It´s a first for me. I´m first at “English Stammtisch”. The others are coming. Hopefully. Ever since Glaubigs said our meetings will resume this Thursday, I couldn’t wait. It´s been more than a year since my last session there. Now, I´m just so eager to get back to see these old friends. Didn´t care to wear a cap, never mind a helmet. I´m not even wearing a jacket. It´s summer and a nearly flawless evening in the Luther city. Just right to visit “Haus des Handwerks” on my bicycle to catch up with local tour guides and homesick anglophiles under the umbrellas on the wide-open porch.
Our waiter has his hair done for a new start. He´s been serving food to “Kindergarten” lately. Don´t get much in tips there, I guess. So, he´s probably glad to see us back as he rekindles his efforts for a more leisurely retirement later. For now, he´s set the table with white linen and put the big English-German Dictionary (PONS) in the middle. That huge slab of a book explains, why these tables are reserved. The leatherbound guestbook illustrates with nearly a decade´s worth of entries, that it´s been good so far. I´m sure, this evening is going to be special too – even without the stimulating influx of tourists as yet. – A cane chair next to the balustrade with colorful flowerboxes looks inviting. Just the place to drop my key and stuff. I place my order and so it begins.
Not long after Thomas arrives. We get going in German and I learn a lot about Wittenberg once again – and of the Old Latin School too. Things I hadn´t heard before about the original tiles on the ground floor and about all the precious furniture bought from the University and then sold for next to nothing as time pressured hasty decisions back then. Of course, there are many other things to learn too – about the Tourist Bureau, Luther House and even the city church St. Marys – and then have not even touched on cited Beatle quotes or the unforgotten Manfred Mann Tour to Budapest in 1983. That was the year I finished off initial studies (Admissie) at Tukkies – and was getting ready for the air force: “Somewhere in Africa“… Quite a contrast – looking back.
Thomas is like a walking encyclopedia – some personalized Google – just far better and much more likeable too – with clear blue eyes and a burning passion for the left-wing of the reformation. You can imagine, that we´ve got some heated discussions, but we make more or less concrete plans with regards to canoeing, beekeeping, and some transport business as he sips his tea and I go about my draft.
Later Angela, Micheline, Mario etc drop by and we switch to English. Brief introductions are made before we go into the tax returns due soon, the coming elections in Saxony-Anhalt and possible tourist attractions for our area. I especially like the hired train ride to Ferropolis to visit those open cast mining sites, having fun and good food on the way.
The sun has set. The beer has run dry, but the nightingale can´t stop its broad repertoire. A night is just too short for all its many tunes, surprising caprioles and moving airs – and we´ll never finish our story as long as we´re around either. You just stop to go. So, one by one leaves. It´s close to midnight and tomorrow is another day. I can´t wait for the next session. Meeting friends in real life is just so much better than reading up on such events in the paper and catching up virtually and almost. Now I´ve got something for the coming days – even as I look forward to similar meetings with the hunting fraternal, local beekeepers and politicians & newsmakers. Somewhere down the line, there´ll be theologians, pastors and perhaps bishops too. I´m quite confident. If not, it won´t be the end of the world either, would it? So, goodnight for now and see You around: “Cheers vir eers!” as the nightingale sings and beetles gently weep.