Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Life

Diekirch, Luxembourg; July 17, 1966. A Sunday afternoon. Here's what I was writing:

We just arrived here by foot; it is 5 kilos from Ettelbruck. I have a new rucksack that is jammed with a hard breadloaf, a stick of sausage, two kinds of cheese, a jar of pickles (the jar, on top of the cost of the pickles, cost 3 cents), two oranges, a bottle of wine and a package of what must be home-made potato chips. The latter was given to us by the lady in the shop where we bought the food. We'll stop along the path on the way back and have our meal.

Diekirch is a little smaller than Ettelbruck although it is the seat of the county, also called Diekirch.

While walking around Ettelbruck after my sausage sandwich yesterday afternoon we passed a Famille de Pension. The menu and prices posted outside looked good so after returning to our hotel and cleaning up some we went back to this place. It was late for dinner and we were the only ones eating. The waitress spoke excellent English and had six weeks ago married an American Airman. Her name is Palmyra. She jabbered and jabbered and we were there until 10:30pm. We had beef steak, french fries, salad, three beers and two coffees each. Only 162 francs ($3.24) each. Palmyra was interesting, showing us her scrapbook filled with pictures of the wedding and honeymoon. She said that the people here have a low regard for the Germans; there is not a street which could be looked up without viewing great destruction; in Palmyra's own home one coud stand on the ground level and look up to the sky. When her parents came back after the war everyone was required to have some sort of enterprise in order, I suppose, to get some sort of an economy moving again. So her family opened this Famille de Pension and today they still see their very first customer -- a German from just over the border. She showed us some of their guest rooms o the upper floor; they were beautiful and spotlessly clean.

I asked Palmyra about General Patton, whose forces liberated the city in 1944. "He is a god to us," she said. Patton, after the war, was killed in a jeep accident not far from here.

After leaving Famille de Pension we went into a bar we'd passed earlier on our afternoon walk. We'd noticed it had a jukebox. The song we played over and over was "Long, Long While" which here in Europe is the flipside of "Paint It Black" -- we'd never heard it.

After a while, drinking beer and playing that song over and over again, and while Dennis had gone to piss, the younger waitress came and sat beside me, saying "Excuse me." She sat talking with us until the place closed at 1 a.m. I spoke almost as much German to her as English and she understood me fine. This bar was run by this girl's mother and two of the girl's sisters. She claimed her name was Baby. At some point there was a ruckus at the bar. According to Baby, recounting the incident afterwards, one of the local men had asked if one of Baby's sisters behind the bar was, in Baby's words, "a girl for hire." The mother grabbed one arm and one ear and the insulted sister grabbed the other arm and the other ear, and there was a lot of shouting as they led the man to the door where they each farewelled him with a loud slap on the face.

We drunkenly and happily stumbled to our hotel.

And now we have rested enough. Dennis just snapped a picture of me writing, and we must start back to Ettelbruck.

1 comment:

  1. Great reminiscence! On the matter of the European version flipside of the record you heard, I've found it to be pretty common for record companies or producers to release different tracks in different countries. I think it has to do with what they think will be popular due to current trends in that country. That's my best guess.