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SUNDAY IN GERMANY: Celebrating 30th Wedding Anniversary

by Ken Yeager

The sun is shining for the moment…. it won’t last too long as more showers are predicted.  It has been one hell of a lousy summer here in north Germany…..if we could have swapped rainy days for sunny days, then the summer would have been normal…. but what is normal for the weather these days?   Right now, the east coast of the United States is being hammered by Hurricane Irene…. Hope everyone comes out of it safely and with no losses of any kind.  Now that I’ve re-established contact with so many former SKs, I have more people to worry about.  I want everyone to be safe all the time.

Attended a reception at the American Consulate General Hamburg to celebrate the 60th birthday of the “Little White House on the Alster.”  The Consulate in Hamburg was established in 1790, one of the first eleven diplomatic missions established by the United States after independence, and has occupied a number of different locations since its beginning.  My wife worked in the Consulate for 16 years before I stole her away.  I was there for less than two years, back in the 1970’s – my third overseas post after Sweden and Cambodia.  Four guests at the reception were ladies who all had retired from the consulate years ago…the oldest was 94 and I think the youngest was 82.  I had worked with three of the four during my time in the Consulate.  The Consulate occupies a lovely building that sits on the shore of the Alster Lake on the Alsterüfer, the street that runs between the lake and the Consulate.  Unfortunately, after September 11, 2001, the city of Hamburg has imposed security restrictions in front of the Consulate and as a result, through vehicle traffic is no longer permitted.  The city spent something like € 2 million on barriers and guard houses for the police to improve the looks of the security arrangements and shortly thereafter, the US government began cutbacks and the city and the Consulate were both afraid that the consulate might close, but that, so far, is not the case, although the Consulate is much less utilized that it was ten or fifteen years ago.  Sad.

My wife and I did a nice ride on the motorcycle to Timmendorferstrand which is a small town on the Baltic Sea and had a pleasant lunch on a nice sunny and warm day.  I know the town as it is where I did my rehabilitation after my operations last year.  My wife knows it because she used to date a boy who lived there (her high school days).  Riding up we used secondary roads but coming back we got a bit mixed up, wanted to avoid a toll road, and rain was a concern, so we used the Autobahn.  First time for 140 kilometer (87 MPH) run on the motorcycle with my wife…. I’ve done it myself a number of times, but a first for Gisela.  Unfortunately, the Autobahn coming out of Lübeck is kind of rough and so she was not that comfortable.  Looking forward to getting the gel-pads for our seats on the cycle.

Last Sunday was a celebration of sorts.  Gisela and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in July, and we wanted to have some friends over to help us celebrate, but it being the summer months, several were unavailable at the right time so we decided to fix a date when everyone would be in town and that was last Sunday.  Ten guests were invited, all being friends or spouses of friends and unfortunately, one of the “spouses” managed to fall down some stairs and was pretty well injured and hospitalized, so in the end we were just eleven, Gisela and I included.  We all met here (again, luckily a nice sunny day) and had some champagne with greetings and introductions before driving to a restaurant in the next village for a buffet luncheon which was super.  Afterwards, we returned here for the traditional German “kaffee und kuchen” or coffee and cake.  One of the guests was kind enough to bring two cakes, one strawberry and one plum and Gisela made a cheese cake, and of course, whipped cream as a topping.  The Grappa bottle was broken out as well.  House emptied about 1700 and was cleaned up in about an hour with dishes washed, dried and put away.  Very pleasant day.  I especially enjoy getting together with the folks that we don’t see that often and as much as I hate to say it, we are all getting older and it shows.  Oh well.

So much for Sunday in Germany.  I would have never made being a journalist, would I?

Take care, stay safe (and dry) and hugs to everyone. 

Ken

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