Skip to content

A Chin Off The Old Block

My father had a love affair with Germany. For all I know, he had a love affair IN Germany, but he doesn’t talk about such things. Not directly, anyway.

“Get those pictures out of the closet, Linda. Those ones of me in the army.”

“I’m not digging those pictures out, Roy.”

“But they all” – indicating MTM, my mother-in-law and me – “they want to see ’em.”

“I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT, DAD!”

“I’m talking about Germany. The army. How good looking I was. I had to beat women off with a stick. Did I ever tell you about that one time—”

“EW, DAD! STOP!!! I’LL GO FIND THE FREAKING PICTURES……….HERE!!”

“See there? I was handsome, wasn’t I?”

“Where are all your chins, Roy?” (MTM isn’t favorite son-in-law for nothing.)

“Yeah. I always wanted to go back to Germany……..”

Dad was stationed in Germany in the 1950s. In 2000, he almost went back. He wanted to take my mother to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau………and drive on the AutoBahn………and visit the Black Forest………..and tour most of the rest of the country.

He was 66 years old.

He never made it.

Now, at almost 80, he’s agreed to take a crazy trip with me along the Natchez Trace, a place that is decidedly NOT Germany.

Our parents make us who we are. They give us their good bits. Their bad bits. Everything in between.

I wish……….I hope………Oh hell, the Deep South will never compete with Germany. At least, he’ll have plenty of time to tell me all about those women in Germany, the ones who thought him HOT.

Ew.

Again.

72 Comments Post a comment
  1. Germany is class and the women…….!

    January 3, 2014
  2. Why don’t you all go to Germany? Do both trips!

    January 3, 2014
    • Dad turns 80 this year, and he has loads of issues that would make the trip VERY challenging at best and impossible at worst.

      January 3, 2014
  3. Oh, poke around in the darkest corners and you may find some teeny tiny parts of the Deep South (and other parts of this land is our land) that share teeny tiny parallels with (wartime) Germany… but let’s keep this light and out of the Twilight Zone.

    I bet Roy has PLENTY of secret adventures you know nothing about. You get your knack for storytelling from part of him, you know.

    I think he’s going with you just so he can do some exploring and getting into trouble while you’re resting your beat feet. Hell, I bet one night you’ll turn on the news and see this recreation of that incident he got into on the second night:

    If he’s got a leather jacket, hat and bullwhip packed up, yeah… you KNOW stuff is going down… Let him have his fun, I say. We could use some more heroic types like him doing his thing…

    January 3, 2014
    • That video is priceless. As a massive Harrison Ford fan, I’ve watched that scene again and again.

      As to Dad, there are many, many stories I’m sure I don’t want to know. 🙂

      January 3, 2014
  4. James Moffitt #

    Germany is on my bucket list for sure. I will be applying for my very first U.S. Passport as of this month so we can go on that FIRST cruise. 🙂 That is another bucket list item. Once I have the passport then I can make plans to go visit Germany. I have a German passport with my picture as a one year old boy still. Maybe I have dual citizenship and do not even know it? I wrote someone at the German embassy several months ago asking the question and never got a response. It would be a hoot visiting Germany with your dad. Hell, visiting anywhere with your dad would be a hoot probably. I am glad that you and your dad are so close. Cherish the moments Andra.

    January 3, 2014
    • I really hope you and Katy get to Germany someday soon, James. I look forward to hearing all about it.

      January 3, 2014
  5. omtatjuan #

    A injection of Scopolomine and he will tell you every detail of his adventures in Germany but maybe some things are best left unsaid…

    January 3, 2014
  6. As I have said before, and will surely say again, not much can beat a good Roy story! Your dad is a hoot and a holler and a half. Wonder if there will be some good BBQ along your Trace route? That would certainly make matters a bit more interesting too.

    And obviously your mother must have met your dad after he returned from Germany? Or was she one of the fine young fräuleins your dad met over there? His stick obviously wasn’t big enough to beat her off.

    Oh wait, that sounded bad, didn’t it?

    January 3, 2014
    • menomama3 #

      Your badness is charming, Carnell. Probably like Roy’s was.

      January 3, 2014
    • I had to go wash my brain out with soap after reading your comment, Carnell.

      January 3, 2014
  7. menomama3 #

    I hope he DOES tell you his stories, Andra. The truth is always worth hearing. And wasn’t he a handsome dude!

    January 3, 2014
  8. Jill Clary Stevenson #

    My dad was stationed in Germany, too. He had a girlfriend there named Laura. When I was born, my mother wanted to name me Laura (after her grandmother) but wouldn’t because of the aforementioned girlfriend. I know that Daddy went back to Germany as an adult (oddly enough, in his mid sixties) but I’ve never heard him wax poetically about his time there. What an experience you will have with your dad – memories to last you a lifetime. xxoo

    January 3, 2014
    • Or as long as we last without murdering each other. I’m going to have to drive us out there, and I cannot drive three inches without him telling me how to do it.

      I think it’s hilarious about your almost-name. I cannot imagine you as a Laura.

      January 3, 2014
  9. Roy does make a handsome young man. The dream trip to Germany does sound like fun (if a bit dangerous – Roy on the Autobahn….) The real problem would be shipping his “finds” back to the states. Keeping him out of those Southern junk shops is not something M. Lewis could have even imagined on his trek.

    January 3, 2014
    • Oh, great. All these women saying he was handsome, and I’m going to see him on Monday AND THAT’S ALL I’M GOING TO HEAR THE WHOLE TIME!!!!! 🙂 🙂

      I hope Dad goes and finds junk shops while I’m out walking. I don’t want to have anything to do with that.

      January 3, 2014
  10. Love the Roy story! So glad you included a photo. I just love this: “How good looking I was. I had to beat women off with a stick.” Oh, Roy! Never change!!!

    January 3, 2014
  11. great story, and at least he’ll be hot for sure, hiking in the south ) i am so excited for your adventure –

    January 3, 2014
    • Ha. He’ll be hiking from the donut shop to the car and back.

      As to the weather at that time of year, I could get anything, but the averages aren’t much higher than the mid-seventies.

      January 3, 2014
  12. All of the tidbits…all of em’. Thanks Mom and Dad. 🙂

    January 3, 2014
    • I hope a few of those bits fell off somewhere………Ha.

      January 3, 2014
  13. I’m fascinated as to how the Natchez ( I can’t get Natcho’s out of my mind) Trace expedition is going to work out. Can’t wait.

    January 3, 2014
    • I had a screaming telephone conversation with Dad last night, Roger. “I talked to so-and-so, and he said we could stop by when we’re outside Tupelo” is very different from “So-and-so said we could stay at his house outside Tupelo.” I was going for a strong latter. Dad thinks they both mean the same thing.

      January 3, 2014
  14. My sister is still permanently scarred from catching mom and dad. Naked! In the living room! In retrospect, I think that’s pretty cool.

    January 3, 2014
    • It is cool that they would be getting busy like that, and I would never, ever, EVER want to see it.

      January 3, 2014
  15. I cannot wait to read all the stories you and your dad will generate as you travel through the South together. I can only imagine all the things you’ll learn!

    January 3, 2014
    • And I probably don’t want to learn many of those things…….Ha.

      January 3, 2014
  16. I love stories about your dad – they make me smile. And the voice that you use to write it is perfect!

    January 3, 2014
  17. Oh, come now, darling, he was a good looking boy! Sorry I’ve been incommunicado for the last couple — I needed a detox from everything, so I hibernated through the holidays. Hope yours were wonderful!
    Look forward to hearing more about the novel.

    January 3, 2014
    • You needed to hibernate, with the cold you had. Good to see you. Holidays were great. I hope yours were too, Helena.

      January 3, 2014
  18. I can’t wait to hear the posts born of your conversations with Roy. 🙂

    January 3, 2014
  19. Humnn. Germany. The place of hot women who grow old in a most decidedly particular way… well, I see it like this. As a (until recently) ‘eligible’ older man in Germany, my observation had been if someone repackaged the perfume worn by many of the older German women as ‘Man Off’ and pitched it to the decidedly hot younger women tired of constant unwanted male attention …. someone could make a fortune. And then at my okcupid profile I’d stated something along the lines of ‘if over 50 and indicating an interest, it’d help a LOT if you’ve kept your body shape together (I have) and don’t wear make-up befitting a corpse prepared for burial’ …. the profile has been left there as a historical artifact in case anyone would like to take a look at “Clouseau_Berlin” …. your dad will be much better off in the deep south, the deep Mississippi dialect might even be intelligible when compared against the German (ancestor of all future Klingon languages.) As for a snapshot of present day Germany, I recommend:

    http://ronaldthomaswest.com/2013/04/24/breakfast-at-a-pizzaria/

    Maybe I should make online dating in Germany into a satire (although I’d sworn off satire)

    January 3, 2014
  20. It should be quite a month with Roy on the Trace. And congratulations on the book, I’m looking forward to it.

    January 3, 2014
  21. My Dad saved the plane fare and had an affair with the woman next door. So much for romantic adventures…

    January 3, 2014
  22. Oh, the Deep South will be the entrée. Next stop: The World 🙂

    January 3, 2014
    • I love thinking of the world as dessert, Kate. You may have inspired a blog post.

      January 3, 2014
  23. Carlos Ovalle #

    Today I was having a conversation about Germany and WWII so how opportune. It may become a book some day, the story of German Latin Americans who were captured by the banana republic governments, shipped to a concentration camp in Texas, and traded for U.S. POWs. My uncle Otto Krings and godfather Arnoldo Junger included. There is a sub plot there with the adventures of these two, who were born and bred in the Guatemalan central highlands, speaking Q’eqchi’ (a Mayan language) and barely a word of Spanish or German, and how they were thrown into the maelstrom of war in countries that were as different from where they were born as night and day. Neither of them had seen a tall blond german girl that wasn’t related to them before this adventure. Both survived and eventually made their way back to Guatemala to marry the Guatemalan sweethearts they’d left behind.

    January 3, 2014
    • There’s a book for you, Carlos. Right there. What a story.

      January 3, 2014
      • Carlos Ovalle #

        I’m working on it Andra. With collaboration from a group of Japanese Latin Americans, who essentially have the same story.

        January 3, 2014
  24. tarakianwarrior #

    I’m so envious….

    January 3, 2014
    • If Dad knew how to turn on a computer and didn’t freeze in front of cameras, we could do a Google hangout with you from the road………

      January 3, 2014
      • tarakianwarrior #

        Now that would be so cool!!!!!

        January 4, 2014
  25. This reminds me of my time in Korea. A few years ago my nephew was stationed in Korea in the Air Force. I know what he did there, I did it too. But I can’t talk about it with my sister. She would never want to know what her baby boy was up to.

    January 3, 2014
    • It’s probably best for parents to have some nebulousness about their kids, too.

      January 3, 2014
  26. Here’s a stop you shouldn’t miss:

    Hohenwald, the county seat of Lewis County, is located in Middle Tennessee about 8 miles west of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

    The name “Hohenwald” is a German word that means “High Forest”. The town was founded in 1878 and later merged with a town named “New Switzerland” to the south. New Switzerland was founded in 1894 by Swiss immigrants.

    Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, died and was buried seven miles east of the town at Grinder’s Stand in 1809. The third largest animal trophy mount collection in North America is located at the Lewis County Museum of Local and Natural History in downtown Hohenwald. Hohenwald is also the home of the The Elephant Sanctuary, the largest natural-habitat sanctuary for elephants in the United States.

    January 3, 2014
    • We stopped in Hohenwald for coffee when I was researching the book. Funny that is has a German connection. Maybe I can leave Roy there for days and kill two birds with one stone. Ha.

      January 3, 2014
  27. Well I haven’t traveled around Natchez, though my sister-in-law and her family are from around there. I have extended family in the Mississippi Delta and have traveled a bit around there, and it is a whole other country set in the 50s pretty much (at least the parts we went to). Germany on the other hand, is a great place to visit. I was born there (both parents were in the Air Force and stationed there for 2 years), and have visited a couple places on the east side of the country. Never made it to Berlin or Munich though, would like to for art museums and Oktoberfest.

    January 3, 2014
  28. A trip with your father sounds like it would be an adventure and then some. May fortune smile upon you while you travel, and may your father not share too much information in the meantime.

    January 3, 2014
  29. Lance #

    handsome dude

    guten tag andra’s dad

    January 3, 2014
  30. You dad was a very handsome young man, Andra, and I’m sure you will hear stories you haven’t even yet imagined on your trip.

    January 3, 2014
  31. Eha #

    [softly laughing!] Ask your Dad whether he ever heard of a place called Geislingen in S Germany. . . the Black Forest was in the French Zone, Geislingen was in the American [close to Ulm and Goppingen] . . . . I was a tiny kid there in one of the refugee camps . . . ‘twould be a small world!!!!

    January 3, 2014
  32. He sure was a very guapo young man! 🙂

    January 3, 2014
  33. Muy guapo, indeed! Such fun times ahead…for us. Can’t wait to hear the stories. This is going to be rich! I’m just sorry that Roy never made it back to Germany. It’s pretty amazing there. But what about Germantown, Ohio? Or Levenworth, WA? sort of germany-ish…no.

    January 4, 2014
  34. The travels not made can be the most romantic ones, and maybe for the best, what if those women back in germany grew very fat and ugly? 😛

    January 4, 2014
  35. Jen #

    Our parents do indeed make us who we are, for good and for bad. I am reminded of this too often this year as i approach 40. Sometimes makes me want to time travel and observe them …

    January 4, 2014
  36. Roy was a very handsome man! I don’t think you’ve shared a picture of him quite this young before, Andra, or if you did, I somehow missed it. What a great smile! Your time with him on the Trace will be a priceless treasure for you, I am sure. Maybe not all that easy, ha, but priceless! 🙂 I am really eager to “follow along” and catch all the gold you will share from that experience. I know you have a particular connection to the Trace and the surrounding area, but I wonder if you’ll inspire others to make a veer in that direction some time, even out of curiosity. A lot of people out here in the west don’t even know about it. I haven’t traveled the entire length, but portions of it many times over my lifetime. Even as a small child I could feel the history. You have me all excited for you with this trip. Not Germany, but exceptional! ox

    January 4, 2014
  37. Andra, We were in Germany for almost two years and loved it all. Even tho we did not have much money, we stayed busy every Sunday going to castles, forests and such. We were probably to young to enjoy it as much as we should. We were only 22-23 years old. Sigh…..

    I really enjoyed this POST.

    January 5, 2014
  38. Ha! I’m so vain, that’s going to be me someday.

    January 16, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. That Old Roy Magic | The Accidental Cootchie Mama

Talk Amongst Ourselves

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: