Merry Christmas one and all! While I am certainly hoping you are all enjoying the merriest of holidays and spending quality time with your friends and family I offer this short post in case any of you arrive here after all the presents and pudding. Rather than go in to some self-aggrandizing article on what the holiday season means to me or what I feel it should mean to others I'll simply share a particular favorite.
One year my mother decided it would be a great idea to take the kids to Garmisch-Partenkirchen near the Austrian border and just underneath the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. The Alps were unimaginable to a girl like my mother who grew up on a farm in rural Southern Virginia. Never had she imagined anything as spectacular as the mountains of Southern Germany and to this day we continue the debate on whether any other view is as comparable.
Off we go on the train from Stuttgart where we were living at the time to Munich for a local connection that took just as long to reach Garmisch, seemingly stopping at every town with a platform along the way. With weather out of a postcard, the valley wore its best winter finery with snow capped peaks in every direction under a royal blue sky, pastel murals on white washed buildings and surprisingly few people around. It was busy but not "chocka" or gridlocked at all.
Why the Winter Olympics have not returned here is beyond me. The setting is idyllic and mom was certainly in heaven itself. She made one mistake, though. Staying on the military kaserne in the area to save money we had to drive by the base movie theater to get to the Patton Hotel. Lo and behold that very afternoon they were screening "The Wizard of Oz."
Even then in the early 70s we knew "Oz" only came around on television once a year in the Spring and very rarely at all did it make the theaters. We wanted to go, Mom wanted to see the mountains, the battle was joined.
"We came to see the mountains!"
"YOU came to see the mountains!" Duck. Whoosh!
"Don't get smart. We didn't come all this way to sit in a movie theater."
"But we're not gonna climb the mountains and they aren't going anywhere. We can see 'em next year but the Wizard may not come again at all!"
We won. And in the theater, of course, at any age "Oz" is simply breath taking. True to her word, though, Mom dragged us back to Garmisch the following Christmas. When we got back to Stuttgart from this first trip, however, we found that "Oz" was due to play there the following week!