How to Skin a German Turkey

The Character of the Ages
"Portal" by Kantiki

Otterberg, Deutschland is a city built with rust, moss, shadow and stone. When the mortar begins to fail, they scrape off the rust and moss and layer on more stone and mortar. If the foundation weakens, they fill up the entire bottom level of the house and wall up the door (see above). Then the moss creeps back in... and then the rust. The moss is everywhere. It's not a question of what is and is not green, but what shade of green is it?

Before I found Otterberg, I thought cities with such ancient character were a thing of the past. But Otterberg has embraced its past. You can read more than a hundred years simply by staring at a wall in Otterberg. The family that took us in when we landed in Otterberg would go on walks with us... sometimes in the woods... other times in the city. What history was left out by the architecture was filled in while walking the streets in conversation. Christian -- the father of the family and a landscaper by trade -- truly knew the land... and his English put our German to shame. No, seriously... shame. Fortunately, their daughter Grace was glad to teach us more German. She used "Kim Possible" as a study tool.

It was one cold November day when the mother told us that the American base (just a few cities down) was going crazy over something. She asked us if there was a holiday or some other event. I looked at my two fellow travelers... they looked at me... then I saw the lights go on in their eyes even as I, myself, remembered. "What week is it?"

The mother (Tanya) said: "It's going to be December."

We laughed. It was Thanksgiving. We pooled our spare change with the spare change of our hosts and made a German thanksgiving. Saurkraut, wurst, potatoes and a lot of beer. With no turkey to be found in a hundred miles, we piled the wurst and potatoes into a mound that vaguely resembled a bird. Giving it a gobble for good laughs, we picked up our forks and skinned it alive. Our hosts were happy to have a surprise celebration... and to have our own cheerful spirits with them for it. To this day, it goes down as our best Thanksgiving ever.