lover she has had for the last twelve years or so, it is just that I love saying 'my mother's new lover', it sounds so deliciously scandalous, especially since my mother has celebrated her 75th birthday some time ago and in any case she has always been virtue incarnate in this respect. But at the age of 63 she decided to leave her philandering husband (my stepfather), in the face of all received wisdom which told her that all that all she could expect at that advanced age would be a lonely and love-less future.
Nevertheless, within 2 weeks she met Gillis, who you see above preparing an elk steak for our dinner. He shot the elk himself. Not only a great hunter, he was also until very recently the pilot of a small Fokker Friendship plane in which he and my my mother flew around Scandinavia on frequent visits to their many friends. I am very jealous of my mother- why did I never find anyone like that? He is kind and generous and good and treats me like his daughter. And in fact he was a college friend of my father's, they both studied forestry together.
My mother's new lover has the somewhat dubious distinction of being directly descended from Jacob Johan Anckarstrom, the Swedish nobleman who, on the 16th of March 1792 fired the shot that killed King Gustavus III at a maked ball at the Stockholm Opera, thus eventually inspiring Verdi to write Un Ballo in Maschera.
It is a great joy to spend some time with them and to see my mother happy and enjoying life more than she ever has perhaps. They will visit Mali this autumn and stay at Hotel Djenne Djenno.


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