Monday, March 01, 2004

life of buddy don, chaptur 108:
good times in west germany


once classes cummenced fer the sprang, seemed lack me n emily finely gut the swang of thangs. fer one thang, we wuz bof takin classes in english. fer a nuther, we had larnt that i had been ackcepted to utk graduwait skool in english with a teachin assistuntship n she had gut a teachin assistuntship fer the secunt year of her masters program. we had finely sussed out the way the west german holidays wurked, witch till then we had us sum awful hungry times on a counta not stockin up on food when a three day weekend wuz a'cummin up.


but the mane thang that made everthang better wuz our good friend frieda muller. she wuz a skinny thang with skoliosis whar her backbone wuznt all that strate. her sister erika had the same thang. she had her the purtiest brownish red hair n a smile that wood melt the coldest hart. she n emily tuck up a friendship the lack of witch ye dont often see betwixt two folks frum such differnt cultchurs. they bofem lacked to smoke a lot, so sum evenins they wood go out while i lay aroun the apartment readin.


fack is, once i had quit trine to do sumthin significunt in flossofy, everthang got real good. thay wuznt minny people on the planet that lacked to read as much as me n emily did n once we knew whut we wuz a'gonna do whenever we gut back to knoxvull, well, we figgerd the rest of the time in frankfurt am main wuz more or less of a bonus. so ifn frieda wuznt gittin us to go off with her sumwhars lack heidelberg or würzburg or wertheim, we wood lay roun the house readin out loud to each other or jes readin in the same room together. we gut to whar thay wuznt hardly a book in the englische bibliotek that we hadnt dun red or tride to read. we even red sum folks we probly never wooda give much time, norman mailer fer instunts, witch emily woodnt read no more of him after the mane character in an amurkin dream killt his wife in the furst chaptur, or all of philip roths books or ever thang bernard malamud or saul bellow had writ up till then. corse we red sum of the big sellers of the time lack the worl accordin to garp by john irving n then once we sorta lacked thatn, we red up everthang else he had writ.


but manely, we let frieda show us her cuntry n twuz a wonderful thang to see thru her eyes. twuz as if she wuz makin shore we gut to know her corner of the worl befor we gut away. heres sum of the places she tuck us.


würzburg: die residenz
she tuck us to die residenz in würzburg, witch twuz one of the mos amazin sites we had ever seen. everthang inside wuz dun up in a style they call baroke. thay wuz more gold n ornaments n purty stuff in each one of them rooms than ye could hardly take in. one of the mos amazin thangs bout it wuz this long staircase in the middle of a huge room. the steps wuz barly three inches hi, so twuz a long walk to git frum on level to the nex. thay wuz a guide thar that splained how whenever die residenz wuz ackshly bein used by the church figgers that lived thar, mos folk that gut to visit wuz so fat they could barly climb inny stairs. twuz the furst time innybidy splained how twuz cunsidderd sexy to be a lil on the fat side on a counta twuz a sine ye wuz gittin a nuff to eat, witch dint everbidy git that.


wertheim: weiß bier
nuther thang frieda wuz rite proud of bout her cuntry wuz the bier. tiz a argument twixt yer germans n yer czechs bout who makes better bier, but frum whut i have sampled, ye cant go rong with either one. frieda lacked to splain thangs bout her cuntry that emily had dun splained to me, lack how ifn ye tuck a map of germany frum the 16th century, ye wood see sum 1,500 lil principalities n other lil gummints of sum kind. so twuz that in mos inny lil burg ye went to ye could find a castle n a differnt kind of wurst n a differnt kind of bier. she tuck us to wertheim am main, fer instunts, witch twuz jes down the rode frum frankfurt am main, but thangs wuz differnt. they had em a castle on the far side of the river, witch ye could see it in the distunts, witch we tuck sum pitchers, n then we hiiked rite up to it n went inside to look arond at all the ole stuff they had saved frum back whenever the castle wuz used fer kingly folk. after we had looked all over that castle, we went back down across the river to sum lil kneipe she knew bout n thar we had us sum weiß bier n sum speshul wurst, witch i cant ritely recall whut wuz speshul bout the wurst, but the beir wuz unlack inny we had ever tasted till then.


heidelberg in the rain
she tuck us to heidelberg one time with a cuple of other friends. i member how it gut to rainin fer a while n i wuz struck be jes how direck germans kin be. in english we say, 'tiz rainin,' but in german ye say, es regnet, witch that means 'it rains.' ye cant git no more direck than that, kin ye? innywho, i dont member much of whut we saw. the castle wuz clozed fer sum kinda renovashun, so we dint git to go in it. we did git the feelin bout how beeyootiful the lil town wuz, but the way twuz rainin on n off, twuz hard to member much else. i will never fergit a nuther moment of direck langwage. we had a cuple of friedas friends with us, witch one wuz a fat sloppy woman name of helga. we wuz wanderin roun in the rain fer the mos part, duckin into lil places fer coffee n hot chocklut whenever the rain gut too bad. twood fall fer a spell n then the sun wood cum out n jes when ye wuz gittin cumfterbull, twood rain agin. innywho, the sun cum out fer a lil while n i had my umbrella clozed up, but that wernt good a nuff fer helga. she cum over n tole me i had to open it. i ast her why n she said, 'sonst stinkt daß,' witch meant otherwise it stinks. twuz the kinda direck talkin i have always luved bout german.


frankfurt am main: friends in kneipes
n she innerduced us to all her friens, witch that hepped us larn a lot more german on a counta how sum of em figgerd we should speak the langwage of the land we lived in. we wood have long evenins in sum kneipe, witch thats a bar in english ceptn we dont use em lack fambly places in amurka the way they dun in west germany. folks treated drankin a lil differnt, lease in 1980 in west germany. ye could go to a lokal or kneipe n spend the hole evenin playin cards n mayhap ye wood buy a cuple of beers. nobidy wood shoo ye out. fack is, ye couldnt hardly git into no german homes on a counta folk wood generly meet up in sum such place.


twuz in such a place i wuz told sumthin that i never fergut. thay musta been fifteen or twenty of us all a sittin on a long table drankin beer n eatin our dinner. by then emily wuz happy to sit over by frieda n let frieda do the talkin fer her, witch i wood sit amungst folk that lacked to speak german. so twuz that i wuz sittin with the guys at one end of the table while the ladies wuz at tuther end. we wuz arguin over why english wuz a better langwage fer rock n roll, witch one of them germans sed that german wuznt no good fer rock n roll on a counta it bein too umständlich, witch wurd fer wurd that means stand-around-ish but in english ye put it down as pedantick.


we wuz a'goin purty good whenever a nuther feller cum in. he could here rite away that i wuznt no german, so he ast whar wuz i frum. i splained how i wuz frum tennessee, witch i had to splain how twuz in amurka n wuznt near california or texas or miami or new york, witch at that time, them wuz the main places yer average german seemed to know mos about. innywho, twuz a sprize whenever the feller sed he couldnt bleeve no amurkin could speak german thataway. i tole him how it had been a real struggle to git much of innythang fer the furst three munths, but after that, seemed lack i could more or less git whut wuz a'goin on.


he laffed n splained how ifn ye wonted a langwage, twuz a simple matter. ye git ye a lover n three munths later, ye gut the langwage. everbidy laffed. they gut to splainin how diffent ones of em had dun larnt czech or polish or french usin jes that method.


die hausfeier im land
innywho, frieda wuz the furst person to invite us into her home n fack is, she wuz thonly one ceptn she gut us invited into a nuther home fer a party n then out to a cuntry place fer a house party. that house party wuz down in the black forest area n twuz as close to real woods as we gut the hole time we wuz thar. thang bout west germany wuz how ever inch of land wuz bein used fer sumthin so ye dint see vacant lots or wasted area. if nuthin else, sumbidy wood cum a long n plant em a lil garden. turnt out frieda wuz friends with sum rich folk n they had em a exter house in the cuntry, so they wuz a party out thar fer a weekend with mayhap twenty folk. cant member all of em, but frieda n erika wuz thar. twuz a verr relaxin weekend.


best thang bout it wuz how thay wuz a feller thar frum iran name of ali. after we had et n wuz sittin roun the lil fireplace area outside n drankin wine or bier, we gut to talkin. turnt out ali had real good german n english bof n he had been in iran whenever the students tuck the amurkins hostage. everbidy wonted to here bout how the iranians had roused tharselves to fite back agin the amurkins, witch thats how everbidy wuz a'puttin it. but he sed twuznt thataway atall. turnt out thay wuz sum kinda nouncement on the bbc bout how ifn ye showed up in the main square thar in tehran, ye wood git ye sum tide detergent n sum mazola corn oil fer free. he sed that wuz whut gut the crowd out n once they wuz thar, twuz a purty easy trick to git em roused up agin amurka on a counta how they hated the shah n blamed amurka fer givin him power over em.


whenever he tole bout that, thangs gut verr quite. nobidy sed nuthin fer a long spell till he finely broke the silence by splainin how in his cuntry, when thays a bunch of folk sittin roun n everthang gits quite, tiz a sine that a basturd chile is bein born sumwhars. that made everbidy laff but him n seemed lack he wuz a lil sprized that folks wood laff at such a thang. i figgerd the odds wuz with him n a basturd wuz bein born, tho it seems lack ye could say that mos inny time, day or nite.


dinner at home with frieda n erika
but frieda n erika havin us over to thar house wuz the real honor. corse, they had to doot whenever thar parnts wuz out. we went over n had the typickull evenin meal of fresh bread n cheeses n cold cuts n butter n jam, that kinda thang. corse, we had us sum wine with it. twuz a grate evenin. they wuz rich folk, had em a indoor swimmin pool n a lil gym area whar the gurls wuz spozed to wurk on gittin thar backs to straten up. twuz funny to here em splain everthang they had in thar lack twuz a meedevil tortchur chamber. fer instunts, they called one of em the blutkopf folterung, witch that meant blood hed tortchur on a counta twuz a pair of boots they wuz spozed to put on sos they could dangle with thar heds down, witch the idee wuz how twood let thar backs git strate. then erika wonted us to splain sum of the lyrics to musick she lacked, witch her favert wuz joan armatrading. we also had to listn to the wall by pink floyd, witch i lacked em purty good up till wish ye wuz here but animulls n the wall never quite dun it fer me. but we had us a grate time n frieda insisted on drivin us home.


aint no way to tell ever good thang frieda dun fer us. mane thang wuz, thanks to the way she tuck us here n thar, the way she kep in touch with emily everday, the way she wuz the bes kind of friend, all that made it seem lack we had dun the rite thang whenever we cum to west germany. i aint sayin we wuznt homesick, but we wuz also gittin to whar we felt rite at home to whar twuz a shock to real eyes we had only a few months left.

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