Monday, June 20, 2016

My Scandinavian Roots Appreciated

In 1980 I was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving in Denmark. I was 19 years old. This was a landmark period in my life where I was able to learn three important things. I learned to look beyond myself and for the first time in my life how to serve others. I learned to be on my own without the protective umbrella of my family, and I learned to appreciate my Scandinavian roots which I'd like to speak to today.

My name is Gustav "Gus" Koerner. I was named after my grandpa "Papa Gus" a Swedish immigrant. The name also belongs to the King of Sweden, Gustaf V (the 5th) (Oscar Gustaf Adolf 16 June 1858 – 29 October 1950) who was King of Sweden from 1907 to 1950.

On my mission I had two name tags, one read Elder Koerner - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the other one I had made was Ælste Kørner - Jesu Kristi Kirke af Sidste Dages Hellige.  When I wore the first name tag, people would say "What??" and when I wore the Danish version, they'd say "Hello" and never ever mispronounce my name - so I mostly wore the second. By the way, the Danish pronunciation of  Kørner in English is Kerner, which is correct.

Today is Summer Solstice (June 20, 18:34 hours ET), the longest day of sunlight during the year and appreciated at northern latitudes which takes me back to my Scandinavian roots and my mission in Denmark. While there, I learned this song and still know and sing it to this day.  It is one of my favorites of all time.  I hope my children can hear and learn it. –  I'll share it with you now, first in English and then Danish, with  YouTube performance link.

It was Written by Ove "Bager" Wulff (1917-2004) - Trained as a baker at the patisserie Bryggergården in Odense, Denmark. He was hired as a ship's baker at the East Asiatic Company. Known as entertainer, musician, show author and composer, especially for the song of Lundeborg the Lundeborg Hymn. Warning, the song is not impressive in English.  One needs to hear the Danish version in song.

Lundeborg Hymn
Are you sad, and depressed?
So go with me down to Lundeborg,
for it is the best place on Earth,
there I believe is the end of the world.
there is forest and beach,
there's port and water
there’s fisher girls there's fisher men.
Are you sad, and depressed?
So go with me down to Lundeborg.

Lundeborg, Denmark is a coastal town approximately 55°N 11°E, about 12 miles South of Nyborg. The song is performed on YouTube by Fynsk Harmoniforvirring, 2011. Link here.

Er du trist og har du sorg i sinde?
Så tag med mig ned til Lundeborg.
For det er det bedste sted på jorden,
Der jeg tror at verdens enden går.
Der er skov og strand.
Der er havn og vand.
Der er fiskerpige,
Der er fiskermand.
Er du trist og har du sorg i sinde?
Så tag med mig ned til Lundeborg.

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