Well, today was quite a day. This morning when I reached for my hearing aids on the bedside table, I found only one and the second battery. We took the bed apart. We covered the entire floor in the room with our hands searching for it. The maid came in and said, “You get ready for your excursion. Once you are gone, the butler and I will search. Don’t worry. We will find it.” By then I was upset and willing to give the responsibility to someone else.
I turned the search over to her with great joy. We left for the special Octoberfest celebration organized by a local town just for us. We ate special sausage and cabbage, all traditional, even apple strudel. They entertained us royally. Of course local beer and wine flowed like the river among us. While we ate, they sang traditional folk songs and asked us to join them on some pop songs from the 1950’s and 60’s. We had a grand time.
This was followed by a stroll through town with a local guide who also entertained us with lots of local history. It was obvious she enjoyed her job. She told us about the fate of the Jewish families in their town. She talked of the shame the German people felt. Carefully, she pointed out bronze bricks that were embedded in the cobblestones in front of the house where three generations of a Jewish family lived until they were arrested and carried off. “You will see more bricks in front of other houses,” she said. “My son and other youths from his school raised funds to purchase these particular bricks,” she said. “When children turn fifteen, they must go with their schools and teachers to visit a concentration camp so they will know about this atrocity. We don’t want to forget our shame. Our mayor stood in this square several years ago and apologized publicly for what the German Nazis had done to the Jews.
She pointed out many other things, some of which were funny. We saw the narrowest house in town, less than three meters wide. We saw a pair of skeletons above the sign for a restaurant that mark the place where a cemetery had been. We saw the flood lines marked on one of the houses. This town floods every seven to nine years. House insurance here is a problem.
When we returned to the boat, the mysterious hearing aid was still missing. We had a snooze. There was really nothing else to do. Tonight, we were scheduled for a special intimate dinner with a few of our new friends in the Portobello Café. When I was dressing for the occasion, I opened my special green jewelry carrier, the Christmas gift from Connie and family. Surprise! Hiding among the earrings was my hearing aid. It must have been entangled with last night’s earrings. Gratefully, I put it in my ear only to discover that the other one was no longer in my other ear. Tom was sweet. We searched until it was time to go for dinner. He found the battery, but no hearing aid. After dinner, we returned to our room. A careful search of the floor produced it, hidden under the closet floor. Needless to say, they are both now carefully nestled in my glasses case.
So where were my joyful moments today.
- When I was crying over my lost hearing aid, the caring and assurance of the maid was pure joy. Why? She took over when both Tom and I were defeated in our search. It was life-giving.
- Of course, ending the hearing aid mystery was certainly a joy filled and thankful moment.
- Tom’s loving attitude all day helped so much. Whatever he felt, he treated me with kindness and love through the whole ordeal and patiently helped me search both times.
- I was amazed that I was able to leave my worry and frustration back at the ship and enjoy the Octoberfest celebration. At one point, the entertainers gave us a beautiful Bavarian waltz. Tom and I danced, floated around the room. Yes, that was a joy filled moment.
- The guide’s description of the German attitude to the holocaust was not exactly joy-filled, but for me, it was an important learning, a story I needed to hear.
All in all, we’ve had a grand day. The leisurely pace of this wonderful cruise is fantastic. I’m thrilled.