Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Finnish Champion

I know a Finnish track and field champion and while I kicked about Finland one summer, I met him. He asked me if I would help him and his son retrieve some wood in their Toyota van. I welcomed the work after a few weeks of leisure.

He drove me to a house on the edge of town and when we got out of his car, he said, 'Here.' And I took a pair of gloves.

The champion's son was already there so we walked to meet him. He stood at the edge of the forest looking down an embankment.

He pointed to the house behind us. 'This man cut the tree. But it fell there.' And the son pointed down the hill. 'If we move the tree, I get it. Free.' The business arrangement sounded fine to me.

We set to work limbing the tree and cutting it into movable lengths. Fascinated, I watched them use rope to lift the tree and bull it up the hill. Eventually, the Toyota van sagged with the weight of the wood and he got his tree.


'Sauna?' The champion asked me.

'Kylla.' I replied.

I followed him to the other side of the house to the sauna which sat at the river's edge.

Inside, I passed kindling and tinder to the champion who built a roaring fire in no time. Soon we sat in the hot sauna easing the pain from our aching muscles.

'Teach me Finn.' I asked of the champion.

'Watch.' The champion threw water on the rocks. 'Vesi hyrry.'

I tried, 'Vessi hooroo.'

'No!' The champion got louder. 'Vesi hyrry.'

Again, 'Vessi hewroo.'

Frustrated, the champion bellowed, 'Vesi hyrry!'

Meekly, 'Vessi hoorew.'

Dismayed, the champion and I silently took more steam. I watched the water disappear into the air and whispered, 'Vesi hyrry.'

Victorious, the champion cried, 'Yes!'

No comments: