Thursday, December 28, 2006

Make the door high and the gate wide . . .

By Kirsten Nour Namskau


I was 9 years, going in 3rd grade at school and we had just got TV. It was a big adventure every evening when the television had 4 hours program.
At the end of the year 1958 it was a big TV-show called “All star festival.” It was the first world-wide Aid-program, collecting money to the poor people in the world.
Everyone could donate money by give inn a call, during the program, to the local Aid-office sat up for the evening.
The program was entertained by “stars” from all over the world.
It was my first year at school with English-lessons so I enjoyed trying to understand what was said.

One of the artists was a woman from USA called “Buffy Saint Mari.” She was half “Red Indian” half “American”. Already at that time I wondered if her parent had given her that name, because they wanted her to be strong as a buffalo and patient as St. Maria . . . knowing that her life would not be an easy journey.
Usually she was a singer, but in this program, she did not sing . . . she told a story.
Even as little I understood of the words of the story . . . I understood the context of the story since she used such rich body-language.
All the words I did not understand, I hid in my heart to remember.
As I learned more and more English I also understood more and more of the words in the story, until it became complete.
The story is as following below : . . . . . (The balloon-man)

*
The balloon-man . . .




The small boy lived in the mountains of Bolivia. He was 10 years old and used to help his parents with the work in the field and to look after his smaller sister.
The family struggled to keep a somehow decent life, but although they lacked of money, they loved each-other and the little boy enjoyed to help in the field and he loved his little sister.
One day, he could hear some noise coming up from the city at the foot of the mountain.
He run to the edge of the mountain and looked down at the city.
Music and laughter and joyful sounds came with the wind rising along the mountain wall.
Circus had come to town.
The little boy ran down the small track leading to the town.
All the artists in the circus were parading in the street to announce their arrival.
Clowns, elephants, ballerina, a small gnome with a funny hat was rolling like a ball and jumping around, jongleur with 5 balls in the air at the same time, a flower-girl throwing roses to the people at the sidewalk . . .
He had never been in a circus, but he always felt as if he had been. Always when the circus came to town, he used to go to the place where they set up the circus-tent.
There . . . behind the tent, the artists used to train on their performances.
He climbed the fence circling the circus area, and sat on top of it watching the artists training their programs. The clowns, the ballerina dancing on the back of a horse, the acrobats, they trained the elephant to sit on a chair, beautiful decorated horses . . . .
Also this time he run directly to the place where he knew the circus-tent would be. He climbed up to sit on the fence, looking at the artists training their program.
It was already a long queue of people at the entrance, waiting to enter the circus.
Close to the entrance was a balloon-man dressed up as a clown. He was holding a big bouquet of balloons . . . red balloons, pink, yellow, blue, green balloons . . . balloons of all colors.
Every now and then somebody came and bought a balloon.
Suddenly something happened in the row of people.
A woman started to shout at her boy; “You naughty boy, why can’t you behave?”
The boy run out of the row and on distance made faces to his mom. His mom came running after him in anger, shouting: “Come her boy. I give you a slap when I get hold on you.”
The boy run and hid behind the balloon-man . . . he peeped out at his mom and made faces.
His mom, a big, strong woman, came running and with a fast move tried to catch the boy behind the balloon-man.
But as she did so, she puffed the balloon-man so strongly so he for a moment dropped the balloons to keep his balance.
It took only that moment for the balloons to start to rise towards the sky. Although the balloon-man tried to jump to catch them, they were already too high up in the sky.
There . . . all the balloons were floating slowly upwards, to meet the clouds.
On the fence, the little boy first got shocked by the boys behavior, so the clown loosing all the balloons and now he saw all the balloons rising up towards the sky . . . The red ones, the yellow ones, the blue and green and pink ones . . .
Suddenly, he was not sure why, but suddenly it came tears to his eyes as he was watching the balloons disappear between the clouds.
He jumped down from the fence and run to the clown and nipped in his trousers and said: “Balloon-man, balloon-man . . . can I ask you something?”
The balloon-man was staring up towards the sky . . . at all his balloons.
The little boy pulled in the big trousers of the clown and repeated: “Balloon-man, please . . .can I ask you something?”
The balloon-man looked down at the little dirty boy with torn clothes and said: “What boy?”
The little boy said with tears in his eyes and cry in his voice: “Balloon-man, please, can you tell me . . . if one of your balloons had been black . . . would that balloon also . . . .”
He pointed towards the sky with his finger going in upwards movements.
“Would it, balloon-man? Would it . . . “
The balloon-man looked up towards the sky, where all the balloons now were almost gone behind the clouds. Then he looked at the little dark boy with tears in his black eyes, and he understood what the boy was thinking about.
He let his fingers glide softly through the dark curly hair of the boy as he said with soft voice: “Sure, boy . . . sure. . . .”
He continued, more as if he was talking to himself as he again turned his face towards the sky:
“And who knows . . . maybe the black one is the one that would have gone highest.”
K.N.

9 comments:

BBC said...

Would you like to know why you didn't get any comments on this post?

The Phosgene Kid said...

That was a nice tale. There is hope for everyone.

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

BBC: Yes...Tell me. I wondered about that!!!

Hammer said...

I didn't quite understand the last part. I usually read and comment later after digesting the content.

Was it the boys ethnicity that was an issue with the clown?

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

Hammer: Yes, the value of the black people and the silent question; "Do the black people go to heaven too, when they die?"

BBC said...

Of course black people go to heaven when they die, you silly girl. Color has nothing to do with spirit.

When this planet gets to where everyone is just shades of brown those questions won't even come up. And it will be a much better planet because of it. Think about it.

The story was too child like, it's mostly adults that read this blog. Adults that have been around a lot and figured a few things out.

What gets readers and comments is twisted humor and some fussing and ranting along with the other things you have to say. Even Ms. God gets cranky at times.

I've given up looking for her, but we would have made a great team on a blog, once I got her trained. :-) Hugs

infinitesimal said...

I remember Buffy St. Marie!!

She had really long hair.

But she would have been...15 or 16 in 1958?? right?

anyway, interesting memory.

I always like your blog.
nobody commentsed probably because they were all away for the holiday, you just keep it up doing what you do.

infinitesimal said...

and PS:

BBC:
Color did have something to do with the question in 1958 America, that was BEFORE the civil rights movement.

that was the whole point of the story which sounds silly now, but was radical in the 50's

I don't think it was about heaven, i think it was about potential

lovelyand said...
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