Copenhagen, mid ’70 ties. I was in the furniture business, and attended an annual furniture exposition every May, the two first weeks, for 15 years or so. I knew the place well, stayed at the same hotel every year, many of my friends were there, in the same business, ans this one year I had met a girl, and was invited to her family for tea one nice day.
We actually met a week or so earlier, in Vancouver, at the Son’s of Norway friday dance at the Norway Hall at 815 East Hastings Street. I had never seen her before, and shy as I was, it took a long time before I asked her to dance, may be because nobody else did. I never been a good dancer, and needed encouragement to ask a girl.
She was beautiful, Danish, lived with her family in Surrey, that is all I found out. We did not speak much. I figured I would see her again at one of the regular dances. A week later I went to the fair in Copenhagen, and one afternoon I jumped on a bus from the Bella Trade Center to downtown. The bus was very crowded. I was at the rear door. looking forward, there was the girl from the dance, at the front door.
Our eyes met through the crowded bus, I started jiggling my way forward, but no, it was too crowded. We held eye contact, and when she nodded that she would get off at the front door, I jumped off at the rear door. We just held each other, not saying anything, puppy love. I thought she lived in Surrey, but she had only visited, she actually lived in Copenhagen.
She was on the way to work at a shop downtown, I waited until she was finished, and we had a good time for a week or so, seeing each other every day. She invited me to her family on Sunday for tea. I went to a tailor that worked a at clothing store at “Strøget”, the fashionable walking street. I had used this tailor for a few years, most ready-made clothes did not fit my body, he made the fit perfect.
It was May, it was sunny, summer was coming on; he sold me a really nice linen suit, the nicest I ever owned. Eggshell white, not shiny white, the linen made it exquisite by feel and touch. This was the time of double-breasted pin stripe suites, with white shirts, button down collars, and dark striped ties. With a suit like this I needed new shoes, matching socks, new everything; I was a new man, never felt so good before, clothing wise.
Sunday came, I got ready, dressed to the hill, hours to spend before the afternoon tea party. her house was not far from the Zoo, and I thought that would be a perfect place to kill a few hours. It was, there were lots of things to see and do, I was not nervous, but excited to meet her with er family. The big elephants attracted me, there was one very friendly, came to the fence to greet me, wanted me to come closer to him. Some of the other visitors knew what was going to happen, and kept at a distance.
I was innocent, had no idea what the big elephant was up to. As I got right up tp to the fence, he came really close, lifted his trunk as to great me, and with a smile on his big face, he sprayed me with all the yellow, gummy, gui, sticky, smelly liquid he had stored in his trunk, just for this occasion. from me impeccable combed hair, styled with Bryl Creme, tailored suite, new all over; I was dripping from the shower he gave me. It smelled, it stained my new suit, I had to get back to the hotel to change. The taxi driver first looked at me and refused, it took some serious Danish kroner for him to give me a ride. He probably traded his cab in the next day, I never could use that suit again.
I don’t remember the girl, the tea party, the rest of that day; but I sure remember the look on the elephant’s expression, when he knew he had me. A new white suit, used only once, to no avail !