My House Guest

Just three rings and I reached the phone.

Hello, how can I help you?

“I am hoping that I can help you my dear” said the cheerful male voice.  “I am phoning to tell you that I am cooking dinner tonight”.

“That would be lovely” I said.  “So where are you now?  Did you manage to find your way about in Wiesbaden?”

“Yes, I had a lovely adventure and bought what we needed for our meal this evening”.

“Do you want to meet me after work for a lift home?”  I asked.

“No thank you” he said, “I am home already having a beer, and I have the wine chilling!”

Uncle Jimmy, my mother’s eldest brother and a Jesuit Priest, had come to stay with me for a couple of weeks.  He was an excellent house guest, very tidy and helpful and you would hardly know he was about the apartment.  From the moment that I said I was moving to live and work in Germany he booked his holiday with me.  I was not sure if he really meant to come and visit, but I was really delighted when it came to pass.

We had similar interests and a liking for German Food & Wine.  Eating out with him was a real joy.  We each ordered a different dish and this way had the opportunity to taste what the other had selected.  We drove out into the countryside and tried little pubs and restaurants.

Shopping was a pleasure for him, he loved the different breads, cheese and of course the wines. Lunches were very easy just point him in the direction of the local bakery and it soon became a veritable feast.  Coffee with Apple Strudel or Black forest Torte in the Park Café often followed our visit to the Train Station to buy an English newspaper.

One evening we were dining with friends at a classy restaurant, and as we had dessert we chatted about where we would adjourn to for the remainder of the evening.  Jimmy asked to our surprise if there was somewhere we could go to dance.  We adjourned to the Park Café which was transformed at night for dancing.  They had a Combo in the corner and the music and atmosphere were good.  Jimmy had a blast and danced with all the ladies in our party.  It was 1972 and spending an evening dancing would not have been acceptable for him back home in Ireland.

Jimmy loved meeting people and made friends easily.  One evening when I arrived home from work, Maria my upstairs neighbour, called me to say Jimmy was up with her having a beer and to come on up for an aperitif.  Maria was Spanish and a great cook.   While we chatted Maria invited us to join the family for dinner & that it was only Pizza followed by cheesecake.

Maria’s Pizza was a wonderful experience.   She made it from scratch and the base was as light as a feather and as thin as an envelope.  She made it on a large rectangular tray and cut it in squares.  This was placed in the centre of the table and everyone helped themselves, it was served with a side salad.  Eating with Maria and her family was always a very relaxed occasion and the wine and conversation flowed.

Main course was followed with Maria’s German Cheese Cake. At the speed it disappeared, I knew this was one recipe I wanted for my collection.

When I returned to Ireland Jimmy’s first question was “Do you have the recipe for cheesecake”?  Up until his death Jimmy would phone on a regular basis and say “I have a nice bottle of wine that would go well with cheesecake” translated that meant “I fancy some cheesecake.”

The warm memories of that visit will always remain with me.

I am so glad he came to stay.

2 thoughts on “My House Guest

A penny for your thoughts...