Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Wonderful Celebration with Family and Friends

I just had a very big birthday with a celebration to end all celebrations!  Unbeknownst to me my sister, Carol, who lives in New Hampshire, and a close female friend, Jean, who lives in Nova Scotia, decided to celebrate it with me here in Germany.  Two days prior to my birthday the doorbell rang and there was Jean standing at the door.  I was flabbergasted!  We chatted for about five minutes when the bell rang again.  (Both times I thought it was the mailman.)  This time, Carol was at the door!  I was in shock to say the least.  Not one word had gotten to me. 

 Jean (L) and Carol (R) celebrating with a glass of Weissherbst right after their arrival

Jean and Carol arrived within minutes of each other in Frankfurt after a very hectic time, as Lufthansa was on strike and both had to change plans at the last minute. Carol nearly didn't make it.  Jean flew out of Halifax to Toronto and then Frankfurt; Carol from Boston to Frankfurt via Air Canada eventually.  That she actually arrived is amazing.  The stress was high!  They drove down together from Frankfurt.  I shall never forget the following days.

Hans arrived shortly thereafter but before Carol arrived.  He knew about Jean, not about Carol.  With all the emails going back and forth from me and them in the preceding days, it is a wonder their secrets were so well kept.

Gasthaus Rebstock

Jean and Carol had booked rooms at the Rebstock in Münchweier and that is where they stayed throughout their visit.  A great Gasthaus with lovely rooms, good food, friendly staff and a good price as well.  We all agreed to meet there for dinner.

Chris, Filiep, Jean, Carol, Janet, Hans.  This picture was taken with Chris' camera by the waitress.
We walked into the Gasthaus and they were sitting at a large round table with another couple.  I did a double-take as they were also good friends.  Chris and Filiep had driven down from Holland that day.  So one surprise after another. Thus began a very special three-week period with a big party, great food, sightseeing, many visits to the Gasthäuser and lots of wine drunk.  Oh, the memories made!

Enjoying dinner at the Rebstock

The following three pictures are from the morning of my birthday:
 Brownie is taking in the scene

That was the beginning of a busy and eventful day as just a few hours later, at noon hour, we greeted 21 guests at the Gasthof Engel in Dörlinbach for dinner and music.

The table is set and ready.  Place cards are laid.

 Our friend Robert took the following pictures.  All of his have the date on them.

Guests arrive.

Robert with me at right

I was overwhelmed with the many generous gifts, some shown at left and below.

 At the right, our friend Adolf, who celebrated his 90th birthday in January.  With him is Robert's wife, Hanni.

Carol and I on the left.

Dorothee and Carol at right

Our dinner was outstanding.  It began with soup followed by Feldsalat, luckily still available as it is a specialty only during the colder months.  Then platters of three types of meat were placed on the table:  roast pork, roast beef and Martin's wild boar.  (He is a hunter.)  Along with the meat, they served platters of fresh vegetables, fresh mushrooms in a wonderful sauce, potato croquettes (a specialty at their Gasthaus), pommes frites and Spaetzle (a specialty of Baden-Württemberg and served at all Gasthäuser in our area and throughout the province).  And, of course, gravy boats filled with hot sauce.  Martin added a specialty of his own:  A mixture of Pfifferlingen (chanterelles) that had been placed in forms and then unmolded.  To top dinner off, baked Alaska, a dessert they had never made.  They did a fine job!  

Dinner began with a toast to me given by Hans.  I replied, but no pictures as the lighting was too bright in the background.  My sister Carol then read from special cards that our other two sisters and brothers-in-law had sent to me.

Dinner getting underway


Our long-time friend, Hans Schlager, had brought his guitar.  He played for some time and then another surprise:  he had asked a close friend of his, who plays an accordion at various events, if he would play at my party and with Hans.  That nice man agreed.

Hans Schlager on the guitar
The accordion and the guitar players (at top of picture) 
taken by Chris/Filiep.
Carol and I enjoying the music
A great musician

The finale:  Baked Alaska! 

A great time was had by all.
Guten Appetit!

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