You may not know that October 9 is Leif Erickson Day, possibly because the next day is Columbus Day, a day commemorated by shopping sales and celebrating Italian culture. For those us of Scandinavian descent, it is time to mope in the corner with our lefse. Columbus gets all the glory, while our explorer, proven to have gotten here first, gets a listing in Wikipedia and honorable mention in Minnesota. Where's our parade, where's our chapter in the history books, where's our Leif Erickson Day Sale?
Leif Erickson beat Christopher Columbus to the New World by 500 years. Columbus wasn't even a gleam in his great-great-great-great grandfather's eye yet. Five hundred years is how long it takes a plastic bottle or a disposable diaper to break down.
And who discovered lutefisk first, huh Italians? Oh yeah, that's right: Norwegians. And what about Ballard? Yeah, we discovered that too.
While a Norwegian may have been the first European to set foot on North America, I think it's important to note that they were good guests and didn't overstay their welcome. Norsemen tried settling in the New World, but weren't warmly welcomed by the natives. Scandinavians aren't big on conflict (unless you count that whole Viking thing) and moved along. Of course, we came back once the dust had settled a little.
To be fair, the Native Americans are the ones who really got the short end of the stick here. They really need a "Thanks for the Contagious Diseases and the Little Piece of Land Day". Interestingly, the outlet mall situated on the local Indian reservation is indeed having a Columbus Day Sale. I guess they figure we're staying, so they might as well make a little money off us.
So spend today pondering what it means to be the forgotten discoverer of America. Think fjords and krumkakke and viking helmets. Say things like "uff da" and "Ya sure, ya betcha." Then tomorrow head out to the mall and shop those sales.