In my travelsÖ
This summer was quiet, even for me. There was not much opportunity to go to the beach; it just was not hot enough for my taste. I did not feel like traveling anywhere and so I watched the grass stay green in Toronto and waited for a post card from those that did make it out of town, like Mark and Maria DuBois, who visited her family in Austria with the kids. Not too many postcards arrived, but Mariaís did. I simply love receiving postcards from all over the world. It is such a quaint custom, and I hope it will never be out of style.
There was one special occasion, the birthday of a good friend. Lou Wegner has been a good buddy ever since we discovered our mutual love affair with music and good wine. He only has one other obsession, by his own admittance: her name is Lilo and she is his wife.
I think he has another passion, his boat, which is in a very nice marina up on Lake Simcoe near Orillia.
This is where he spends most of his spare time, of which he has a little, since he is only 75. Born just on the cusp from Leo to Virgin, he combines natural ferocity with meticulousness, which makes for a fiercely loyal and compassionate friend, if you ask me. And if the measure of a menís value are his friends then he is a great guy! I know this because I met some of them.
For his 75th birthday a couple of dozen were asked to join in the celebration of this important station in Louís life. The marinaís clubhouse was nicely decorated and 3 long tables accommodated the guest for a lovely dinner. But before all that could take place the atmosphere was decidedly lightened, as if it was necessary, by - you guessed it - a special drink, a wicked concoction, which I am going to share right here because something so delightfully sinful should not be kept under wraps: To start with: freeze seedless grapes well in advance, then mix half Vodka and half Ice Wine from Reif Wineries, both cooled, poor into Martini glass and decorate with one or two frozen grapes. Voila!
Any awkwardness among people that did not know each other went out the window, or rather down with the Ice Wine Martini.
The entire evening was lovely. While we had dinner from a sumptuous buffet a duo played background music. There was much talk and laughter. After everyone had settled back with torte, hmnnnnnnn good, and coffee, Lilo opened all of Louís gifts and red the cards. Some of it was hilarious, some items were thoughtful, and all where appreciated.
Klaus Reif, of Reif Wineries, had probably hit the jackpot with a gift of rare wines in a special crate. He is extremely fond of Lou and called him his "Ersatz-Father", a title that Lou does not mind one bit.
After sundown the "boys" admired someoneís heavy truck engine, a rare thing of beauty, or so it appeared to me, and the ladies chatted about this and that while watching the pretty Muskoka sky.
This was definitely a day well spent! Happy Birthday Lou!
A publication gets all sorts of mail with all sorts of requests. Our website www.echoworld.com enjoys some 24 thousand hits a day or more and often there is a mail in my inbox by an interesting party. Such was the case when I heard from a gentleman in Switzerland who was making contact just before a visit to Canada.
In the meantime he and his wife Jaciara Ferreira have arrived and I met with Paul-Bernhard Berghorn, a poet and essayist, who also works with epileptic children.
When we met in the hotel he appeared so very German: tall, handsome, correctly and immaculately dressed. Well mannered, slightly reserved he belied the fire underneath, which I only discovered at home, where I started to read some of the poetry from his books that he has written, illustrated by his wife.
We only met briefly, but I hope to stay in touch with him
and want to hear his impressions of Canada. I wonder what they will be like,
having read his admiring and passionate poetry about Brazil.
New Youth Forum Writer
I want to welcome a new writer to our youth roster, Darren McKague. He is our first cultural crossover. On the very day that he flew to Germany with his Oakville team to play in Italy and Germany for a few weeks, he wrote his introductory column. The picture, taken in a hurry, does not tell how handsome he is, or how agile as an athlete. We will replace it with something a bit more personal as soon as we can lay our hands on this handsome Canuck. His views on the sport and life in general can be read in his column: From the locker room.
This gives me also opportunity to invite other young people to participate. The more the merrier. We invite all sorts of points of view and welcome the participation of young people that have something to say to the world. I think it is important to communicate across borders about all sorts of things that make the world we live in go around. Communication is the All Solvent. The more we communicate, the more we learn about each other, the more we will understand and like each other.
So come on, if you like to write and think you have
something to say that is of interest to rest of the world, sign up and write
to me at email@example.com.
For all cultural venues the event calendars are out. If you like the symphony you need to go to www.tso.on.ca. The program is fantastic for this inaugural season of Peter Oundjian.
For an incredible opera season go to www.coc.ca.
Roy Thomson Hall & Massey Hall has a few extraordinary concerts booked. September 26 will see famous German Baritone Matthias Goerne in Recital with Schubertís "Winterreise", and for Jazz lovers I recommend the Chick Corea Electric Band on November 3rd. Go to www.masseyhall.com and www.roythomsonhall.com for full program details of the entire season.
September will also see the return of a German Festival called "Toronto meets Berlin". Actually it is the third fest of its kind, but somewhat smaller in scope as before, but no less interesting. www.germanfestival.ca will give you more information.
The German Canadian Congress is holding its Germania Festivities on September 11th in The German Canadian Club Hansa.
First Night Toronto is looking for Talent. All this and much more you find in our online version of Echo Germanica at www.echoworld.com.
And donít forget that the Toronto International Film Festival is also upon us. It features also some amazing German films, one of which I already reviewed. For your program choices and everything you want to know about it go to www.bell.ca/filmfest and have a ball! I know I will!
Remember: German Canadian Culture is our Passion!
Until next time
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