Tonight my relatives invited us for delicious meal at their home. It was nice to see what life is like for a family outside of Helsinki. We played with the family dog and talked about languages, heavy metal festivals and Russian summer homes.
As the coffee was brewing our host brought out his son's ceremonial knife belt or "puukko". This particular puukko had a red strap with brass plates and ornamentation. It had two knives attached-- a short one used for cutting meat from animals, and a larger one used for settling "matters of principle".
I have come to learn that knives are an important part of Nordic culture. There is a great sense of pride associated with carving one's own knife handle, or being gifted a knife on an important occasion such as graduating high school or certain birthdays.
As we talked, I mentioned that one of my unanswered questions for this trip was to learn the circumstances surrounding the death of my great grandfather. All I have to go on is a handwritten note in the margin of a family tree that reads "illegal bootlegging". In the 1900s (even in Fairport Harbor, Ohio) a Finn wouldn't have gone anywhere with a knife. The chances of a dissagrement leading to a knife fight seems to be a likely hypothesis for how he met him end. Whether it it true or not, adding a knife fight to the play would certainly up the dramatic action.