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.
Safe 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.
When 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.