About 30 years ago, Lollo Blomberg’s Granny Inga bought an orange Kånken at the Nordiska Kompaniet department store in Stockholm. It was a Christmas gift for the entire family.
Or, rather, a Christmas gift for her cabin in Fjällnäs, Sweden. The Kånken was to be used during family trips to the mountains, and ONLY family trips to the mountains. No exceptions to the rule. As Lollo says, “For me and my siblings, it was a much-appreciated gift. A Kånken was on the wish list for many people. Then, as well as now!”
For years, the colourful backpack was as much a part of the cabin as were the tarred skis, thermoses and fireplace. It was always hung in the same spot, and if you visited the cabin you took it with you on your adventures. Granny Inga’s orders. She cared for the cabin with a firm hand during her lifetime, deciding how to furnish it, the new technology to install, and that the Kånken should always stay in the cabin. All year round. According to Lollo, “We were never allowed to take it home to Stockholm. It was absolutely forbidden. Several times my sister and I had ‘itchy fingers’ and wanted to take it home to use every day. But we never dared.”
One winter, however, the Kånken disappeared from the family cabin. All the Blombergs searched high and low for it. Accusations were made about where it went and who took it. All for nought, as one summer it suddenly reappeared, back on its hook, as if nothing had happened.
“To this day we do not know who took it ‘home’. Regardless, it found its way back to its place again. Still, no one dares confess!”
Nowadays, the Kånken is serving a fourth generation of Blombergs. Even if the youngest of the bunch have a newer Kånken at home in Stockholm, they still value the old and well-worn one most of all. During warm summer days, it is filled with lemonade and cinnamon rolls. During the winter, it carries hot chocolate. As Lollo says with a smile, “The Kånken will always hang there on its hook, but now that Granny Inga is gone, I am its guard.”
Though we don’t know Granny Inga’s secret to keeping her Kånken in such good shape, we can imagine it was diligent care and repair.