Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I'd do anything for you dear, anything, for you mean everything to me...

 This song is in my head.  The song from Oliver Twist.  I'd do anything for you, dear, anything, for you mean everything to me....  I played a pick pocket boy in our middle school production of this play...anyway, the song is in my head because I'm thinking of my friend Harald. 
I'm going to see him this weekend.  My Peace Corps friends and I are meeting in Albany--six of us.  I rented us a minivan and found a little B & B just ten minutes from the nursing home where Harald is living..a B & B which sleeps exactly six and is owned by farmers who will come and make us organic vegetarian breakfasts in the mornings.  Perfect.

I talked to Harald yesterday and asked him if there was anything I could bring.  He asked for mint tea, brownies baked from scratch and for a picture.  He wants a picture of Vatslav Havel.  Vatslav Havel is the former president of the Czech Republic and also a playwright and a poet. He died recently.  But I did not know all this before googling him yesterday. And mine and Harald's conversation about this request was rather amusing. I guess that's what you get when a man with a Northern New York accent and a brain tumor (who also happens to be worn out from his consultation with the doctor at the hospital) tries to convey something to a woman who is hard of hearing.  This was our conversation:

Me: Anything you want me to bring you?
Harald: Yeah, some brownies with no...high fructose corn syrup...that stuff makes my tumor go crazy.
Me: Okay, I can do that. Anything else?
Harald: Mint tea.  And a picture of Vaslav Havel.
Me: Who?
Harald: Vatslav Havel
Me: What? Batsleff Hubble? Who's that?
Harald: No...Vatslav Havel!
Me: Vastef Huvel? Who is that!
Harald: Vatslav Havel. I want a picture of him for my wall.
Me: Okay, I'll get that for you.

I hang up after telling Harald I love him.  I have no idea who he's talking about.  So I open my laptop.  And google "Batslove Hubble"
I got a blog called The Contrary Farmer with a post called "a barn full of bats"  Apparently bats love mosquitoes. They eat them. That's what the post is about.  Well that can't be right.  So I google again
"Batsleff Hauble"
Now I'm at a wikipedia page for The Battle of Halbe.  Apparently this was was a battle in which the German Ninth Army, under the command of Colonel General Theodor Busse was destroyed as a fighting force by the Red Army during the Battle for Berlin. The most interesting thing I found here was there were 25,000 soldiers and several thousand civilians who were able to get through three lines of soviet troops....
Okay, well at least I'm learning something.
I try again
"Vatsleff Habel"
And finally I have it.  Vatslav Havel...I see the word "Czech" and I know this must be it. Harald lived in the Czech Republic for four years.  So I printed up some pictures for him.  This one was my favorite. He's with the Rolling Stones!

I am excited to see everyone.  Harald warns me that he looks different. I expect this.  I told him that he sounds the same and I know that he is the same Harald that I've always loved.  He says, "Yeah, well now I got the perfect face for radio."
I can't wait to see that face on Saturday.

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