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Officer Norway’s Corner – Thanksgiving, football and the dark season

By SRO Kjell Michelsen

On Thursday, Nov. 28, we celebrate Thanksgiving. The one and only true American holiday. When I moved to the United States, like so many other immigrants, Thanksgiving was a new holiday for me. I had heard of it in passing. Still, I think I was more familiar with Black Friday, and the shopping frenzy. Some 20 odd years ago, most Europeans were amused by all these crazy videos of people in stores and shopping malls fighting over cheap stuff they really didn’t need.

These days, they cannot laugh and be amused as they used to, because although Thanksgiving is not celebrated elsewhere, except for Americans living and serving abroad, the craziness of Black Friday has taken hold in Europe as well. Even in Norway, where people just like here line up for days in advance for some big on-sale items. Resulting in the same crazy scenes of people outright fighting over stuff they really don’t need.

But thankfully, Thanksgiving is more than a crazy shopping experience. It’s also about heritage, traditions, history, and maybe most importantly, family. Did I forget anything? Yes, indeed, Thanksgiving is as we all know about food and football and plenty of both. I really did not understand much of American football when I moved here. I would gather with the rest of the family and watch, but I was kind of lost in the rules and whatnot. It took me a couple of years to get some basic understanding of the game, so at least now I can pretend I know.

Back home in Northern Norway, the dark season is underway; actually, it started in early November when the sun began to pull away deeper and deeper into the mountains. Still, there are a few hours of twilight left. A vague remembrance of daylight, which in a few days also will fade away. The daylight is replaced by a cobalt blue hue around noontime, caused by the snow, the cold, and what’s left of a dim shine of the sun to the south. We are entering into one of my favorite times of the year, a time filled with hope and the promise of a new year and spring.

Until next time, have fun, be safe, and be thankful.