One thing that I never learned to like about Sondrestrom was Aquavit.* And, it wasn’t an “acquired dislike,” I despised it from the very first shot.    However, it seemed to be the National drink of Denmark, the Danes at Sondy loved it or pretended that they did.  And, they knew that Americans didn’t seem to care for their Danish schnapps.


One night the Danes invited all of the Firebirds to the SAS hotel for a banquet.  Since they knew that Americans, in general, had no "appreciation" of their schnapps, they made it a point to "Skoal" any and everything.  "It's a great night!  Skoal."  "I have to go to the men's room.. Skoal!"  "Is everyone having a good time?  Skoal..Skoal" "We are having pickled herring tonight.  Skoal."  "My grandmother died today.  Skoal!"  You get the picture.  After the first or second skoal, I began to see a trend developing.  Soon, I initiated a search to find a proper repository for the Danish beverage, and found a miniature fir tree growing in a large pot just behind my chair.  Every time the Danes threw their heads back, yelled “Skoal” and "guzzled down" the Aquavit, I let the little fir have a "shot."  I'll bet that the little tree is still there in the SAS banquet room...plum pickled."   And, there may be a few pickled Danes still passed out behind the potted fir, too.




Nolan Bailey, 17th TCS Pilot, 1963-67


*Akvavit, also known as aquavit or akevitt, is a Scandinavian distilled beverage of typically about 40% alcohol by volume. Its name comes from aqua vitae, the Latin for "water of life". (Wikipedia)

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