And Gutenberg Lived Here: Why Are Vampires Buying Brown And Purple Topcoats?

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:

council regulated,

by the German government,

political parties,

Catholic and Lutheran churches,

and trade unions,

or super-commercial

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-

time of:



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,

and parties,

(Germans are big on parties with edible fake body parts- did I mention I’m a vegetarian?)

But first,

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,

and then,

that very very odd German holiday known as:


topcoat Sunday.


It’s a middle ages thing.

Like it took most people,

way back then,

until November,

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.

For that,

they got the right to stamp coinage.

Sounds familiar somehow.

So anyway,

back at yesterday,

topcoat Sunday.

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-

dirt brown,

and ugly purple.


As the over 100,000 visitors,

yes, truly,

rode carousels,

bought and drank mulled wine

and the local specialties:

warm pretzels

and sugar-coated roasted almonds.

The little Gutenberg train-

about half-size,

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,

(“still cheaper-

and safer-

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.

All that,

and then comes today-

the mad rush-

with illegal parking,

to get food in the house,

since tomorrow

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-

in protestant,

and not closed,


One thing about Gutenberger-

you’ve got to admire their stamina.

copyright 2016

3 thoughts on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: Why Are Vampires Buying Brown And Purple Topcoats?

  1. I didn’t know everything closed down on All Hallows in some countries. Interesting. Topcoat Sunday sounds interesting too, although I doubt it has the same cross cultural appeal as Halloween. (Mind you, since drinking is involved…)

    Liked by 1 person

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