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 November 2008 - Nr. 11
The edior: Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

Dear Reader

Every month before we start a new publication there is one question that is paramount in our minds: What do we put onto the front page? What echoes our lives in our community, what is either important enough or aesthetic enough to warrant a front page?

October had lots of important events. The German National Holiday celebration (last issue), the Flag Raising Event at Queen’s Park and the celebrations of German Pioneers Day in Kitchener all had a high profile, the Austrian National Holiday, but in the end it was Mother Nature that won out over our human endeavours. Our front page was taken on the estate of the Szauter family in King Township and exemplifies the glorious autumn we are experiencing. We hope that his autumn image mirrors some of your feelings about the season.

Lack of rain and moderate temperatures allows nature to bow out gracefully and slowly, wooing us with a symphony of colours. We are having the kind of fall that makes poets swoon with romantic notions, children delight in the rustling sounds of fallen leaves, and we all step out more often and longer to walk in the cool mildness of a golden sun, breathing an aromatic air full of the fragrances of harvest’s bounty, while Geraniums spend their last fiery glow.

It is also a time to prepare for winter, as squirrels and birds are signalling to us. Flocking and hording become hectic activities, allowing interesting observations to spur us to contribute to the game.

We put up a new birdhouse that is squirrel proof and delight now in the visits of a variety of colourful birds, large and small, populating our garden, especially since I saved a few huge evergreen branches from a zealous pruner, and fastened them around the bird feeder. A few of the squirrels cannot resist taking a nut from my fingers. Their instinct to collect all they can get is stronger than their fear. Our resident raccoon is no more. We found it lying sleeplike but lifeless in the lane the other day. I hope for another arrival latest next spring.

The pumpkinHalloween was really nice this year. The children and their parents came out in droves and showed extremely good creatively in the choice of costumes. Not all disguises are bought; a lot of them are homemade. Girls at around the age of 8-11 appeared to prefer a rock star look with long blond tresses and tight jeans, while boys showed up in daddy’s altered clothes, looking dapper with a top hat. There were of course ghosts and witches, angels, butterflies and fairies, but we felt for a little 2-year old, whose mommy had strapped him into a choochoo train. He looked adorable, but could hardly walk, but did not seem to mind at all.

The bowl with the many treats was all too quickly empty and we turned out the lights outside in the house to signal that we were done. However, a huge pumpkin with a long lasting light was still glowing in the high prairie grasses on the front lawn for long into the night.

With Thanksgiving and Halloween behind us we can now officially turn towards the next big seasonal event, which is of course, do I dare say it, Christmas. The seasonal concerts and parties will delight us, as will the Christmas Markets, of which we have two left in our midst that we know of. The others, like so many things, died a quiet death. Money will be spent, but perhaps a bit more cautiously. If you are like we are, then that is just fine. After all, we get the things we need when we need them, not at Christmas, and otherwise there is little left that we fancy. Good times with friends are paramount on our list this year as any year. I am already spying where I will get my goose from and all the other trimmings. As far as I am concerned, we can go back to the times after WWII: a plate full of sweet treats and fruit, a good book and a god bottle besides the new socks or tie.

Of course there will always be those things we do just because we like to have a secret or two. It is all part of the rituals of Christmas. Hiding a present and rapping it up pretty and then presenting it is a nice activity I would not want to rob anyone of.

And while we are doing all those things for ourselves, let us not forget some of the less fortunate people among us, like some of our elders or children, even if they are not our own. There is great satisfaction in helping others.

I hope to see you around at the various events.

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.

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