Sometimes I awake and feel that a View just has to be written. Today is one of those days.
When we arrived, we heard that we would not really understand Germany (or Europe for that matter) until we had been here for at least a year and a half. I am coming to understand that. It is like the local librarian; she looks very prim and proper, strict and rather rigid. Then you learn that in her off-duty hours, she is a member of the Bay City Rollers — a full-contact Rollerblade club — and that her favorite haunt is Mandy’s Biker Bar. Appearances are not (even close to) everything.
Last year, upon our arrival and almost exactly a year ago, the local KERVE festival was upon us. We had the ‘normal’ windows that let in lots of drafts and were absolutely useless in keeping out noise. Of course, the worst was to come just later when the old windows were removed and we suffered during half of October and all of November with “The Window Project.”
We can state today that the (cold) time was well worth it, as we lived through the KERVE celebration last weekend. We really didn’t understand what it was all about — other than that it was darn noisy, messy and intrusive. The idea of a parade where an ugly straw woman was prominently displayed, and even stolen by neighboring villages’ fire departments only to be recaptured by the local fire department, left us very puzzled and unsettled, as we did not understand.
This year we understand the celebration. It seems that the event is centered, metaphorically, around the ‘wedding’ of our village of Sandhausen with our sister village of Lège-Cap-Ferret, on the French Atlantic Coast. It seems that the two were ‘wedded’ 23 years ago (the ’80s were strange for lots of reasons). The KERVE festival commemorates that marriage.
The festival begins with lots of beer drinking. Then there is a parade where all the local clubs (who use the event as a fundraiser) build floats and assemble their groups into the most astounding dress and makeup, and parade through the village. Then they assemble in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) where speeches are made and more beer drinking occurs, along with schnapps, wine, battery acid — lots of stuff (some of it actually recognizable to polite society).
Then the area closest to our hearts, the amusement park (in the midst of which we live), awakes, with more beer drinking. The Festhalle (a stone’s throw from our deck — the stone flies over the amusement park!!!) opens and the local artisans put their wares — the product of a year’s worth of work — on display and for sale. More beer drinking occurs — which goes on for the rest of the day (Saturday) and night. Then, in the stealth of night, a kidnapping of the straw woman occurs. Dum de dum dum… Then, the counterstrike occurs and she is recaptured by our fire department. Nobody will tell us what happens if a fire breaks out.
Sunday awakes, the metaphorical representation of our sister village, Lège-Cap-Ferret, is returned to us all, and more beer drinking occurs. The rides are enjoyed; people pick up their purchases from the Festhalle where more beer drinking occurs. All of this festivity continues into late night, when more beer drinking occurs. Then, overnight the beer and food tents come down and Monday dawns. The rides continue, more beer drinking occurs, and the day and night end somewhat peacefully. Tuesday dawns and the amusement rides are opened at half-price for the underprivileged children and those who are crippled. Tuesday at 7:00 P.M., the KERVE Festival comes to a close, with more beer drinking occurring.
By Wednesday it is all over (and the sewers are full). Although the village and its residents have tried mightily to keep up with the cleanup of the debris and broken glass throughout the festival, what remains is a battlefield — made slippery by all the beer.
By tomorrow morning, I expect that there will be little evidence of the weekend’s happenings, except for the broken tiles and blocks in the pavement where the anchors of the beer tents have been driven into the pavement. Of course, the sound proof windows helped a lot. We had a great time, met the last of the neighbors (‘The Lovers’ across the street — who speak no English but with whom we had a great time), and we actually look forward to next year’s event (our last).
Lynn picked up a cold somewhere along the way (imagine that). That resulted in difficult breathing; and a rattle in her chest. Tuesday she had a doctor’s appointment, during which the doctor asked if she had any heart issues. She stated that she had long-standing heart murmur. I came home to find RoboWoman really miserable. The monitor, hanging around her neck, would ‘beep’ every five minutes, which told us that in 15 seconds the pressure cuff would inflate (to about 130) and a reading would be taken. She had to make sure that the little line drawn on her left arm was aligned with the little arrowhead on the cuff. If it wasn’t aligned the blessed device would punish her for the bad reading by inflating to a much higher pressure (about 200). God help her if two bad readings in a row occurred. That baby inflated to 255 (I assume PSI), which really hurt. That went on for 24 hours.
It was an intelligent little device — at night it wouldn’t ‘beep.’ We assume that it wanted to let you sleep. Of course, the ‘boa constrictor’ still constricted. She had a cold. The weather was miserable. To use a technical term, life sucked for her. Fortunately, all is better now and we may be able to actually kiss each other on the lips this weekend. I have a feeling that this weekend, more beer drinking will occur.