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Officer Norway’s Corner – Springtime memories from Norway

By SRO Kjell Michelsen

Last Tuesday, we were able to arrange for a mock-crash scenario at the high school. We started planning for this event last year, and we had great help from a few members belonging to the Washington County EMS, who have arranged and planned these for several years.

This event was earmarked for the outgoing senior class, and we genuinely hope that this is something we can do every year from now on for the seniors. As I have mentioned before, distracted driving is now the leading cause of death of teenage drivers, and this is an area that I and others will be focusing even more on in the months and years to come.

Springtime is always a special time for me as an SRO. The school year is winding down, we have seniors soon to be graduating, receiving their diplomas, taking pictures, creating memories for what soon will become a thing in their past, their high school years. This graduating class is also a little milestone for me personally. When I started at the high school, these graduating seniors were all newly minted freshmen, so we have been together since they started high school.

This time of the year also brings back memories from Norway. Easter, which is a weeklong celebration and vacation time in Norway, is also the official start of the spring season. Although where I grew up there’s still plenty of snow and all the mountain lakes are still covered with ice, but the days are a little longer, which helps. One starts to see little bare spots around where the snow has melted, those hardy dandelions are starting to pop up, and the seagulls are getting busy and loud, making nests and fighting for the best spots to do that on.

Another sign of spring in Norway, like it is here, is high school graduation. High school, or “Gymnas” as it is called, lasts for three years in Norway, not the four as here in the U.S. It was a fairly mundane thing when I grew up. There were some parties, some school arrangements, bigger cities even had a concert for the graduating classes, etc. That has totally changed. Those who graduate from a trade school dress up in blue and those from a liberal arts school in red. Some will invest tens of thousands of dollars in fancy buses, decked out with big sound systems and an interior that would make Elvis envious.

Spring is in many ways a re-birth of the glory of nature around us. It’s truly a beautiful, albeit short season, most years in this area, so that gives one even more reasons to enjoy these humid-free, tempered sunny days of spring, although those who suffer from pollen allergies might differ with my views.

Until next time, be happy, be safe and enjoy every day as a gift to be treasured.