News - March 8, 2012

A coming-of-age gift

I hardly remembered to write a blog about a special gift until the other day I bumped into the owner of that gift.

Erik's gift from his father - een reparatiedoosje van Simson.
He's called Erik, who I met in a pub quiz. We were assigned to one team and I sat next to him. During the break, I saw him holding a small iron box in hand. Later he opened the box: it turned out to be a set of bike repair tools. A piece of paper was noticeably folded and attached in it. 'Is it a love letter?' I couldn't help asking. 'No, it's a gift from my father, for my 18th birthday,' he seemed proud of having it. 'May I take a look at the letter?' I was really curious about what his father said. 'Sure,' he answered readily.
It's not short, but I'd really like to quote it (in English) in full as it's one of the best letters I've ever seen:
"Dear Erik,
Now you are really leaving home and you are just 18!' What a memorable and special moment...
Everything goes well with you and you are a self-assured guy. I'm very happy about that.
I wish you a nice bike journey through life. Up to now you have had little bad luck, actually only some beautiful 'gorges'. Sometimes you must ride alone and against the wind. Of course more often ride you with others and have the nice weather. What's more you usually make the best out it. If you do get unlucky on the way, this little box will help. You know, also, you can always ask for help from mama and me. God be with you!
Love, papa "

What metaphor can you find better than bicycle for the Dutch people's life? The letter made me understand why Erik's father gave him such a toolbox for his 18 th birthday: it's not only a present, but an ingenious coming-of-age rite. What a thoughtful father! The Dutch, once again, by such a little red-white box, convinced me they're not as superficial as I sometimes thought. What more magic in their pocket? No one can tell.

Vid of the Week: "Bagagedrager", a hit song recently in the Netherlands, which literally means "luggage carrier"