After four brutal days back at work, here I am again. It was definitely tough trying to get back into working and blogging and writing after a month off and two wonderful weeks in Rome, but I am starting to get back in the swing of things. Here is the next installment of my ‘walk in the park story’, short and sweet, but hopefully enough to keep you interested. Thanks for staying with me, you are all my first, and most faithful readers. Enjoy!
I wandered along Robert Strasse, looking for a park. I had packed my bag with a towel to sit on, sun tan lotion and a book to read so I was all prepared for a couple of hours sunbathing. All I needed now was a quiet park, or garden to relax in. I walked to the end of the road, and crossed over, finding myself in a peaceful residential area. I passed a couple of little bars, and small restaurants. Oh I loved the smell of the rotisserie chickens and bratwurst that wafted out of these establishments, but it was too hot to eat. The Germans loved their meat, and it was always cooked to perfection.
It looked like the road came to a dead-end at a big black wrought iron gate. Could this be a park? I was lucky as I had indeed come to a small park, with a little pond and fountain. I would say it wasn’t much bigger than a couple of acres, but nicely set out with lots of weeping willow trees, a few benches to sit on and a lovely array of flower beds. I spread out my towel near one of the trees, in a spot that gave me a little privacy. I rubbed sun tan oil (yes oil, it fried you quicker, we weren’t too worried about skin cancer back then) into my exposed areas, pulling my top up so my middle could get tanned too, and then lay on my back for a while, enjoying the sun and tranquility. I couldn’t hear any traffic, or people, it was perfect.
I am not sure if I dozed off for a while, but I suddenly realized I was incredibly hot. I sat up and dabbed the sweat off my face and wondered if there was anywhere I could get a cold drink. I made myself look presentable and scanned the park for another gate, closer to where I was sitting. There was a smaller gate which looked like a back entrance, so I headed off in that direction. Just through the gate was a tiny neighborhood bar, with a table outside just beckoning me. I sat down and immediately a young girl came out to serve me. I used my very best German “Eine mal beer bitte, und eine bratwurst mit senf”. I think I was asking for a beer and a bratwurst with mustard. I really wasn’t good at German, but I was trying. I got it right because the girl came right back out with both the beer and the bratwurst. The beer came in a tiny glass, which meant it would be strong and full of flavor. I loved real German beer. The bratwurst came with a tiny piece of bread and German mustard. Heaven! I sat there with my local thick frothy beer and my bratty, and felt very content. I had been in the park for a couple of hours, although it didn’t seem that long, I must have dozed. It was almost four o clock and starting to cool down a little. I ordered another beer, I wasn’t in a hurry to get back home as Les would be on guard duty all night, and I didn’t know anyone locally so I might as well sit here, in the sun and read Cujo by hero ‘Stephen King’. I just couldn’t get enough of his books, some of which I had read twice.
From where I was sitting I could hear the little television in the bar, World Cup Fever was rampant. The German team was looking like it was a very strong contender to win the trophy. Every minute of every day someone reminded you that the Germans were “Going to vin of course”. The German machine! Great scorers, big and intimidating, and hard to get a goal past, but I was never a big fan. I know, after England, Germany should have been my next choice because I lived there, but Italy was my team, passionate, unpredictable and exciting! Football was meant to be played with emotion, not like a machine, even if it was well oiled. There had been lots of exciting games, but the game which was to be played the following day was the one that Les and I were looking forward to. Les would be home of course, we would both leave work early to see this one. Italy were to play Brazil, that should be one heck of a game. Both teams lived for the sport. I couldn’t wait! I was a four-year football fanatic! The world cup just captured my imagination. I loved it! I liked the FA Cup Finals, and European Cup Finals, just because those final games were nail-biting and there could only be one winner, but the FIFA World Cup, that was in another class, I had been watching it as long as I could remember, even in the day of black and white television.
In my teens I had been quite a football fan, most teenagers in England had a favorite team and covered their bedroom wall with posters of them. One Saturday night I had waited outside a ‘The Scotch Corner Hotel’, along with my friends, to get the autograph of the late great Sir. Matt Busby. During the evening I got stuck in the revolving door with the legendary George Best and I was so smitten with him at the time, that I was speechless and unable to ask for his autograph! I remember looking up at him and how he had smiled and me. He seemed like such a nice guy, shame he couldn’t handle success. I did end up getting his autograph that night, but the signature was nowhere near as memorable as standing in the revolving door looking at him. I think I was thirteen when this happened, but it is as clear in my head now, as it was on that night. There I go again, getting off track, that happens when you have a beer and start thinking about things.