Sunday In Germany
By Ken Yeager
Good Morning Saigon Kids where ever you may be.
OK, it is Sunday morning, the dishes are done and I am sitting here typing this note/letter/epistle/tome/whatever. My wife tells me it is -11ºC ( 12.2ºF ) outside and I wish I was with Sarah Bush in Hawaii, enjoying I hope warmer weather. I am not a winter person. I hate raking leaves and acorns (prelude to winter), shoveling snow, driving on ice, and being cold. But what can I do? I promised my wife that when we retired from the Foreign Service, we would return to Germany and live there. Not being the sharpest tack in the box, I failed to consider winters and cold weather. And now I am stuck unless I consider divorce…nahhh, that’s out of the questions, so here I sit in my fluffy warm slippers, sweater and fleece jacket.
Not much is on the agenda between now and the time we leave for the U.S. and the wedding of my niece in March. I dread the flight over. I have no idea how many thousands of miles I have flown in my life or how many times I’ve been over the oceans, but I hate flying. It’s not fear but the feeling of total discomfort while on a plane. Overly small seats crammed into too small a space, lousy air, lousy food, noise, God knows how many weird germs floating around in the cabin, and of course, the experience of “enhanced” security displayed by our Department of Hysterical Security prior to boarding. No, there is nothing enjoyable about flying. Last time on a place was the return trip from Fuerteventura and that was OK….U.S. security not involved and therefore sanity prevailed.
In June we are off for our two weeks on the island of Sylt in the North Sea (North Atlantic) and hopefully, lots of beach time and a good tan. My wife says we should try something new, but I guess it is a sign of old(er) age that I don’t want to try new things…I want to stick with things that I know and like. It seems more and more that when we try a new restaurant, I am less and less pleased with what I am served. Somehow, eating at home is more enjoyable than going out, but that isn’t too fair to the cook…she needs a break now and then. Plus I am basically a meat and potatoes kinda guy although I have to say I love Chinese food. I could eat rice every day. Our two years in Guangzhou was, from a food point of view, a real pleasure, despite the fact that I disliked China…I think it would be fair to say we ate Chinese almost every day. Not all our meals were Chinese, but during the week it was lunch. On the weekends it was often dim-sum for breakfast. And when I am in Frankfurt I always make it a point of going to a great Vietnamese restaurant there. Haven’t found a good one in Hamburg yet. And strangely enough, was only recently introduced to a good Chinese restaurant (specializing in dim sum) in Frankfurt. Thank goodness, one of our colleagues in the office where I work sometimes is a Hong Kong Chinese and keeps in tune with good Chinese restaurants. Something I am not fond of is chain restaurants with few exceptions. With chains one has to remember that most of what is served is prepared somewhere else and hauled to the restaurant for final preparation before serving. Not exactly the healthiest way to eat. So, like the good old Mom & Pop stores, I prefer privately owned restaurants where things are generally prepared fresh…of course, I am not speaking about cheapo restaurants either…but good medium priced places. One place not far from good old Grosshansdorf is a fish restaurant that specializes in trout. Table cloths, cloth napkins, clean tableware and good food with a decent wine list. And a nice view of the lake next to it. I have to say, since I haven’t lived in the US since 1971, I don’t know if there are any decent restaurants left in the US. Probably there are many, but few of them are in Titusville where I will be in March. Dixie Crossroads is a favorite specializing in rock shrimp. But it is always so busy it’s like a factory. The corn fritters are good.
As some of you may recall, I only attended ACS for a year (61-62) and then transferred up to Dalat where I managed to graduate by the skin on my teeth. I have also managed to reestablish contact with some of my former schoolmates from there. Freeling Clower also attended school there as well…who remembers Freeling? The school closed in 1965 after several missionaries were killed by the VC and with the evaluation of official American dependents. It is now located in Malaysia and expanded from being a school for primarily missionary kids to an international school.
OK, I have rambled enough and my newspaper is calling me along with a good cup of café au lait. Getting over a case of severe gastritis so I am laying off the espresso for a while. I hope we will get over this damn cold period soon and let spring begin. I ache to ride my motorcycle.
Take care, y’all, and be safe – Ken
PS – comments are not required unless you want to say something nice to me. K