|A very small book on wine from my favorite Saarburg bookshop and a wine cup from Irsch, the home of my Great-great grandparents|
|A "must purchase" at Saarburg's Golden Autumn celebrarion|
On many visits to Germany and especially Kreis Saarburg, I have brought home a heart full of extraordinary memories, a head full of vivid impressions and often also a suitcase with large envelopes or folders filled with materials from an ancestral search which had been singularly successful. I have never been able to return home from a trip to Germany (or anywhere) without souvenirs as well.* Due to space limitations of my luggage and the strength of my back, the souvenirs were usually small things that reminded me of a happy occasion or something special I had seen. I treasured them and put them on my dining room table as soon as I unpacked and for a time, there they stayed.
After a few days I looked at them less and knew it was time to find a permanent place for them. So often, they did not fit together in a lovely grouping. They were usually rather small and could not stand alone. Should I pack them away? I knew that I would want to see them now and then and be reminded of the Alte Heimat. Fortunately, I have a very large, glass-door bookcase in my dining room. On two of the shelves I keep a few books in German and my German treasures. When I want to see my memories, they are in the best of all possible places.
These are little flowers that bloom earlier than any other plant in Germany. Snowdrops, the very early forest wildflowers of spring, are poisonous but beautiful. Schneeglöckchen means little snowbells in German, ("littlesnowbells"), the three words written as one, something very common in the German language The plant is native to a large area of Europe, stretching from the Pyrenees in the west, through France and Germany to Poland in the north, Italy, Bulgaria, Northern Greece, Ukraine, and European Turkey. It usually pokes it head through snow around the spring equinox although it can sometimes be found as early as late February. The flowers were probably the first welcome sign to our ancestors that spring was on the way.
*On my first visit to Irsch, I met my distant relatives and came home with a gift of three bottles of Riesling wine made from the choice green grapes grown in Irsch. I carefully packed the bottles in my carry-on luggage, and I prayed that there was no law that would prohibit me from entering the country with them. If U.S. Customs had not let me into the US with that wine, I think I might have stayed outside of the baggage claim area asking everyone in line for passport check if they had a corkscrew.