Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship, Arctic Circle, August Stindberg, Bridges of Madison County, Clint Eastwood, Finland, Finlandia, Henrik Ibsen, Iowa, Jean Sibelius, John Wayne, Meryl Street, Newry, Roseman Bridge, State of Maine, Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen, Winterset
In the What the Heck Would My Wife Think About This? Department, slow down, there’s nil rude going on here at all.
Well, maybe a bit weird, or if one considers the pose, but do charge forth, Dear Reader.
Finnish couple win 2012 Wife Carrying Championships
A couple from Finland have won the 13th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship in Maine, USA.
If this fails to play, my apologies. Please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLMve7C_qH4
Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen were victorious in the hazardous race in Newry on Saturday.
“Wife carrying” sees male competitors race each other while carrying a female team mate to whom, perhaps misleadingly, they do not have to be married.
Fifty teams had to navigate a 278-yard course, which included such obstacles as a three-foot high log hurdle, a small pond called the “The Widow Maker” and a sand trap known as “Sand Mountain”.
The couple won prizes including cash equal to five times Haapanen’s weight, plus her weight in beer.
There’s more to this than meets the eye.
The Finns are Frost-Fanatics. Ditto the hardy citizens of America’s northeastern-most State of Maine.
The citizens of both actually like living in places that never really get all that warm, and which get hyper-cold in the lost, über-darkness of Wintertimes. Mind you, Finland extends well north of the Arctic Circle.
The folks in Newry, Maine, which hosted this wife-carrying contest, are also known for…a massive Surplusage of Santas Who Ski-In every December.
As one does.
They also do a very nice line in historic (in US terms) old covered wooden bridges.
Yes, yes, I very well know.
So does Madison County, Iowa right the middle of the USA, and, say, 350 kilometers (200 miles) just up and west of Interstate Highway 35 from where I sit here in leafy Leawood.
Been there, seen that. Very interesting indeed, most genuinely.
Remember the book and the film, The Bridges of Madison County?
The key bridge concerned in the story is the Roseman Bridge (below).
This is but one of several such bridges just outside Winterset, Iowa.
Winterset is also the boyhood home of John Wayne.
Maybe this clip will spur the memory about The Bridges.
If this fails to play, my apologies. Please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueDf_Hh7Ojo
But back to the wintry cold, snowy wastes (of which Iowa, too, can have plenty).
There is something about the Nordic soul which has produced some of the darkest works of art. In literature, both Ibsen and Strindberg leap to mind.
This is also true in in the musical genres. Nonetheless, after all this talk of dark, dank, snow, ice and worse, I give you one of Finland’s most dour but most talented musical geniuses.
I refer, of course, to Jean Sibelius whose Finlandia is a ‘standard’ reaching national hymn status.
In my view, this also offers the ultimate insights into the soul-biting emotional power of Sibelius’ fellow Finns and their culture.
This always assuages and renews body and soul.
If this fails to play, my apologies. Please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnOmOsQkyKE
That said, does it work for those ‘wives’ who’ve been schlepped around — upside down! –, suffered shocks to their skeletal system and also including being dragged – nose first – through a muddy ditch?
Uhm, next question, please?
Off to have some more smoked reindeer and good Finnish schnapps!
Kippis! or Cheers!
Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood for fine performances in The Bridges of Madison County
Mr. Neil Diamond Twitter: @NeilDiamond, website: Mr. Diamon’s website
The definitive Finlandia you heard is available Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with Maestro Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducting the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Choir of the Sibelius Academy. ASIN: B00000K37O on Amazon USA here: Finlandia – Amazon USA
On Amazon UK here: Finlandia Amazon UK