Saturday, September 15, 2012


The population just isn’t “in the mood”—to shop ’til you drop, that is—and merchants are going crazy. That must be the reason why, on our last shopping trip, we saw three different “early Christmas” displays. They simply ignored Grandparents Day (September 9), Halloween (October 31), and Thanksgiving (November 22) and are already jingling the bells.

With that in mind I feel entirely justified in heralding the Erntedankfest, German, literally, for the Harvest-Thank-Fest. That takes place on October 7 this year. The word came floating into my mind on a recent walk. I usually wander without a bill-fold, but this time I had an urge to take some money—thinking of children selling lemonade at the curb. That turned out to be a guiding intuition.

My first destination was one of the Grosse Pointe’s oldest cemeteries—where many gravestones and crosses have sunk deep into the ground over time and where you can move from family group to family group and reading the last names think that you’re looking at a street map. Here lie the ancestors after whom major arteries are named. This time I discovered Frazho, a street that just happens to cause Brigitte and me frequent laughter when we’re lost. And there it is, again, Frazho!, and we are delighted and always laugh. But why? You figure it out. We haven’t.

The cemetery more or less marks the farthest line I reach in my walks—and all that time not one lemonade-selling youngster. I figured that my hunch had been off target. Then, continuing on my way back along Moross, a major artery, going west I espied a stand. Two mothers and a clutch of children were madly waving at the passing cars. Alas! I sighed inwardly, glad that I’m still “in the zone” of unfailing intuition. But when I got nearer, I had a surprise. They were selling—

cucumbers. The picture you see is the one I purchased. The spoon is there for scale.

Good Lord. I’d never seen such a mass of gigantic cucumbers—or a little boy so wildly excited. He was literally jumping up and down hoping to get me to let him show me the Pumpkins. His mother, at last, judging me the right sort, agreed. She told me that they had had an overwhelming harvest of both. I followed the little boy to the backyard where he showed me dozens of pumpkins, still on the vine, hidden by huge leaves. It was a wonder. Erntedankfest! And the little people competing avidly with the grocery store in selling their surplus.

This morning, nudged perhaps by jealousy, I went out and counted the still-to-be-harvested small tomatoes on just one of our seven plants. Mind you, we have been harvesting them for about two and a half months already. On this plant I counted thirty-six—and the other plants are larger. Something to be thankful for. Meanwhile, starvation drives our merchants mad. We expect soon to learn that Valentine’s Day is only 155 days away. Better start buying that precious present while the sale lasts.


  1. Is the cemetery the one on Moross near the intersection with Kercheval? I think it may be named St. Paul's.

    Thanks for the info on the Erntedankfest.
    We know two words: bitte and danke.

    My wife says her memoirs will be a pun: Bitter Dankes (auf Englisch)

  2. It is St. Paul's, Montag. I had an earlier posting on it in 2009, titled "Mapped in Stone," accessible using "Cemeteries" in the Categories to the right. To get your wife's memoir correctly, the right phrase is Bitterer Dank. The location of St. Paul's is at Moross and Ridge, thus touch West of Kercheval.

  3. Glad your intuition is still keen,even if lemonade stands are unlikely once school starts!

    I'm always happy to see the fruits of home gardens or even hear about them.

  4. Glad to hear that your intuition is still keen, even if a lemonade stand is unlikely found once school starts.

    I'm also always happy to see the fruits of home gardens, or hear about them.


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