In a recent “And Gutenberg Lived Here” blog,
I talked about Sunday morning in the land of Celts and Teutonics.
We have a huge population of celtic ancestry here-
Stonehenge-like builders from way back,
(they were here before they went to GB or Ireland)
and the result on the populace is visible.
Those Gutenberger descended from Celts are small,
with a slightly rounded head,
a body with approximately the figure of the Michelangelo David-
with clothes on,
but not nearly as often as in the US,
and a definite love of walking in the woods,
anything that used to be an animal or a plant.
As opposed to the Teutonics,
who, with clothes on-
cord pants and hiking boots, usually nix on the shirt-
(the ones over sixty pull in their stomachs,
and carry a large walking stick)
walk through the woods,
and collect and barbecue anything that used to be an animal or a plant.
With the difference that the Teutonics are usually taller,
and often have a square jaw and a flat back to the head.
The rest of the country, are probably East Friesian, Bavarians, Turks,
or Japanese tourists.
So now that you know the teams,
what are their natural behavior patterns?
Germany, I hate to say it, is, at least in my opinion, after long years of living here,
still VERY much a class conscious society.
You can see it by the lifestyle.
A particular kind of car,
and you know immediately where someone comes from
and what they do for a living.
(and they had better have the academic,
or workman-journeyman-master papers to prove it,
or the entire neighborhood goes up in arms.)
As opposed to the locals of St Louis,
where you can immediately learn everything about someone
just by asking where they went to high school.
If you can’t hear it in the accent.
St Louis, for those who don’t know it,
is the most western of the east, the most eastern of the west,
the most southern of the northerners, and northern of the southerners-
Each neighborhood with its own variation-
And has a huge collection of own foods, (cracker pizza and fish in corn meal)
clothes- short shorts with white knee-high socks, or “summer suits-”
for going to the “city”
and idioms “full as two ticks” “marching up like Cox’s army”
you get the picture.
Gutenberger, however, aren’t just quaint,
they are a historical tableau.
Picture, for example,
the historical costume groups-
mostly the Pomeranians,
who meet to dance the historical dances
they used to dance on the large estates,
like the old southern plantations
back in the days before WWII sent them to Gutenberg Land.
And if you really want to get an earful,
there are the historical brass groups-
horn instruments of wood,
Who play for the high masses.
In a cathedral staffed by Swiss guards,
in Vatican uniform with halberds.
And then there are the popular festivals-
the largest wine festivals in the world,
the “rock around the Loreley,”
or the “open ear festival,”
with stars like Bob Dylan.
Hey, before Dylan, it was the troubadours-
we have a long history of historic rock festivals.
The most popular, however,
are the nature festivals-
always organized by a committee of the class of …
Who, for five years after that date,
organize the stealing.
and sawing through
of the neighboring village’s maypole
so they can’t put it up to announce their may dance.
Or the parties, where the young girls cook,
and pack picnic baskets that are auctioned off,
actually it is just buying a date with the girl,
and can get pretty sticky,
if the girl dislikes the boy who buys her basket,
or has baked syrup buns.
And then, of course,
there are the historic battles between the Catholics,
and the Lutheran “minority”
about fifty-seven percent at last count
said “minority” being the ones who demonstratively hang their bedding out the window,
after first shaking it over the heads of the 7 AM Catholic trombone choirs
who march through the streets
calling the locals to masses on the high holidays.
Since they, the Lutheran bedding shakers,
thought that they might get to actually sleep in until 9 that day.
Since their church starts at-
10, 10:30, 11.
And then, of course,
there are the battles between the musicians
and the normal people.
“Fathers and mothers, bar your doors, musicians are in the city.”
And since music is supposedly the universal language…
Sorry. Not really.
I don’t know a lot of musicians, for example,
who like to sit with friends, invited over for a meal,
with music playing in the background.
(a huge favorite over here)
do not make me feel well.
And Bob Dylan
just ain’t for chillin’
By which what I really mean is,
invite a musician over,
and he has two choices-
concentrating on you, and what you are saying,
or concentrating on the music lines-
unless the music is so bad you can’t,
at which point, said earful is usually so bad a musician has a tendency to laugh out loud.
Or get an ear ache.
Not really a good way to thank people for an invitation.
But still not as bad as a friend of mine,
who conducts a large symphony over here,
and insists that anything that makes noise either plays at A-440 or stays off.
And since my pot lids are luckily in A 440, but my cabinet doors aren’t,
despite oiling them just before his visit,
we usually eat at his house and I bring potluck along.
(And try not to bring along things like green beans, that could squeak in the wrong key)
Although I have, definitely, heard some great music,
and gotten some real insight,
on one of these magical music junkets.
(And he even likes the Beatles-
just not Elenore Rigby-
the version where they sing flat with the London Symphony.
Still and all,
music, food, and friends.
Not a bad thing to do with a Sunday night.
Which gives you just a bit of an idea,
what life is like here in Gutenberg Land,
From Saturday at one,
or at the latest two,
when the artisans, craftsmen, and guild members,
and shopkeepers, of course,
close their shops,
and everyone goes home to a thick pea soup,
or grabs a bratwurst out and then starts running errands,
then plays soccer, or does one of their hobbies-
flying, volunteer fire department, chicken raisers, glee club,
help out in the senior teams,
coach the little ones who will take over one day,
or just plain go fishing-
(with the fishing club. Who are conservationists. You don’t just drop in a line over here.)
Saturday night is for friends to come over,
or drinking in a pub, or movies.
At least in our experience.
Sunday, then, is the great sleep-in day.
With many churches not starting till 10 or 10`30,
or even, as a pastor once told me, 11,
since the older members of the congregation take longer to get ready,
and before 11 is too hard on them.
And also because our pastor is definitely a night person, but who is counting….
So that leaves us with the afternoon.
Oh glorious Sunday afternoon.
Started, by a lot of people,
with a drink,
the so-called early cup,
in the local pub,
and political discussions.
And political discussions,
And political discussions.
followed by mama’s
which men over here have an unfortunate tendency to call their wives-
Harold, so far hasn’t dared,
big roast carrot potato lunch,
or a big roast lunch in a carvery in restaurant row,
reservations three days ahead, please.
(Gutenberg Land has probably as many restaurants as the inner city of London,
with only 350,000 populace)
And after the feast, it is time for…
the obligatory walk in the woods.
Where you hug trees,
and collect mushrooms to grill for supper,
or berries for the formal cake and coffee hour,
Maybe I’ll just pretend it’s Monday this week.
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