This week we took a trip to a place from the past for dad. Thirty years ago, my dad signed up to go work on a farm in Germany. On our big drive north to Amsterdam he planned to stop by the farm for a visit. Dad sent an email (in German) to Joesef, the farm owner. After a great response it was final! We were to have lunch with them and their three kids (who had since grown considerably according to dad).
The first stop was at the actual farm house where dad had lived and worked. But when we pulled up we saw that it wasn’t a farm but a big house. We asked dad if he was sure this was the place and he said he was. We went up to knock on the door, and right then we knew that this was the farm dad worked on. They had taped on the front door the Californian and American flags so there would be no doubt we would miss it. The man who came to the door was in his mid-thirties and spoke rapid German. His name was Bernd. Dad said he was five the last time he saw him. Bernd showed us around the house with his wife and then took us into the living room to have beer and Fanta. We talked each telling the other what had happened since dad came to the farm. It turned out that the family used the barn to extend their house and make a bigger living space. Bernd and his wife are the only ones living there now, the mother and father built a new house up the road and the other two brothers still lived inside the town very close by. After all the talk was done and all the drinks were drunk, it was time to meet the rest of the family
Before we could even get on the road, dad had a little trouble driving up the driveway. There was just enough snow coating on the ground that was unfriendly to our non-winter tires. At first dad tried to hook chains to the wheels, but he had forgotten how to do them and Bernd insisted they were not necessary. So, with the help of some rope and a lot of horsepower, dad’s friend towed us up the short, steep part of the driveway with his 4-wheel drive truck. We got back on the road and followed them to the house farther up the hill. At the top we received a warm welcome from Joesef, Maria and their two other sons. We stayed outside a little while talking before the cold finally forced us in. We gathered around the living room, drank champagne and coke, (a small upgrade from beer and Fanta) talked, and relaxed before the cake was ready. I played my guitar for them and received a great applause, although I admit I was a little nervous playing for people I had never met before. The cookies were great, but I didn’t try the cake because I am no fan of raspberries. I did hear though that the others loved it. After all the sweets were eaten, we went back outside to explore the farm space that had been built after dad had worked here. They still had a good dairy running with 30 cows and a bull and two new calves. Bernd let us drive the tractor around everyone. Justin and I had a snowball fight with Bernd, Christof and Reiner. I did not have my gloves and my hands were freezing. Mom got a lot pictures and we had a great time. Sadly, Joesef and Maria had an invitation to go to a friend’s house that evening, so we left a little early. Everyone said his or her goodbyes and we drove back to our hotel to get ready for the long drive to Amsterdam on the morning.