Monday, August 18, 2008


In Finnish mythology, Tapio is the god of the forest. Tapiola is a place deep in the forest that is Tapio's realm. In Thunder Bay, Tapiola is just outside the city. The McIntyre River runs through it. One one side of the river, over a small footbridge, is an old sauna and an old wooden outdoor dancefloor. This sign is attached to the sauna building, which has a small kitchen attached to it. On the other side of the river, which harbours tiny leeches that search for unsuspecting toes, is a large field used for soccer or baseball. There's also another small outbuilding painted the rusty red common on older wooden Finnish houses and other buildings in the countryside. Tapiola in Thunder Bay was a popular place in the past, less so today, although there are still soccer games being held there. Little Lyon's Daycare also uses the place occasionally. As well, folks go skiing at Tapiola in the winter as a ski trail skirts the property.

Yesterday I went with my sister and my nephew to Tapiola for a picnic. The BBQ picnic was hosted by Finlandia Club, which owns the property. There were about 50 people attending. The guest musician was Reijo Jokinen, who is visiting from Finland. He is a pelimanni, or folk musician. He knows a lot of old folk tunes, and had played at dances on both Friday and Saturday, too. At Tapiola, however, because it was scorching hot yesterday afternoon, no one went up on the dance floor, as there is no shade.

Here's Matti Väänänen enjoying the sounds of Reijo Jokinen's haitari [accordion]. Reijo called out and asked if there was a pyykipoika [clothespin, but literally a 'laundryboy']. I guess the wind was rustling the pages of his music book. I went inside the kitchen and found a small clip in the drawer. Löytyy jotain! [Found something!] I called out to him. A few minutes later, he asked if there was another one anywhere to be found. I went into the small kitchen and in the back of the drawer found, yes! a pyykipoika. I brought it out to Reijo, who, securing it onto his music book, asked me where my home is in Finland. I said Kauhajoki. Hyyppä. Juonikylä. He then asked me if I knew so-and-so, a very good haitari player from Hyyppä. I said I did not. I guess I should've mentioned that I left Hyyppä 50 odd years ago!

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