It’s cold here in Gutenberg Land.
So cold that it’s almost disgusting
that the sunshine is at the thousand-Watt,
sunburn through the frost level,
and most people aren’t out in it.
Most people meaning:
the beautiful Rhine pathway is freezing-
we were smart enough to take double strong peppermint tea
in a “senator thermos.”
Small, compact, holds a half liter.
Just about enough to warm your hands
and not freeze till you get to the car.
Actually, we both had appointments in the city,
or we wouldn’t have braved it.
And we had no idea how bad the parking situation would be-
so that we got there early enough
to park and walk.
While discussing world politics,
what we could schlep back to the house
that is hard to get where we are,
on the top of university hill,
where everything is more expensive,
and you can get twelve kinds of Berber carpets
(not for us, thank you)
but only one kind of peanut butter.
(Have you ever tried to eat something marked
“100 percent pure- no additives-
(no salt, no sugar, a texture, and color,
like silly putty?)
So there we were,
tramping fast down the Rhine,
trying to keep up a tempo
so that our feet wouldn’t freeze,
when we realized.
On the low wall,
overlooking the water,
was a woman in a winter fur-trimmed coat,
and her fancy blouse,
open to the sun,
airing her victoria’s secrets.
Followed, after a short distance,
by a younger woman,
airing her stomach,
and the stomach of her poodle,
to the last rays of the winter sun.
This is Gutenberg land, remember.
There are no paper gowns
when you go to the doctor’s.
So back at the ranch.
we headed to the city.
Where we discovered:
- a vast emptiness in the city- where were all those people, whose cars filled the too few parking spots? and
- they were all inside eating Lent fish.
Lent fish, if you don’t know it, is part of a very very long tradition here in Gutenberg land
this being one of the three oldest and most important cathedrals in Germany,
if you have to eat fish, make it worthwhile.
there is a Fischtor-
the fish gate,
which features a marvelous statue of two world orbs
and a humongous jumping trout-
I can only tell fish apart in aquariums,
and that only with little hand-lettered signs.
So there we were.
In a city where all the luncheon specials
were thousands of kinds of breaded fish,
and octopus rings.
to not scare the children.
Who eat them happily,
since they look like rubber bands.
The alternative to all fishy friends,
being spinach and eggs,
or Indian vegetarian curries,
or some form of salad-
what, are you nuts?
In the cold?
Or one of the thousands of vegetarian concoctions,
nearly all gratin
being flogged at the moment.
And then, of course,
there are all of the great forms of squash-based soups,
lentil quiches etc.
We Gutenberger are nothing,
if not creative.
So, the next time you go out for lentils,
sometimes even with pieces of fried fish in them,
remember us Gutenberger,
and the place that really rocks
At least six weeks per year.
you could, of course go to McD’s,
Called Mekkies here,
for a burger.
or maybe not.
Since having to admit that you want to eat food
from “the protestant corner”
takes a lot of guts,
here in Gutenberg land.
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