Still Having a Good Time

by Corrine
(Dallas, IA)

Going to family reunions with my mother's family is always interesting. Her father was a Kraus from the Amana Colonies in Iowa, and although she didn't grow up in the Colonies, most of the family continued to live there and speak German. I'd taken a little German in school, but it was very different from the actual language my relatives spoke.

One Sunday we were invited to the renewal of vows of a couple who had been married 50 years. The ceremony was held in a small outdoor courtyard, and the sun beat down on us all mercilessly. Some of the guests performed the entire renewal service in German using singsong voices wearing long black dresses, bonnets, and somber black suits. All of the people who were part of the service were in their 80s or 90s, and it was fascinating to see what the wedding service had been like even though none of us knew what they were saying. This service went on and on for over an hour while we sat there in the heat.

After the service my dad was sitting in the courtyard by himself doing nothing when an old woman approached him. "Could you understand the service?" she asked him in very broken English. He admitted with a smile that he hadn't understood a word of it. She looked chagrined for a moment and then said to him, "But you're having a good time anyway?" He assured her he was having a great time, and she left smiling.

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