my husband wrote a great piece about rediscovering a family sport…
IT’S HOW I ROLL
We rolled up to a Mom & Pop cafe in Flanders (Bellem). Tom, the Dutch tour guide told the group of peddlers that he had a special treat for us, mostly due to Mr. Cool.
You see - I had been touting all week that I was the only person of 30 on the bike & barge tour that had heritage from Flanders. I showed Tom pictures of Ghent MN, Kortemark Belgium, showed the FB page of Belgium American Days, told him about Ghent’s (MN) love for Rolle Bolle.
On our last day’s ride through the farms and fields of Flanders, Tom (unknown to me) made special arrangements to appease a guest. We visited Bernard’s and Edna’s cafe (Cafe De Hert) for a coffee break on a 30 mile ride.
I ordered an out-out-region beer, Edna corrected me and insisted I try a local brew. I surrendered and had two of whatever she suggested! In-between the 1st and 2nd, Tom and Bernard coaxed me to the back courtyard. To my grateful surprise we walked into a small separate building and onto a small covered Rolle Bolle court.
Through translation, Bernard asked “thick or thin”? referring to the width of the bolle. He presented what he had and I signified with two fingers another two inches to the width of his bolle. He uttered something and Tom translated… “big court player”.
I rather reverently, given my history, the place and the circumstance, entered the court. Bernard bent, rolled and we all watched as the bolle curled toward the peg and came to rest two feet from target. Shyly, I took a more pronounce angle, bent, and then rolled, ever so much more gently with a wider curl and the bolle circled round then back, hitting the peg, falling 2 inches from the peg.
I looked at Tom, his mouth a little drawn, and said “lucky turn I guess”. Bernard said (eventually translated by Tom) “How long did he say it’s been since he threw a bolle?”
We threw some more. The rest of the folks from New England and Florida gathered and I gave up my “”moment””. They all took turns, rolling the bolle, lauding and languishing their throws. All enjoyed their new experience, their new cultural exposure, their new source of fun.
For me… The sounds, the laughter and jestures, the experience, was a fond reconnect to Ghent, to family, to tradition, to heritage and a connection to new friends.
LIFE doesn't get much better ! Blessed.
PS. Thank You Edna and Bernard