Friday, May 23, 2014
((1970, Augsburg, Germany) (The Sun, the Potato Fields, the Inn))
Part II out of III
It was early forenoon, somewhat warming up from a chill ascending that had been left over from the night before, within the Bavarian valley—my bones lightly shivered. The sun had melted most of the light patches of snow on the ground, a few molehill remaining, —as we drove alongside the potato fields. It was spring in the valley but the sun was extremely tepid. Chris Steward drove slowly alongside the roadside, women were planting in the potato fields, and their backs were bent over like hunchbacks, then rising carrying whatever I presume was leftover from the winter thaw, in their aprons.
As we rode alongside the cemetery, a little way further from the potato fields, a burial had just started. Chris (a German-Jewish young lady I had been dating), said, “My grandmother is buried here, I want to see her, I will also be buried here someday, right beside her in this cemetery (she had leukemia).”
We got out of the car and walked through those thick Jewish-German cast-iron gates. I said, “Grüss Gott,” to a few folks walking by as we approached the gravestone to Chris’ grandmother.
I’m not sure if it’s customary or not, but people never speak to you in graveyards, so it seems, it’s as if all of a sudden they stopped being sociable, or on the other hand perchance I was not sensitive enough. I understand if they’re in prayer, but they didn’t look it, just passersby—anyhow, what did I know, I was a young lad, and it was all observation to me.
We stopped by her grandmother’s gravestone, and she spoke something in German, I watched two custodians digging a hole, leaving the dirt on one side of the hole, as to be used to fill it back up later on.
They had Bavarian hats on, and high leather boots, and I stared at the grave to be, and then at Chris. And then the two men stopped shoveling dirt, and they straightened up their backs some, took a drink out of a quart bottle of beer that had rested alongside their shovels. Yes shovels, this was 1970, the shovel was still in use.
“What a day to die and be buried on…” I thought in a whisper to my mind, but I guess every day is somebody’s short day.
“I want to be buried right here, right with my grandmother, she spent a lot of time raising me,” said Chris, with a near flat tone to her voice—as if unwelcoming the day, as if the day was soon to come.
(I, knowing her father was killed by the Nazis, he was a professor at a university, and her mother and grandmother, along with her, had escaped to London until the finality of the war, WWII, in the early part of 1945, her being only a year and a half old at the time—)
It was getting late in the morning, and I was getting hungry. We hadn’t stayed too long at the potato fields, nor at the cemetery—but just getting there and going back and forth to the car consumed up the morning, yet perhaps too long in the valley. I was glad the day wasn’t over, I wanted to do other things, and it was a lovely time to do them in.
We drove out of the valley, past many an old style Bavarian Inn and guesthouse, and just houses in particular. And I guess it was good to be down in the clearing, in the so called dell or basin of the valley. One could feel the last of the winter winds, with the basting of the sun, and the leftover snow, tainted by the sun, in consequence, the end of a season, is like a death so it reminded me of, especially after visiting the cemetery.
We saw a guesthouse, the innkeeper sat in his chair outside basting in the sun cozy like at table on the sidewalk, and beside him his wife stood enjoying the fresh cool air. And we stopped the car, walked up to the inn, and I said “Grüss Gott” and they returned the greeting, and we sat in the guesthouse and had lunch, we had had our share of the morning sun and it was nice to be greeted—
No: 510 ((11-1-2009) (written on the day of life)) Dedicated to Chris Steward. • Note: This story, “Bavarian Sun” was taken out of the author’s book “A Romance in Augsburg” written in 2000-2001, Chapter Five, “The Potato Fields, and rewritten as a short story. Reedited, 5-2014. /Reedited 7-2015