Don’t get me wrong.
I’m a right on the border to almost southern girl,
from the kind of church,
and social structure,
that believes that anyone who doesn’t daily cross the doorsill
of someone else’s home
or social club,
or community hall,
baked bean pot in hand,
will turn into a pillar of salt,
or die an old maid in a house coated in cobwebs
and uneaten wedding cake,
like in Great Expectations.
And then I met the Gutenbergers.
A race of Sean Connery like Celts,
who drink with the best of them,
make burn offerings to the ancestors of all things male especially grilling,
if you get three of them together,
form a club.
And here, I don’t mean book clubs.
Alone here in Gutenberg land, we have political clubs,
for those with a need to reform the politics that,
in my opinion,
is played on the Tammany Hall basis,
and hasn’t changed since the time of Siegfriend and Hagen,
who, according to legend,
stashed the Rhinegold,
and killed off most of Valhalla.
The modern political units being called things like:
Free Democrats, Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, the greens (ecology)
the Lefties, Alternative for Germany (the far right)
and, of course,
Who hack computers and smoke drugs a lot.
(So I’ve been told)
And then there are the hobby clubs:
over a million singers over here-
Men only, Women only, Children, Mixed, Quartet, Opera chorus,
and, of course,
the little theater groups,
who belong to each of the clubs.
No wonder the political parties spend a lot of time hiring them and paying them to put up party flags at their concerts.
Then there is….Soccer!
Oh my yes-
and if you think Sunday tailgate parties are a big thing in the States,
you ought to see what those of us who live in the path of the fans
get back in change for recycled discarded bottles on a Monday morning.
Not to mention getting to hear “On top of old Smoky” or “From the blue ridge mountains here I come” (actually, “she’ll be coming round the mountain.”)
And with full details about our local 05 club,
and just how much they will cream the other team if they dare to win on OUR turf.
It’s a good thing they don’t have,
as far as I know,
any of those songs for curling, galoshes pitching, duck-pins, boules,
ballroom dancing with dogs,
or any of the other unusual, to say the least,
kind of popular
sports being practiced Saturday, Sunday afternoon,
and at least once per week after work.
Followed by a couple of beers in the club house or pub attached or near-by.
But back to clubs.
One way or another, you always end up in a club over here,
whether you want to or not.
ie the volunteer fire department,
committees to arrange carnivals and street fairs,
three kinds of ambulance corps: St John, Samaritan, Maltese-
we have all three cards.
It’s something you just don’t not support,
and they do good work.
Then there are the support groups-
Anti-airport noise goes every Monday to Frankfurt to make a silent
and respectful but disapproving protest.
And if you had to try to sleep with planes at 2, 3, 4, and 5 am,
you would too.
And the watch groups,
since our local government has a tendency to whack ancient trees down in the middle of the night.
Gone is gone.
Oh, and of course, the ADAC, the German equivalent of the AAA motor club.
And it’s little brother,
the ADFC, the club for non-motorized bike riders.
Then there are special interest groups:
wheel chair groups, league for the blind,
clubs for those whose grandparents fled East Prussia, or the Balitic regions during the war,
and still do the local dances, speak the dialects, and cook for each other a couple of times per year.
And the animal groups-
pro: pigeon raisers, dog clubs, cats, fish,
and anti: hunting, fishing,
although, to be fair, they do do an incredible amount of forest and stream repair and ecology work as the other side of the coin.
Oh, and don’t forget the carnival clubs.
And, a specialty over here in our area,
the Union of Catholic Clubs, who have their own carnival.
And then there are the two kinds of boy scouts-
and Christian church run scouts,
the organization of church choir singers,
and all of the Moose, Elk, Optomist, and…
believe it or not,
Actually, the first time I heard of all of this,
right after I got to Gutenberg Land,
I had the idea it would be great fun to stage a contest.
His picture in the paper for the person who owns the most club memberships.
Next to the broken axel of the car he used
to bring in the proof.
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