So the last time we met….
I was on my way to a Halloween show that never was,
and watching male buddies
devour large amounts of dead sea things
deep-fried, of course,
It’s the end of October.
(What do you mean, that makes no sense…?)
Which over here is one of those “super-weeks.”
Sorry. Probably too much CNN,
which is all we get over here that’s not:
by the German government,
Catholic and Lutheran churches,
and trade unions,
and pro European Union thinking,
like Radio Luxemburg and others.
And that’s also a funny story-
I’ll tell you about it some time soon.
At the moment, though,
it’s the last of October week here-
since more and more Germans are going to the states
to learn how we do things,
and incorporate it into their businesses,
or their government jobs,
Halloween has gotten more and more American each year.
on Wednesday I met a woman in the local store,
buying a three quart plastic bucket of mixed chocolate minis,
who told me she was always careful what she bought,
since afterwards she and her family
had to eat what was left over-
before it went rancid.
(I actually freeze ours-
out of sight, out of mind)
And, of course, then there are the Halloween shows,
(Germans are big on parties with edible fake body parts- did I mention I’m a vegetarian?)
we have to get through the dark days-
appointments to winterize the car,
last chance for taxes, if you have a tax man as a lateness excuse,
that very very odd German holiday known as:
It’s a middle ages thing.
Like it took most people,
way back then,
to get the harvest in,
replant with winter wheat,
or other winter crops,
and pay off the church,
who got an automatic: “tithe or your head”
percent of everything.
And, I’m not an expert on this,
but I assume it was much much higher
than the ten percent we think when we hear tithe.
And on everything-
like the city’s tithe house was always filled with extra grain-
required tithe proportionate to the amount of harvest,
and if a horse had twin foals,
one went to the local militia.
Which was furnished by the patricians,
each of whom had a certain number of horses,
and provisions and weapons
they had to “donate” each year.
they got the right to stamp coinage.
Sounds familiar somehow.
back at yesterday,
There we were.
In the middle of the downtown,
where bands played,
the local political parties tried to make inroads,
and the stores sold topcoats,
among other things,
in the colors of the season over here-
and ugly purple.
As the over 100,000 visitors,
bought and drank mulled wine
and the local specialties:
and sugar-coated roasted almonds.
The little Gutenberg train-
and on wheels,
and did a huge business in tours of the city
for all the tourists.
And the cathedral did a huge business
in visitors wanting to take in the atmosphere
of the nearly two thousand year old church,
and also to go to confession.
(Maybe because they drank too much mulled wine
and bought those ugly dirt brown and purple topcoats?)
And since the town is only approachable
by bus or tram,
since the Gutenberg 05
have tied up the entire town,
not to mention
snatching all the parking spots in our subdivision,
despite hefty fines,
than the trains”)
not to mention the fact that,
according to local legend,
our train engineers
have a real propensity for striking
right at the moment when
the trains are filled with drunken fans,
they want to go to the game themselves.
and then comes today-
the mad rush-
with illegal parking,
to get food in the house,
is All Hallows-
a religious high holiday,
where all Catholics head for the Cathedral,
and then to the cemetery,
and everything commercial in Catholic Gutenberg Land closes,
until they are done,
and a proper lunch eaten.
After which they all pile into the car,
and head out to do a little pre-Christmas shopping-
and not closed,
One thing about Gutenberger-
you’ve got to admire their stamina.
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