I thought about having a beer the other day. Not an unusual thought. Then I thought about what glass to put it in. That is more unusual, as I usually just grab whatever one is handy, depending on the beer. I have beer mugs, which I never use, and pint glasses which I use for dark ales. And I have smaller glasses for anything else.
This time, I thought I'd use my special little glass. It is a delicate Heineken 6oz and sits on the top shelf because I don't use it very often. Which means it needed a bit of cleaning before pouring the Hoegaarden into it. So, I washed it and with a teatowel in both hands, grasped the base with my left hand and proceeded to wipe the rim with my right hand. And immediately broke it. It shattered like a light potato chip.
I was proud of myself for not crying.
And for having that teatowel wrapped around my hand.
It did make me very sad, though. I have had that glass for 30 years. I know this because that is how long it's been since I lived in Holland, where I got it. The shattering of a 30 year old memento and then realizing how long it has been a memento has a way of making one reminisce and feel nostalgic. And wonder what the hell happened to that 20 year old's free spirit? It also made me sad, because, as I said, I rarely used it for fear of it breaking, which now seems a waste. I have another glass from my stay that has a picture of the newly crowned Queen Beatrix, from 30Apr 1980. I'm pretty sure I would have cried if that had broken. Not because I particularly like it, but for the memories it holds.
We were warned at the time of the Coronation, not to go into the city centre because of the crowds and the threats of riots. But, after watching on TV, we decided to head on in anyway and see how far we could safely get. And we saw no rioting, no teargas, none of the water cannons aimed at the protesters (and there were many, but not as many as the cheering people). We managed to get into the square in front of the palace and I remember one very happy older gentleman pushing us forward and explaining who all the people on the balcony waving at us were. It was my first sighting of any Queen and I got two in one day.
Later, a Dutch friend of ours came by with several copies of a popular magazine, Margriet, for us. He had been looking at the special edition and in particular the centre spread of the crowds of people in the square as the Royal Family waved from the balcony. And somehow, in that photo of thousands of people, he found us: two Canadians, one American, and himself.
My heart goes out to the Dutch people and the recent act of violence aimed at the Royal Family that killed and injured so many cheering bystanders. At least in 1980, you knew what the protesters were about; this will forever remain unexplained. Yet, will change everything.