A melancholy moment

After work yesterday, I stopped in at a jewelry shop on a big shopping street, to inspect their collection of gold charms. Edelweiss_1
Although I do this on every trip to Vienna, I can never remember the
word for charms. And this transaction was more complicated than most,
because the ones I wanted to see
were in the window. So I had a lively conversational interchange with
the proprietors, a couple, conducted almost entirely in German, except
for my throwing in an English word or two for the things I can’t say auf
Deutsch.

I found a new charm I liked (not the one shown here, though this is
the famous Austrian eidelweiss), and the price was good, so I said I
would take it, and they started wrapping up my purchase. We were making
small talk, so they asked where I lived, and I said New York. “Are you
an American?” he asked me in astonishment. “I am,” I said. And then he
said something that made me feel so bad: “Do you realize that you’re the
first American who’s ever been in this shop in all the years we’ve been
open who spoke one word of German?”

So that was embarassing for me and all our countrymen. On the other
hand, I was immediately endeared to them, and they were effusive in
asking me to come back to visit, they looked greatly forward to seeing
me on my next trip to Wien, and I must have a gute Reise!

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One Response to A melancholy moment

  1. Susan D says:

    I like the idea of being able to see what you are reading and what you
    think of the book. The Brantley Street Book Club still meets regularly
    — yes, Faith, after all these years. We are currently reading Kite
    Runner. I haven’t started it yet but am told it’s a great read. I just
    finished over Christmas 4 autobiographies by Jimmy Carter, Tommy
    Franks, Barack Obama and Debra Norris. The last was terrific but is a
    vanity press book not readily available. Debra goes to my church. Her
    experiences as a missionary nurse in the Gaza Strip kept me reading late
    into the night.

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