12.2.2020 – stoic straight-talking

stoic straight-talking
unclear how this differs from
rest of the country

One Saturday afternoon some time ago, at a backyard neighborhood graduation party, I was sitting at a table between Fred Meijer of Meijer Thrifty Acres fame and Mr. and Mrs. DeKorne of DeKorne’s Furniture store fame.

Both big names if you grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the late 1900’s like I did.

The occasion was to recognize the Ph.d of the son-in-law of our neighbor, Dr. Julius Franks, the University of Michigan’s first black All American football player.

It was an interesting neighborhood.

All these folks and me and my family.

I am happy to report that Mr. Meijer was about an unassuming billionaire as you could meet and the DeKorne’s were just folks.

Mr. Meijer was telling stories about his family history and how they worked up from a one location grocery store started by his father to the huge success Meijer’s was today.

BTW, yes, we call it Meijer’s not Meijer, because it was Fred’s store.

Mr. Meijer took his story all the way back to the Netherlands and how, had the family not emigrated to the US, the story would have been different as the family just would not have made it over in Holland.

So I looks at Mr. Meijer and I says, “Gosh Fred, I guess you aren’t Fries?”

The DeKorne’s laughed so hard they fell out of their chairs.

This story will either make you laugh out loud and shake your head at my daring or you will shake your head and say to yourself, ‘I don’t get it?’

If you are Dutch you are in the club and you are laughing.

See, there is Dutch and there is Dutch or at least there is Dutch and there is Fries.

FYI Fries is pronounced FREEEEESE.

It is a word not from the Dutch, but the Frysian language, or Fries

Fryslân is the name of the Dutch province in which Fries is spoken: Friesland

Those Fries think they are so smart, they need their own language.

Full disclosure here, I am or at least my family is NOT Fries.

My family is from Groningen.

I am talking about the twelve provinces of the Netherlands.

If you are Dutch and not Fries you say that … those Fries, they think they are better than everybody else.

If you are Fries, you say that … those Fries, we ARE better than everybody else.

I remember once meeting the father of a friend who in conversation asked me all sorts of seemingly benign questions about my family and background and such and then out of the blue says, “you must be Fries …” with an approving smile.

I just nodded and smiled back.

So why am I bringing all this up today?

The Dutch and the American’s play in the 2022 World Cup next week.

Reading about the game and the two teams, I came across the article, The Giant World Cup Rookie and an Enduring Dutch Mystery: The Netherlands is Europe’s most reliable talent factory. Unless you need a goalkeeper (click here to read pdf) by Rory Smith.

Mr. Smith relates in depth the problems Dutch teams have in developing great goalies and discusses the current Dutch goalkeeper, Andries Noppert.

Mr. Smith writes: “He’s a real Frisian,” defender Virgil van Dijk said last week, referring to the part of the Netherlands where Noppert grew up, a place famed for its stoicism and straight-talking.

Mr. Smith they goes on and writes, “(It is unclear how this differs from the rest of the country.)”

Those parentheses are in the original.

It is unclear how this differs from the rest of the country?

Huh what?

Mr. van Dijk said “He’s a real Frisian.”

How could be that be unclear?

How could be he be MORE clear.

Boy howdy!

Mr. Smith then quotes the Dutch Coach, Louis van Gaal, who said of goalkeeper Noppert, “He has the sort of personality that means he would not be too impressed by this championship. It would be a lot tougher, after all, being a policeman.

Yep, that’s it.

The sort of personality that means he would not be too impressed by this championship.

That guy must be Fries.

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