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Another One From Flaherty


Fri, Oct 4th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Just about everyone knows what Columbus did in 1492, but almost no one knows what Heathcliff Hammarschlagg did in the year 845. What he did was, he discovered America is what he did. Both North and South and with only one ship, the Torsk, Heathcliff was not your typical Viking in that he was a non-violent Viking, a conscientious objector, so to speak. He had recently taken charge of the family business, which was the operation of a chain of Lutefisk and Lefse emporiums along the coasts of what we know as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain, and Portugal.

On June 4, 845, Heathcliff Hammarschlagg and Hildebrand Horsekenfeld were united in marriage and set sail for a honeymoon and business trip on Heathcliff’s ship, the Torsk, with a cargo of Lutefisk and Aquavit. Two days out of Bergen they were caught up in a storm that tossed them about for quite a while. Since Heathcliff and Hildebrand were unaware of anything but one another and the crew was enjoying the cargo of Aquavit, no one noticed anything unusual about the weather.

As all good things must come to an end, the good ship Torsk, having had enough, beached herself on the shore of a new land. A day or two later, Heathcliff came up out of the hold for a breath of fresh air, fell overboard and discovered America.

Fortunately for Heathcliff, he did not land on a rock, but on a beach that is now known as Pismo Beach, California. The Honeymooners stayed at Pismo Beach until after the birth of their daughter, Hingasguurda; who, by the way, was the first white child to be born in America. When they had seen and done all that there was to see and do at Pismo Beach, they decided that they might as well set sail for home.

They sailed South along the coast until a lookout reported that the land narrowed and he could see what appeared to be another ocean on the other side. Heathcliff thought that they could dig a ditch and float the Torsk to the other ocean, but Hildebrand told him not to be so dumb. It would take too long and besides that, they didn’t have any shovels. So they dragged the Torsk to the other ocean and set sail for home.

Heathcliff and Hildebrand never told anyone where they had been because it had been their honeymoon and nobody’s business. The crew didn’t know where they had been and couldn’t have cared less. For those reasons, the world would not know of the new land for sometime to come and for that reason, banks and post offices do not close in honor of Hammarschlagg Day and certain men do not join The Knights of Hammarschlagg. What a Pity.

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