April 2024
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Sunday in North Germany

By Ken Yeager, ACS

So, Saigon Kids (read Frank) wants to hear/read from the Yeager again…..are you sure?

All is well here in north Germany if you exclude the weather, medical problems, Euro crisis, gas prices, and age.

Like most of you, I continue to have birthdays and recently turned 68.  The other day at breakfast, my wife and I were talking and I said something to the effect that despite my age, I still feel pretty normal, like I did when I was 25 or 30 or whatever, but younger.  I know that the old body is slowly wearing out and the process is actually speeding up each day, but nonetheless, I still feel like I did when I was in Saigon, or in the Army or….well, you get my meaning.  Working in the garden (something I really hate) reveals that age is working against me when I really feel my knees and leg muscles (such as they are).  Cleaned my motorcycle the other day and had a backache for the rest of the day.  Went to a museum the other day, missed my nap and was totally exhausted by 2100.  So yes, I know that age is creeping (?) up on me.  On the other hand, each birthday means I lived another year longer, so one should really see the bright side of birthdays.

Our vacation on Sylt this year was a bust.  We planned three weeks this year, took a smaller apartment to reduce expenses and with the idea that most of our time is spent on the beach, right?  Not this year.  Weather was absolutely beschissen (German for shitty)….either cool or cold, wet or wet, windy and cold, cold water temps (57°F).  OK, so when the weather isn’t beach weather, one finds other things to do….bicycle riding, walks, museums, shopping, seeking out good restaurants or cafes, etc.  A friend of my wife recently bought an E-bike and relayed its wonders to my wife so when it came to do some bicycling, Gisela rented an E-bike and I a normal bike and off we went.  Actually it was a pleasant day except for the hills but we rode from List (north end of the island and the northern most town in Germany) to Kampen which is about eight kilometers away (5 miles).  Went to a park and had our bagged lunch (Musli) and since the weather began to look threatening, headed home.  Exhausted.  Getting old.  Come Sunday this guy begins to feel some abdominal pains, worse on Monday and on Tuesday, said to the wife, gotta see a doctor.  Off we got to the hospital emergency room (now remember, we are on vacation), where after about a five or ten minute wait, I get examined by a doctor who, of course, wants to run some tests which is done and I am diagnosed with a perforated colon and need surgery.  The good news….stomach area fat is pushing against the perforated color, thereby not allowing abdominal fluids (you know what I mean) to leak out and thus, preventing any infection in the abdominal cavity.  Still, an operation is required the next day so the ole colon needs to be cleaned out first.  Now those of you who have ever had a colonoscopy know what the first temps are…drinking that god-awful fluid that flushes your system.  I’ve had two colonoscopies in my life and the procedure is not pleasant, it is also not unbearable, but that damn fluid is awful, really awful and enough to gag a maggot, but I suppose that is the idea (note to anyone who avoids a colonoscopy, don’t!!!.  Recently read that a pill (actually four) has been developed that replaces the god-awful fluid that one has to drink).  OK, so I drink the fluid, throw up part of it (it is really awful), and at 0500 in the morning, I am woken up to drink another liter of the crap.  By 0800, I am flushed and off I go to surgery.  Back in my room by noon and of course, my diet has to be rebuilt slowly so my diet is limited to first broth, then slices of white bread.  Each day is a bit better, perhaps some butter, then jam, but for 6 days, no real food.  Went into the hospital on a Tuesday, out on Wednesday a week later.  Poor Gisela was alone all this time although she was with me daily but missing out on two of the 7 days of decent weather.   We missed our planned dinner to celebrate her birthday, but at least I was able to start eating normally upon release from the hospital.  Glad I didn’t take my motorcycle to Sylt as I had wanted to as I couldn’t have ridden it home and would have had to call a buddy to come up and get it for me.  So much for the vacation.  And in case you are interested, I’m fine.  Surgery was very successful.  I now have three major scars on my torso….the original one from my gall bladder operation, then the scar from my triple bypass in 2010 and now from the abdominal surgery…the last one is pretty ugly but unless you are on the beach with me on Sylt you won’t see it.  Aren’t you lucky!!!

The Euro crisis hasn’t really affected us much except for gas prices which has hit a high of $8.80 a gallon and that is NOT an exaggeration.  The dollar had been stronger for about a month, but with a recent European Central Bank decision to buy bonds from Spain and Italy, the Euro has strengthened and thus, weakened the dollar which in turn, does help gas prices.  Actually, the Euro crisis hasn’t affected the Germans much either as best as I can see.  Employment is still pretty good.  Actually, the job market suffers from a lack of technically qualified people, those younger folks who never learned a profession or who have low math skills and cannot understand measurements and stuff like that.  I like the educational system here for the most part, as I think it guarantees good pay for trained folks.  But unless you have professional training, regardless of the trade, you have a problem.

OK, I’ve rambled enough.  Frank, I bet you regret you comment about not hearing from me.

I wish all a good week, register to vote if you haven’t already done so, and think carefully before you pull that lever or put an X in that box.  Important election this year.  I’m supporting my party by making telephone calls to other Americans in Germany to encourage them to vote.  It the most I can do besides donating money to my candidates.    Ciao.

6 comments to Sunday in North Germany

  • Ken … WELCOME HOME to your Saigon Kids FAMILY!! 🙂

    Great to have you back with us as I’m sure everyone will agree …

    Sorry to learn of your health problems. Our prayers are with you.

    As always, thank you so very much for your articles and contribution to the site.

    Rock Onnn …


  • Kenneth R. Yeager

    Just re-read my post. Boy, do I need a refresher course in writing and English grammar.
    I thought we were supposed to get smarter as we get older…ain’t working for me.

    • Ken – That’s what’s great about *blog format* website — nobody excepts them to be proper English or grammar, etc… In fact blog readers *prefer* to read post written in everyday English (more like we way folks talk to each other in person) … and it makes readers feel more personally connected to the person writing the article … I refer to it as the *personal personality touch* … In fact some of the biggest, most popular, and successful blogs on the Internet owe their success to the fact the owner and writers for the sites … nearly completely ignore proper grammar, etc. … the main objective to blog writing is to *convey the message* to the readers in a way that the writers *personality* shines through to the reader. So just write the way ya feel it! … Screw the grammar! … of course reasonably correct spelling should be practiced (that’s what the *spell checkers* are for – lol).

      Rock Onnn … and keep them fingers dancing on the keyboards .. lol … 🙂


  • frank

    Ken, very glad you are back up..Getting elderly? Huh? Two weeks ago a “recluse” (I think it was a female) bit me on the “back-side”, last week-end my lower back went out while I was chopping firewood, getting prepared for the winter (we do get 13 degrees down here on the border (That’s Fahrenheit for you foreigners!).. Last Thursday evening, I broke a tooth and by Saturday I was in complete pain (between my Back and tooth), for my tooth got infected.I got some really cool drugs today so I am making a fast come back. I always asks the “Doc’s” to give me those drugs that don’t go with alcohol!HeHe! My secret! Oh yes, next Monday he will pull that tooth!. I say good riddance . I just think it is getting to the point that I should get a discount when they clean my teeth!(I do not need a discount at Denny’s!)lol (Damn I ‘d give up all my teeth for a ’59 Chevy convertible.) O.k. it won’t cost as much today as “yesteryear”! But a red one, oh I love old fast cars, fast music, and what was that third one? OH Drats (old saying!!!)
    When you mention butter, jam, coffee and bread, I always think of something special. Once in awhile, my wife and I pull out the German egg cups and clamps and have that special meal. Every morning however,regardless of having what we call the “German” eggs we have wonderful coffee. A few years ago I bought a Swiz made Jura coffee maker (too expensive, but well worth it), so we enjoy a latte (or whatever) or two every morning as we look out through our picture Windows o the desert.
    P.S. DO NOT, excuse me for yelling!, but never reread your posts!

    • Frank … can’t help ya with the Impala … BUT … I’ve got a 1995 Pontiac Grand AM GT … I’m selling … I’ll post the ad for it on the blog (in case you are interested -lol) … 🙂

      Roll’n and a Rock’n …


  • Suellen Oliver Campbell

    ’67 White Chevy Malibu convertible with powder blue top and interior…just married, our first car and we still wish we had never sold it! We both cried 3 years later on the day it was traded for a ’70 Impala with A.C. There was “the rub”…no A.C. We bought the Malibu in S.C. and never considered we would ever be moving to hot-as-hell-Dallas, Texas. After spending the first summer in Big D driving around the city in the Malibu and barely avoiding heatstroke every day, we determined to sell it for a car with A.C. Do you ever forget your “first love?”

    So glad to read that Ken is back in contact. I have been missing his missives from Germany! Your summer does sound like bummer, but then, you are now okay and that is good news!
    Ken, we are all creeping forward, but I try not to dwell on it too much. Where have the years gone? We raised 3 children, have spent 45 years together and yet it seems like no time at all…til the aches remind me that I am no longer a young thing.

    This week school started for me and for the 24th year I am teaching 5 year-olds. Of the 13 children in my new class, I have 4 sets of twins. One child is quite a handful and I was forced to protect the other kiddos by lifting the angry miscreant and moving him to a safe location. My back reminded me quickly that it is not so young anymore!! The children do keep me young most days, but this year might be the beginning of the end for this not-as-flexible teacher.

    Things here in Houston are fine. We have managed to avoid the hurricanes so far the past 2 years (IKE was enough for a while, we hope.)The heat was moderate this summer and we look forward to Fall, such as it is in south Texas.Hummingbirds are now flying through on their way south to Mexico…harbingers of cooler days, eventually.

    Love to read everyone’s letters and comments. I still think the Saigon Kids site is the best. Someday I will write my life story-ish, but others’ seem much more interesting.It is a joy to connect with those folks whose memories include beautiful Saigon, too.

    My best to all. I ditto Ken,register and vote.
    Suellen ’58-60.

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