“Little remains”

Join me this month for stories of our time here in a small German village where we’re visiting with my mom. I’m experimenting with straight journal-style blogging as a ‘post-a-day’ challenge. Thanks for reading, Bill 

Any time someone opens the refrigerator door it smells like cheese. Cheese isn’t a smell I like generally. Charlotte commented on the fridge, the smell. We polished off most of the cheese the first or second night with mom’s famous pear salad (pears marinated in lemon juice, greens, walnuts). Mom said when Guido (her sometimes lodger) is here he doesn’t refrigerate leftovers, he just leaves them out. Guido’s a cook, he came here because the French guy’s wife has a brother Guido’s friends with who opened a restaurant in town but there was a falling out and he just walked out on the job one day, quit. Leaving the leftovers out makes me wonder if that’s why mom has problems with the mice, they think it’s for them. I thought that this morning standing in the kitchen by the light of the oven eating cold pasta with a fork in the dark. Each time I’d cover the pasta but then go back for it and eat more until it was almost gone. You can’t say “I’m full” in German because that implies you’re pregnant, the same in France. Keep eating too much and you’ll look that way, too.

We spent the day trying to stay awake, drove to Bietigheim, walked around the Christmas market. I asked in German if they had a table for five and they did, one off to the side which was good in case the kids came unglued. But our German fell apart when we ordered and it was obvious we didn’t know what we were talking about. We still got beer, schnitzel, Flammkuchen, sodas for the kids. The Flammkuchen came on big wooden trays with handles, hardly space on the table for it all. We were going to get some beer for takeaway but felt gross and bloated and decided against.

Reading David Sedaris’s book of diaries now, calculate he must be 61. Somehow can’t picture him that age, his voice will always be much younger than that for me, like rock and roll singers who aren’t supposed to grow old.

The diary entries are often just a paragraph or two, hardly a whole page. There are gaps of weeks, sometimes months in between, and in the early years (’77 to ’83 at least) you can read a whole year in about 10 minutes. I’ll start to get into the scene but it doesn’t develop or go anywhere. It’s oddly realistic that way, diaries, looking back on one’s life, and what little remains.

Photo of our oldest daughter Lily, 2009: last day of kindergarten in Besigheim, first sabbatical in Germany.

Categories: Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Sixty-one, eh? Shit that’s old.


  2. It occurs to me that it’s hard for English speakers to say “für fünf.” I’d probably just hold up five fingers.

    I took a terrifying tour through my old diaries last year, and I might never do it again. I’ll have to look at Sedaris’s and see if he was as irritating as me. (Shit, he’s only a year older!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t believe it. David Sedaris will never be 61. Uh-uh. No. Not possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He sure doesn’t sound it. God I love that guy, having a hard time getting into his diaries but at the same time can’t stop reading it, strange dilemma.


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