It is with great sadness and deep regret to announce to all my blogging friends far and near that I will have to take a longer break from my beloved activities in klopp-family.com. During the Easter break, I have come to realize that there are more important and more precious things in life than being part of the dance around the ‘golden calf’. Ultimately, the bond that holds the family together through the loving dedication to each other’s needs is the most important thing. I also discovered that behind the social media lurks the danger of becoming totally addicted, as I have learned about a person very near to my heart.
I say goodbye for now and leave a video of the song ‘Oh Susanna’ that my wife and I played last Sunday on the ukulele.
Even though our calendar tells us that spring has sprung and many of my blogging friends have published photos of blooming spring flowers, Old Man Winter refuses to leave here at Arrow Lakes country. The picture leaves no doubt that we will have to put up with a few more weeks of winter until all the snow has melted to make room for the colourful harbingers of spring. For me, it was a joyful moment to discover that someone had taken the time to build the inuksuk on one of the log booms resting on our beach. I will take a short break from blogging to visit our sons and family. When I return after the Easter long weekend, I hope to present more spring-related pictures to you.
Twenty years had passed after their memorable vacation on the River Danube in 1939. With financial security secured, they could think again of a major travel adventure. In the early 1960s, tourism in southern Europe was still in its infancy. Many people of West Germany, tired of rained-out summers, were looking for warmth and sunshine and found inexpensive places in Spain, France and Italy. So the Panknin family went to a lovely vacation spot in northern Italy at the beautiful Lake Garda.
In the following year, in 1962, they ventured out a bit farther and visited the Island of Corsica. There, they experienced the beauty of the wild and mostly untouched land- and seascapes. The only fly in the ointment was Papa’s snoring. Biene reports it was so loud that the thin cabin walls did not prevent the annoying sound from disturbing the entire vacation community in the adjoining bungalows.
For the history buff Papa, the French island offered many research opportunities to explore the remnants of the Roman civilizations on the island where Emperor Napoleon was born. The highlight for the twins Gertrud (Biene) and Walter Jr. was spending time at the beach and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea’s warm waters.
This would have been a beautiful sight at the beginning of December when people dreamed of a white Christmas, skiing or frolicking in the snow. We had another heavy snowfall only two days ago while our blogging friend Steve was photographing floral carpets in Texas. As President Carter once stated, “Nothing is fair in life.” Yet, I am not depressed when I see a beautiful landscape under a blue sky.
Papa writes, “The Ems is a fascinating little river from a landscape point of view but not like one would envision from reading the river and camping guide. Our trip resembled a rather strenuous exploratory expedition through sparsely populated jungle territories. Numerous weirs – some were not even mentioned in the tour guide – forced us to portage our heavy gear for a 700-metre distance and longer. We were the only long-distance paddlers on the river. That was partly due to the bad weather. At least, we had picked the most tolerable three weeks of this rained-out summer.
We launched our canoe in Warendorf east of Münster, and broke off the journey at Meppen near the Dutch border. I wanted to move on, but I allowed myself to be guided by the basic principle: Ce que la femme veut, Dieu veut aussi. (What the wife wants, God wants also.) And it was the right decision. The weather, by now, had deteriorated such that stubbornly going on would have ended in disaster.
For Biene, not yet sixteen years old, holding a different notion of a romantic vacation, the River Ems had been a highway of tears. On top of spending a lot of time in the rain, she suffered through unpleasant experiences that her parents strangely found delightful and very nutritious. She painfully recalls one incident when her mother returned from a nearby farm with a pail of milk so recently milked that it was still steaming. For Mama and Papa, it was the ultimate earthly pleasure and a gift from hell for the children.
Recently, I published the iron ring at the Fauquier boat dock. Someone suggested I should have someone’s portrait to fill out the frame. After much coaxing, I got my wife to pose for you and me. I hope you like the photo as much as I do. Enjoy.