Day 34 (Puppies and Nazis)

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Today was a day of rest. It’s essential to have absolute lazy days of accomplishing nothing and basking in idleness. Well it wasn’t entire idle. Donna and I had a morning tête-à-tête (yes! I’ve always wanted to use that word!). We cruised town for a bit as I needed to pick up a few items for my bike, but the majority of the day was spent with some straight up relaxing. This is the first day since Tucson that I haven’t been on my bicycle and as weird as it always feels, my bum thanked me.

I had a great puppy time session with all the rascals, even Jupiter. I finally thought I won her over and bam! Commence excessive aggravated barking. Just like every other woman in my life.

After a meatloaf dinner (I can’t remember the last time I’ve had homemade meatloaf. Oh it was like the foodgasm of all foodgasms) Bob asked me if I liked history. I told him about how I used to watch the Hitler Channel, excuse me, History Channel as a kid and sit awe struck at the sheer magnitude of World War II. So Bob felt comfortable enough to show me some of the relics his father brought home from the war. Coins with the swastika, medals with the swastika, badges with the swastika. It was swastika galore. But I was overcome with a different sensation upon holding these in my hand. First of all, I’ve never been so close to actual artifacts like these. I mean, what I was holding in my hand wasn’t a replica, these were actually worn with pride, with purpose by soldiers of the Nazi party. The only appropriate word I could think of at the time was unheimliche which translates from German to a feeling of uncomfortable strange in English. Yeah, unheimliche. The paper money from countries all over Eastern Europe was something I’ve never seen before in my life. Luxemburg had stunning  artwork on their paper currency that could have easily been hung up in a museum. And the denomination was only worth about 10 cents. Vivid colors and immense detail encompassed every not I fingered through. Now every country in Europe operates on the Euro, which is whatevs, but knowing that this paper currency is now extinct was kind of a shame. I want to go back to a world where we played with money that looked like it was from Monopoly. I probably would spend mine so frivolously because I’d just be ogling at the bills all day. I looked down at an American one dollar bill and scoffed. Ugh, we’re so uncreative when it comes to money. Sheesh, talk about a first world problem.

Bob then showed me some older issues of Stars and Stripes his father had kept. It’s essentially the newspaper  of the U.S. Armed Forces, but he had kept some pretty surreal headlines. The announcement of Hitler’s death, the dropping of the bomb were all there. It was interesting to say the least in reading the choice of words the paper used when discussing the genocide of overs 300,000 Japanese civilians at Hiroshima. Definitely no images either. I don’t think we as Americans are exposed enough to the true morbid aspect of war. I am willing to be that if NBC or FOX aired half the morose events that actually unfolded in Iraq or Afghanistan, the average American would be out in the streets protesting. Eh, actually no they wouldn’t. We’ve grown far too desensitized as a species by what we see on television. Maybe if we saw what was going on first hand, it would be a different story. Ok, I’m just going to stop now and put the lid back on that can of worms.

Bob brought out the final three pieces of his collection. A Gestapo armband, a Nazi flag, and a Walther PPK. I can only imagine how his father acquired these items, but the intensity I felt upon running my fingers over the swastika was unreal. It’s crazy to think that a symbol of love and peace could have such negative connotations simply by being turned on a 45⁰ angle. And to know that someone painstakingly hand stitched the symbol like that is a gruesome thought. I’m glad I had exposure to these remnants of war though. It’s a constant reminder of the capabilities of man, and it’s magnified when you can physically hold each piece and feel their power. Eventually, I had enough of Nazis and had to go back to playing with the dogs.

Tonight is my last night with Donna and Bob. It’s actually going to be tough to leave. I felt a real emotional attachment to them. It was kind of like a home away from home for me and totally refreshing to sit and connect with others on such an intimate level. Usually I’m rushing around trying to see the next attraction or museum that I rarely have time to just sit and absorb the company of another’s presence. I hope that someday soon I can return and visit Donna and Bob with Drew. Maybe Jupiter will actually like me then.

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