Familienfest 2011 took place in a monastery in the middle of the valley of Kistenhof, which was shrouded in mist all weekend long. I arrived just before lunch on Saturday afternoon and found thirty-two Schultzs gathered together in the vestibule, exchanging pleasantries. I was just rounding up my small talk with Tante Lisl when Onkel Fritz approached from the side and announced that he was going to kidnap me.
He took me through a side door, which led to a small room, attached to the dining area which we had reserved. He made his way to the back corner and fumbled for a small white plastic bag. “Hier”, he said. “You’re going to hand these over”.
“ ..’Schuldigung?”, I replied.
“You are Present number 7”
I opened the bag, expecting to find anything but …
Several loose black sausages.
“Are these for Onkel Gideon?”
“Yes”, Onkel Fritz replied. “You are Present number 7. Make sure to come here and pick them up discreetly before dinner. You can hide them under your table until the required moment”.
It takes a Schultz to make the required leap of assumption that Onkel Gideon’s gifts would be presented in strict order according to the structure of Onkel Fritz’s speech.
“Did you know that I was a vegetarian?” I asked Onkel Fritz, who works in agriculture and would probably list meat as his pastime.
“You are?” he roared “that’ll teach you! No wonder you’ve got so scrawny!”
I slunk out and returned to the foyer, where I overheard Tante Hortensia and a nun making arrangements for the Schultz Family mass which would take place the following morning at 9.45 sharp. More of that in the next instalment but for now, I leave you with a picture of the Family hike, or Wanderung which took place in spite of inclement conditions.