every fall i think of her. inger. and her apples. and the mornings i shared with her in the fall of 2008.
every morning lina & i woke up when the alarm rang at 6:30. the song we woke to was “only hope” from the movie, “a walk to remember”. we stirred, rubbed our eyes, and eventually lina got up. i stayed under the covers as she moved about the room, getting ready. and then, a few minutes before 8, we said our goodbyes. lina closed the bedroom door, walked down the creaky stairs, and out the side door. i climbed out of bed and opened the skylight/roof window, shoved my hand out, and waved as my love took off her borrowed bike to begin her day at her internship.
alone now, i washed my face, grabbed a sweater, and headed downstairs to make my morning cup of coffee. this is how i began my day. most mornings as i slipped into the tiny kitchen, i was greeted by inger. she would always be standing over a giant bowl of apples on the counter, peeling away, while another pot of already peeled apples simmered and sputtered on the little stove to her right. we greeted each other in danish. god morgen. and then, we tried to communicate further, but mostly with hand gestures or really slow english. the eighty-something year old danish lady pulled out a danish-english dictionary, which lay on a bookshelf in the tiny kitchen beside her cookbooks, whenever we got really stuck. and then, finally, we’d both understand and burst into laughter, always amused at our morning conversations.
inger kept peeling away at buckets & buckets of apples. i pulled out the cutting board from under the counter, you know, one of those little wooden ones built-in/under the stainless steel counter. there was a stool just beside the kitchen door, which inger invited me to sit on as i prepared my breakfast of yogurt, cereal, bread, and cheese. of course, i had some coffee, which was already prepared & waiting in a thermos.
from september to november, the whole time we lived with inger, the house smelled like apples. though she was in her eighties, this amazing woman went outside to gather apples day after day – in the rain, in the cold. before i came downstairs to take part in my morning ritual, inger had already picked apples, cleaned & peeled some, and begun baking & canning. it was unbelievable. and i was inspired by her dedication, her discipline, her energy, and her positive attitude. every day i pinched myself, wondering how could i be so blessed to meet such a fabulous lady in my life. and to get to live in her home. in denmark. for three months. for free.
after spending about 30 minutes with her in the tiny, apple-filled kitchen, i moved into the living room to watch an episode of some american sitcom and read the news. inger went back outside to pick apples or do some other chore, while i sat on the sofa, pulled out my pen & my journal, and began writing & reflecting. i would stay there for about 3 hours.
but, how did i end up in denmark, living with lina in inger’s home in the fall of 2008?
well, to tell that story, i need to go back one year. to the day in 2007 that i told jake that our marriage was over…