Unsettled and never quite satisfied with job and plight, my journey led me to Germany in the spring of 2012. Though teaching brought me here, staying is a result of everything the country and continent have to offer, including love. Each new destination is an adventure. With camera(s) in hand, I hope to capture and remember every bit of what I am seeing and experiencing.

 

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Not Like a Barbecue in the Old West

July 29, 2018

There was a German barbecue -- a Grillparty -- yesterday at a friend's, but I couldn't go because I have a big dog. 

 

Actually, he's a very large puppy who with his St. Bernard roots tends to moisten the laps and clothing of humans.

 

It's understandable that my dog shouldn't be allowed to run freely around someone else's yard, jump on people in his excitement and slobber on anyone. This is, after all, Germany, where a barbecue is more like a sit-down dinner, with Ordnung and civility. 

 

I reflect on barbecues back in the southwestern U.S., where I grew up. In Colorado, where I lived for 10 years, almost every barbecue attendee brings their own Hund, and the dogs have as much fun as the people, if not more. Throw them a piece of an unfinished burger, or let them chew on a rib bone, and they're in doggy heaven. 

 

Dogs are not tied up. Yards are large, acreages don't have fences. Dogs can exhaust themselves enjoying a summer day. They may stop by to slobber on someone, but usually they're too busy running around, splashing in a stream, playing, and wrestling with a fellow canine. 

 

The more I thought about the Grillparty and being advised not to attend, the more I reflected on the benefits of not going:

 

- there would be no need to engage in incomprehensible or irrelevant conversations in a language I haven't yet mastered during a long, drawn out feast on piles of meat and bread;

- the negativity and dirty looks from the never-to-be-my-future mother-in-law would be entirely avoided;

- my back would not suffer from cramping up in one chair for the entirety of the event (mindestens 4-5 Stunden); 

- my digestive system would not be overstuffed with pork and other meats; and

- there would be no need to wonder why my always-delicious salsa or spinach salad are not devoured immediately.

 

Germany is a beautiful country, but barbecues I've attended here ain't like home.

 

Of course, no mean old ladies would be allowed to attend, and if so, they could be entirely avoided (or laughed at) in the plentiful space provided. 

 

My dog could be there, run wild and free, play with his doggy cousins, and be exhausted at the end of the day.

 

I'd get to walk around and visit with friends and family in various parts of the house and yard, so my back would hurt only from bending down to pick up horseshoes I'd thrown during a game.

 

Finally, the meat-eating itself would not last two continuous hours but rather 15 minutes. That way, we would get to the finer art of visiting with friends, playing more horseshoes, grabbing a cold one out of the ice chest, helping in the kitchen, talking, laughing, and enjoying a summer evening on a porch or in a yard with views that stretch for miles.  

 

And neither the dog nor I would be chained to one place. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wörterbuch / Dictionary

(die) Grillparty -  barbecue

(der) Hund - dog

mindestens - at least

(die) Ordnung - order

(die) Stunde(n) - hour(s)

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