Midsummer was what it was supposed to be: alternating downpour and sunshine, one meal ending only for another meal to start, endless conversations in English or Swedish or French about soccer and Palestinians and where to eat in Paris and how expensive it is to buy a flat in London. We even managed to learn and sing the chorus of a nonsense song in Bengali, which an Indian guest quite effectively made into a drinking song. (We couldn't come up with an appropriate American song - "A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall" just seemed a bit, well, long and puerile; at least the English and the Swiss who happened to be there failed to come up with English or Swiss drinking songs, so we weren't alone in our dereliction to sing.)
My beloved little brother earned his midsummer chops by standing in rain that was coming down like bolts of cloth unfurling, one in a group of four people soaked to the skin and desperately fastening birch boughs to the midsummer pole so that we could all dance around it later. Which we did, eight hours or so later, with great gusto and like little children.
I managed to scrape myself up good, stepping at 1:30 a.m. out from under the tent erected in the front yard of the farmhouse and sliding down a ditch and coming up the other end and smashing into the pavement. Oh the blood, oh my poor hands, oh my sore ribs.
The Swedish word for the day is fest. It means party.
- by Francis S.