Hans's Homemade Liquor

My neighbors never cease to amaze me. They are great. My landlord, Hans, has been busy trimming, and prepping, his trees in the backyard for Spring. When we spoke about it he told me all about how he must keep the branches short so the fruit doesn’t weigh the tree down, but also so that the sunlight can reach the fruit. He’s been out there everyday, all day, pruning more than ten trees and working to dispose of the trimmings. He’s over seventy years old! He claims yard maintenance is how he remains fit. No kidding. While discussing his fruit, how it grows, when he picks it, and the numerous products that he and his wife make from the fruit; it occurred to him that Phil (my husband) had not tasted his Schnapps.
Lucky Phil. The next day Hans came over our house for a little Happy Hour. He brought over six large bottles of homemade liquor in a krat. I was terribly afraid that we were going to get hammered; and worse, suffer the biggest hang over of our lives the next day. Thankfully Hans is social (not a pusher) and he only poured tiny bits for our tasting and made us eat bread in between. Phil had cherry schnapps, pear schnapps, apple schnapps, and peach-plum schnapps. It was really fun. During our tasting we showed Hans pictures from our most recent ski trips. I think he was pretty impressed. Time flew by and soon it was time for him to close-up our happy hour and head outside to feed the birds.

Katharina's Button Box
Katharina’s Button Box

Meanwhile, Ludwig has been fishing. He hasn’t brought home any catches that are too big, but he did bring home some great beer yesterday. I went upstairs to bring he and Katharina some muffins I had baked with preserved cherries from our yard. Of course they would not let me drop off the muffins and run. So I stayed for a beer and a German lesson. The beer was made by Tucher. It’s a Spring Festival Beer that is only made in Ehrlangen. Ehrlangen is a town near Nuremberg where Ludwig’s sister lives. During the delicious beer sipping, Ludwig and Katharina probed me to find out if I’d been sewing. Since I had, it was easy for me to report to them what I’ve been working on. No sooner had I finished explaining that I had five new scarves that just needed buttons; than they had explained that they dug up Katharina’s button collection and were going to give it to me. I was so surprised and delighted. They don’t even know my birthday is coming; and I fear not tell them or they’ll give me more gifts and beer. It’s definitely not a bad thing; but we’ve got a vicious cycle around here of
neighbor-being-nice-to-neighbor. It’s enough to make a by-stander sick!
I’ve also been trying to reach out, and support, my Army community. Just this morning I participated in a run in support of a community member that is trapped in an unfortunate traveling circumstance in Turkey. While I do not feel it is my place to report his story here, I will leave a few links where you can learn about the story for yourself.

It seems to me that there have been a number of unfortunate situations befalling our American community these days. No matter where these individuals are located on a map their stories reach every single one of us. They are tragic; and made even more so by how easily we could imagine ourselves in the victims’ (and their families’) shoes. My heart and soul goes out to all of those affected by the recent headlines. I am doing my best to stay as spiritually supportive as the rest of you. A friendship, like a family, like a community, like a national identity, is a wonderful thing to be a part of. I am grateful for all that I have and thank everyone who works hard to support it; whether it’s my next-door neighbor or my fellow Man.

1 thoughts on “Neighborly

  1. Jason Dement says:

    Thank you for supporting us and sharing my story. I’m very grateful for it.
    I also enjoyed your blog article. We are also blessed with a fantastic land lord back in Germany and some wonderful neighbors. It certainly makes a foreign country more enjoyable. I hope you have many more amazing experiences here in Germany. Best wishes!

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