When I first think of being Norwegian (or a quarter Norwegian), I think of things like the flag, the land, the pale people, the socialism, and maybe even Garrison Keillor.
These modern-day associations stand in contrast with how I look at my Irishness (or my quarter+ of Irishness). I think of the ancient Celtic mists, the druids and runes of antiquity, the high kings and holy hills, all historical-mythical things.
But wait a second, Norse mythology deserves some attention too! It might even be more interesting than Irish mythology, considering the pantheon (extensive), story lines (full of mirth and surprises), and the fact that it has a beginning, middle and end, something even the Greeks never quite mustered.
And let us not forget the Viking invasion of Ireland, which I’ve heard is responsible for all the red haired, freckle-faced gingers who are seen as distinctly Irish.
Yes the Norse and Viking heritage is nothing to be scoffed at.
For me, this realization began when a Russian-looking Turkish student of mine stopped me while we were washing our hands in the bathroom one day. He took one look at my face and said “Viking!”
That made me stop and think, maybe this Norwegian side of me does loom large in the man I’ve become and am to become.
Hmmm, well either way, I’ll be happy to look at this year as my Year of being 1/4 Norwegian!
Sean McCandless (Mike’s son)