Oktoberfest – not your wurst nightmare!

10-05a

What a soggy start to this morning, with thunder boomers and torrential rain and more of that ugly weather looming large. Sigh. Well at least the weather is not as bad as other parts of the country where they have alot of snow, tornadoes and tropical storms, so we are grateful for just rain.

This post hearkens back to my German heritage. I am Canadian but my father was German and my mother Canadian. My grandfather hailed from Quebec so there is a little French-Canadian blood coursing through my veins as well.

I don’t understand, speak or write German, but I can turn my German heritage on like a toggle button, just like any other ethnic-related holiday. I am American for your Thanksgiving, munching away on a slice of turkey breast and dressing with a spoonful of cranberry sauce. On St. Paddy’s Day I enjoy my version of corned beef and cabbage, albeit two slices of rye bread piled high with lean corned beef and a side dish of coleslaw, followed by lime green Jell-O for dessert. I’m not Irish, but I am for this holiday. I fix myself a plate of spicy Mexican food to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Oktoberfest will be no different. Today, I will celebrate this festive event, which occurs between September 21st and October 6th this year, with a bratwurst sitting on a bed of sauerkraut and a side dish of green beans and spaetzle. I will forego the apple strudel and have some apple-cinnamon yogurt instead (don’t tell anyone it is Greek yogurt though.)

I am no stranger to German fare. After marrying my father, my mother perfected her German cooking through the years and became a quasi-frau whipping up such favorites as wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten and potato dumplings. She made a sinful Black Forest Cherry Torte. Our family frequented Ray’s Prime Meats, a butcher shop that carried Dimpflmeier hearty German bread and every type of German sausage, or “wurst”, available. My father would make potato pancakes several times each Summer. He was relegated to the backyard to cook them, otherwise the smell of Crisco and frying potatoes permeated the entire house for weeks. My mother would peel a huge sack of potatoes while my father sat patiently hand-grating them (and skinning many a knuckle) for hours, then the patties were dropped into the hot grease in an electric skillet. We had to eat in stages as the hot, crispy, grease-laden potato pancakes were stacked onto a platter and taken quickly into the house to enjoy with a generous dollop of applesauce, while more potato pancakes were sizzling on the skillet outside. It was the only time growing up I can remember eating food with my fingers because I was brought up with the European dining method, i.e. only eating with knife and fork, not matter whether it was finger food or not.

When I was younger, I accompanied my parents to the Germania Club where Germans gathered and talked about the old country while they drank beer, ate alot of fattening food and watched a band where men pranced around in lederhosen and Tyrolean hats and women swung their hips in Alpine-style dirndl skirts with-crisscrossed bodices, puffy-sleeved blouses and had rosy cheeks and braided coiffures. This was the German way … alot of “oom-pah” music and dancing and accordion playing. My mom and I spoke no German and it was not much fun since everyone spoke German at the Club. Oh, sometimes they would speak to us in English when we first arrived, but as the evening wore on, and the beer flowed more freely, English was abandoned and the partygoers reverted to their native German tongue. Alas, there was always the food to try and enjoy.

If you’ve got a hearty appetite then you will enjoy delicious German food. When my parents and I visited my great Aunt and Uncle in Germany in 1979 we tried different German specialties every day for two weeks; there was good eating all around because Uncle Karl’s occupation had been as a chef on a train and he was eager to please and impress us with his culinary skills. He was a wonderful cook and loved making desserts for us from fruit trees he grew in his garden – plum kuchens, pear strudels … all topped with fresh pure whipping cream. We travelled through Austria with them and they wanted to have a large meal at mid-day and at night as well. They laughed at my mom and I who ate a large mid-day meal but opted to split a “wurstplatte” every night for dinner at each restaurant in every venue where we stopped. The platter was laden with at least a whole loaf’s worth of bread and no less than three dozen samples of different sliced sausages. Plenty to feed a family of four!! Germans like their food, their beer with friends in a biergarten and their music. It is the Teutonic way of life … this is probably why, when my parents discussed their only child learning to play an instrument, my father insisted I take accordion lessons. This photo above is me with my first, full-sized accordion, circa 1964. Such an ungainly musical instrument for such a little girl and I wonder if I was playing a German polka in this picture? Most likely I was playing “Lady of Spain”, a song in every accordion player’s repertoire. When we moved to the States there were no music conservatories offering accordion lessons so my studies were tabled and I haven’t played in years, so I’m likely not hooking up with any German bands anytime soon.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Oktoberfest – not your wurst nightmare!

  1. Prior... says:

    wow – how very special to have this instrument in your background – going to check out the Lady of Spain song now – 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      People who play the accordion always joke that they can play a mean “Lady of Spain” – hope you found it and if not: https://youtu.be/xIgJyi0dPRo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        I did find it and added a link in my comments – but I will check out youronk now – and linda – I have also found a few other versions of lady of Spain and feel glad to have learned about this – thanks for enriching me culturally 🎼🎼🎼

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Now, be sure to watch this video of an accordion player playing that song. This is why accordion players joke about the song – it requires a lot of effort to “work the bellows” … I am sure my father saw Myron Floren playing this song on The Lawrence Welk Show and that is why I took accordion lessons. My parents watched it every week, Saturday nights I think. https://youtu.be/AV-og7R0aBY

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        that was wonderful – thanks for sharing it –
        and I wonder if it did inspire your dad.
        and this is off the record (even tho in the wide open here) but my father-n-law snickered at the accordion idea. He has a personality disorder and I think that was when I really started to see his character flaws – when he pout down a culture rich instrument like that – he played trumpet (first chair and was a abrade manager) and his former wife played piano – and I guess the accordion did not measure up to his standards.
        – but your video reminded me of a time gone by with TV and that show – that my Polish grandmother used to enjoy – – the green jackets and the haircuts and the whole vibe was unlike today’s “looks” – eh?>
        and… he did have some fast hands

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Thanks Yvette – it dawned on me after I sent the vocal version, you’d see more how people who play the accordion really feel they have “arrived” if they can play this particular song. It is fast and the bellow action is intense and I was watching Myron Floren play his accordion and watching his fingers fly on the keyboard and the chords (there are 120 chords on a full-sized accordion; the starter accordion has 12 I believe) and that is some fancy playing. It was a large instrument as you saw in the picture and kids are usually playing sitting down once they get the full-sized instrument. My parents watched that show for years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        so fun to connect about this – wishing you a good day L

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Same back at you Yvette – I was working in the house today (“adulting” instead of enjoying myself, as we had an all-day rain today) so didn’t get any steps in. It was a dry day inside, but I don’t much care for housework.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        I did too much sitting last night and this morning – working on a certification – and finally no mas! Trimmed the rose of Sharon’s (well hey needed a few scissor clippings or they get too big so it only took 15 minutes of easy snipping) and then journaled in the sun.
        And now off to bed – sweet dreams when you go
        😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I just barely beat you in heading off to bed Yvette – we had a rainy day so I was getting things done in the house. I have been bad at taking care of the house since blogging has “taken off” and on the weekends I aim for longer walks and more picture-taking. Then I want to hop on here and do long posts … not great for a neat-as-a-pin house! But I got about 2 1/2 miles of steps just doing housework, laundry, etc. so better than no steps I guess. I have signed up to go to a few Fall events in the next six weeks and I am hoping the weather cooperates as they are all outdoors. I thought they would be interesting for me and for blog posts as well (a sunflower festival; a pumpkin patch/corn maze and tractor pull hayride; a lighthouse tour and a two-hour Fall foliage and raptor migration interpretive cruise. I’ve been on the interpretive cruise by Lake Erie MetroPark’s interpretive program before and it is interesting, though I hope October 19th is not too late in the year to do such an event. All I need is for Mother Nature to cooperate. Then after mid-October, I’ll just settle into the Fall season, get the yard “put to bed” and await Winter (ugh). Once we get a hard freeze and the mosquitoes and ticks are hopefully killed off, I’ll walk with more confidence in some of the Parks. Now we have this EEE virus lurking and it is downright scary. My garden looks overgrown in the backyard … mostly bushes now and you can’t see them from the street and a few years ago, the neighbor on one side put up a white vinyl privacy fence. Now you can’t see my yard from the busy cross street so that has made me even less diligent about pruning. I am ashamed a little and I used to take real pride in my garden and butterfly garden. The Polar Vortex wiped out almost the entire garden and I began my walking regimen, so the backyard has not looked the same since. Enjoy your Labor Day relaxing hopefully.

        Like

      • Prior... says:

        I remember you sharing about the former garden days!
        And speaking of ticks – one reason I had my hubs help me take out a back garden area (the right back where the spot converges with the neighbors fence) well it was a ground cover area with a flowering cover – two clematis – a butterfly bush and misc plants here and trhere
        But it as a tick bed!
        And that was when we had dogs and so went back to grass on the area and never looked back!
        And today is going well
        – morning yoga – with one of my favorite teachers – and having a small dinner for son’s gf’s bday. A little crabby setting up so took time to have tea and check in on blog – and ahhh – feel better!
        Hope your day is going well

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I had a weekend that I wanted to accomplish more and did not due to storms and rain and so much for that, but did have intentions to get out and tame the jungle, even if no one sees it but that did not happen. I need another long weekend and that is not going to happen until Thanksgiving now – your day became very relaxed with yoga, tea and blogging Yvette. I hate that I’m behind again – behind in comments is bad enough, but behind in Reader again! And stormy evening on the way will put me even more behind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... says:

        Well glad you got some stuff done on your long weekend – and I did not really blog at all – but checking in real quick was just what I needed – ha
        We had nice weather this long weekend so that was a plus – sorry about the stormy weather

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’m going to try to put a dent in Reader tonight – they have narrowed our severe weather between 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. … I’m hoping it fizzles and have my fingers crossed that happens. Actually our tornado season is usually over my now but we had a hot and very humid day today.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sartenada says:

    Wow Linda.

    This is amazing! I am glad that you told this. In my country we still play accordion, but it is not so popular. We have beautiful Tangos, Waltzes and Humppas played by accordion. Accordion is plays also in South America.

    If you do not mind, I will give you examples of Finnish accordion music. Don’t try listen them at once:

    Waltzes:

    Veikko Ahvenainen -Forest flowers

    Veikko Ahvenainen – Night bird

    Polkas:

    Lasse Pihlajamaa- Polka of Säkkijärvi

    Medley Old good polkas

    Tangos:

    Hyytiäinen – Stars above the sea

    Jari Saarenpää – Never-never land

    Popular songs:

    Kari Lindqvist – Johnny is the boy for me

    Hilarious accordion

    Golden Accordion Ikaalinen 2019 – Medley

    Accordion festivals in Finland:

    Satahäme plays accordion

    Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Matti – these are a lot of links and I will do as you say and listen over the course of time and then write you/comment then. I will save this post to return to. I have never known another person who played the accordion, so I guess it is not a popular instrument.
      You have a wonderful day too Matti!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sartenada says:

        Well, not popular? Two last links show that it is not true. There are countries which care to keep to traditions! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        There are two many people straying to modern music which often does not make sense. Tomorrow’s post will have a link to music that was popular in the 1970s … a Canadian band. I only use it as my post for Wordless Wednesday is about street photography, a series of signs I saw on a walk around the neighborhood and Park recently.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sartenada says:

    Sounds great! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s