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I always grew up thinking of myself as English. Not surprising with a name like Lancaster. I even did a project on the War of the Roses because of my “connection” to this name in history. My “English” father didn’t discourage this belief in our heritage and there was no talk in my family about my mother’s contribution to my genetic makeup. Since her mother (my maternal grandmother) had disappeared when she was very small and her father was in places like Pakistan and Libya during my growing up years, I never heard anything from them about this side of the family.

Becoming a committed genealogist (that’s one who should be committed to some kind of treatment center) meant that I learned quickly that that invisible side of my makeup was 75% German. My maternal grandfather was the product of German immigrants and my maternal grandmother was German and Irish.

So what difference does all this make? Well, I’ve been thinking back over my life and have come to realize how often Germans seem to be a part of my life.

In college, I elected to take German because I’d had too much Spanish in high school (the rule was I’d have to take second year as a college freshperson, and even after many years of Spanish, I knew I’d be in big trouble). As a result I took two years of “scientific” German because I started out as a biology major (another story). One had to have a B in the last semester of the two required years to use it as a language for graduate school. Guess what? I had three B’s and a C so in graduate school I took another semester of “reading” German. What this means is that even after all these years I still have a huge German dictionary in my library, but no Spanish one.

After my children were of school age, I returned to teaching at a rural school outside of Lubbock. Lubbock doesn’t strike one as the German capital of Texas and it isn’t. But Slaton IS the German capital of West Texas. There’s a large contingent of German families who immigrated to the area. As a result I taught kids with names like Heinrich and such. There was even a huge German sausage festival every fall.

Recently, we moved near Houston picking our new home almost at random based upon its proximity to our children/grandchildren as well as its size and amenities. Not once did I think about the makeup of the families in this area. Guess what! Yep, there are German names on every street and in every organization. And these German “immigrants” are serious about their heritage. There is even a German Texas Heritage Society as well as a Maifest celebration every May. At the monthly genealogy meetings, I listen to folks talk about their visits to Germany as they retrace their roots.

I’m beginning to think life is trying to send me a message. Perhaps those Germans in my family tree need more attention and a visit to Germany should be in order. All I know is that I find myself craving potato pancakes, German sausage, and sauerkraut. And Brenham doesn’t have a single German restaurant.

1. Limiting one’s packing to a single reasonably sized suitcase means it’s quicker to pack and even quicker to unpack when one gets home. And there’s less laundry to do. Flight check in is quicker and using 25 inch luggage means it’s almost impossible to exceed 50 pounds.

2. It’s not necessary to take every walking tour otherwise known as a forced march led by someone whose occupation is walking — fast. One can see lots and photograph much more if one is strolling. You miss the fascinating information that guides provide, but it’s a fair exchange.

3. Wearing one’s phone and tracking steps each day means you understand at the end of the day why so many things on your body hurt.

4. Sitting in the Explorer’s lounge each night before dinner watching the world go by through the windows is nearly as nice as my back yard sanctuary.

5. It’s very embarrassing to stumble upon a chair leg at lunch and send your carefully concocted salad across chairs and table. Fortunately, I’ll never see those folks at the table again – or so I hope.

6. Small cruise ships are so much better than monster ones. Elevators come more quickly, lines are shorter, you actually see people you’ve met on previous days, and the staff seems less harried.

7. Spending the money at least once to eat a gourmet dinner with wine pairings for each course is well worth it – particularly if one has ship’s credit to cover it.

8. Husbands who are awakened before 3 a.m. by the ship’s office on the morning of departure informing him that our credit card was denied and we cannot leave the ship until it is resolved AND we are due to offload at 3:30 a.m. will be grumpy for a LOOONNGGG time. A fraud alert informing the credit card folks of the countries we will be in creates a problem when the cruise line office tries to run the charges from their California office. Always carry a second card.

9. It’s a good idea to request assistance in Amsterdam to get from Gate D to Gate F if one has mobility issues. Taking a cart means that you wiz through passport control and then even get early boarding. It’s not physically possible to get from Gate D 64 in Amsterdam to Gate F 6 in less than an hour even if the map makes it look like a gentle walk.

10. No matter how much water one drinks on a transatlantic flight and how many times one gets up to walk and stretch, your body will still hate you the day after you arrive home. However, caffeine from Gene’s jet fuel coffee helps.

PS. The Global Entry card is well worth the cost and time it takes to acquire the fast track number. Flew through passport control and luggage at the Houston airport without stopping for more than a moment.

I think what I love most about gardening is watching the miracle of germination. Purple basil seeds have been lying dormant in the soil for months – since last fall when I pulled out the original plants. Today (not yesterday when the soil appeared barren) these little leaves appeared. Today I have an embarrassment of riches. How often do we believe there is NOTHING when actually all we need is patience. God’s timing is not ours.

spring riches

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