Cartoon by Scott Anthony

Jerry's View: Get out of my room!

Denmark, specifically Copenhagen, was a stopover for me and my new bride Elsbeth on our trip around Europe in the winter of 1968. I had lost my first wife to cancer. It was tough but getting remarried made sense, since I still had two young boys at home and they needed more than I could provide as a single parent.

I was lucky. I had known Elsbeth from her days as a waitress at the old Epicure Restaurant in White Center. It was a short courtship and marriage with a small coterie of friends in attendance.

Then, off to Yurp, as I like to say.

"Beth" was from Germany, near Düsseldorf. Ironically I was working at Boeing during WWII, building the very planes that bombed that city into dust. Beth dodged all the bombs and married a G.I. there, after the war. The marriage did not work out, leaving her in White Center with three young ones of her own to manage.

As I said, I was lucky. We combined our families and celebrated 43 years together before I lost her two years ago.

In Europe we had a great honeymoon. Two of my sons were in the military in those days. Son Ken was in Berlin and son Tim was in Wiesbaden. We had planned to make stops in each town. Unbeknownst to us, Tim and Ken were communicating.

One of our stops after Berlin was Copenhagen. Tim got a flight up to Denmark on the day of our own arrival there.

Dressed in his nicest suit, he presented Elsbeth with a single red rose as we exited the airport baggage area. I was so touched that he would go to that extent to welcome Elsbeth into our family, I could not have been more proud.

We learned that planning ahead was not one of Tim's best virtues at the time. He had no hotel room factored into his visit from Wiesbaden. We checked into the SAS Hotel in Copenhagen. We asked for the honeymoon suite, as planned earlier by Elsbeth.

The hotel was booked that week. There were simply no extra rooms for Tim. The clerk was very nice and cordially offered to check other area hotels when we announced that our "son" could stay in our room. With eyebrows raised she ordered a sleeper bed from housekeeping and had it sent to the suite.

We headed up to the top floor. A very attractive housekeeping attendant was wheeling a sleeper bed into our room. Blonde and svelte, she caught Tim's eye. As a single man, Tim was intrigued and asked her out. She respectfully declined with a gracious smile. Tim was smitten and began figuring how he could manage to meet her again during our stay.

Inside the suite the sleeper bed was positioned at the foot of the honeymoon bed. We dropped our bags, changed our clothes and headed out to dinner, Tim in tow.

You might not think it would be romantic to have your grown son along on your honeymoon but it was just that. We dined and sipped champagne. We danced to some music. Tim was ever the gentleman the whole evening making it a special memory for us. I know he was thinking about that blonde beauty back at the hotel but he never let on while he danced with Elsbeth to "Stranger On The Shore," an instrumental piece by Acker Bilk.

Once back at the room we settled in for our nuptial night. Tim was reclined on the sleeper. The problem was Tim's big toe.

He constantly cracked his big toe, almost to the rhythm of the light rain that fell that night.

I waited patiently for the unusual habit of his sleep to subside. After an hour I could not stand it and asked him to move his bed over against the wall. Maybe that extra fourteen feet would make a difference.

The trick seemed to work. Tim eventually stopped cracking his big toe and went to sleep. So did we.

At 3:30 a.m. Tim made some noise, sat up abruptly in his bunk and shouted, "You guys get out of my room!” I was just as shocked when he lay back down almost as instantly and went right back to sleep.

Barracks life must be tough, I figured, or maybe it was the champagne. Honeymoon nights are supposed to be memorable. This one certainly was that. It was an eventful night of learning Tim's habits.

The car rental trip up north to Helsingor (Hamlet's Castle) was uneventful until we stopped at a local bakery. Tim was so eager to shop we had barely enough time to stop the car before he was on his way and back with a large paper package. Inside were two long fresh loaves of bread. That beautiful aroma filled the cab of the car. I was salivating in anticipation of at least a nibble.

How did I know Tim was carbo-loading. He finished both loaves before we pulled up to the picnic tables surrounding the parking area near the castle. And he did it without butter. We found a pretzel stand nearby to satisfy us but Tim needed water--plenty of water. I wanted to toss him in the moat next to the castle but Elsbeth assured me it was a passing phase and that we should celebrate our time together. I relented to her advice.

It is amazing how a single red rose can carry such power.

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