Too Fast – Too Slow

Life in Germany can be too fast if you’re driving on the freeway or too slow if you had to live in one of its little towns.

It was a drizzly day on the freeway – the kind of day when you would normally drive more slowly to take the road conditions into account – but we tried that and got the horn from many an impatient driver, even in the slower lanes. It wasn’t long before those horn honkers had a sobering reminder of what happens when you drive like a maniac in poor weather conditions.

img294Safe in our small town of Bad Koenigshofen, we explored the path my mother and I used to walk. We weren’t religious but as a child I was fascinated by the Stations of the Cross. After passing all the statues, there was a small monument like a shrine. If you continued on this little path you would come to the town of Ipthausen. As I remember, my mother always referred to this path as “the way to Ipthausen.”

Please excuse my fumbling efforts to delete the people standing next to the statues.

img130aimg140aHere is the butcher shop where my parents used to shop just after the war. I don’t know if it’s still there now. It is 36 years since I took this picture.

img135When I was five I was walking along the sidewalk with my mother, just outside this butcher shop. She stopped to talk to a woman who had a huge St. Bernard named Barry hitched to a small wagon. Barry’s head and mine were almost at the same level. I asked my mother what was on Barry’s face. She told me it was a muzzle. In German, the word for muzzle (Beisskorb) literally translates as “bite basket” and that was enough to cause me to shrink into the side of my mother’s coat and hold her hand in a death grip. In hindsight, I think Barry was probably a very gentle dog. I had no reason to think otherwise, except that he looked like a lion.

It’s funny how places can trigger memories. In my mind lions and butcher shops go together.

22 thoughts on “Too Fast – Too Slow

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      The translation of Beisskorb is enough to strike fear into any child’s heart. But yes, it is a funny word for muzzle. I bet in your old photos you would find some real beauties. You should start digging!

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  1. bulldog

    These are great shares from the past… but I must ask… who are you blocking out of the photos.?? Is it people you knew or those you did not know.?? I love the last photo, you are so lucky to have old photos like these… we lost all ours in a flood…

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I’m blocking out myself and my husband. He’s shy and I was having many bad hair days (missing my blow dryer and all my usual hairdoing stuff). Sometimes I looked pretty geeky and I didn’t want to frighten my blogging friends.

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  2. Ursula

    I never heard the word “Beiskorb”. Must come from “Beissen”. The dictionnary calles it “Maulkorb” and thats also how we call the muzzle.
    And I never seen a St. Bernard with a muzzle. I wonder why that was – they are usually like lambs. Its lots of fun to see those old pictures.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I just realized I must have spelled it wrong. It should have had two S’s, but yes, it definitely comes from the word “beissen.” It’s probably a local term of that time, but that is what my mother called it. I see in the dictionary that they are called Maulkorb. The St Bernard was very gentle and not aggressive in the slightest. I was only terrified by it’s size, and the name of the muzzle. Also, I was afraid of dogs because my older sister had been bitten recently by an Airedale terrier, so I knew that dogs could bite.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      We left Germany when I was six years old so I feel more Canadian than German, but you never forget your roots. There were wonderful memories even up until the age of six. Still, I’m very glad to be Canadian and I would never want to live in Germany permanently. Lovely place to visit though.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      With all the traveling you do, I understand why it’s hard to have a dog. I’m sure the St. Bernards are a gentle breed. They are beautiful dogs. The only thing I could say against getting a St. Bernard is that your dog food bill would be pretty high.

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    2. wordsfromanneli Post author

      No, of course not. I only meant if you were to get one now…. Some neighbours of ours had two huge dogs and we thought their dogfood bill must be substantial. Our spaniel doesn’t eat that much, but we joke about our next dog being the kind you don’t have to feed. (Of course there is no such thing.)

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      There are a few more expressions I could come up with but I’d have to dig very, very deep. I think the “bite basket” is a legitimate term in that part of Germany, at least at that time, it was, but you’re right, there are some funny ones.

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