The Angel Gabrielle
As you might imagine, the rest of the week was a real drag – let me rephrase that, it wasn't that the week was any worse than usual, rather the weekend seemed to take forever to arrive. With no race this weekend my training schedule was less intensive so the highlight, if you can call it that was Friday's Gardetanz practice.
“And one and two and three and four,” Hannah counted out the steps, “and whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop ladies! Elise, what did I say about pointing toes?”
“Point down?” the hapless Elise suggested.
“And where were yours pointing?”
“To the side?”
“To the side, now once more before we finish and lets see those toes pointing down. Christina if you please.”
And so we started the whole routine again.
As anyone who has done any half way serious dance can attest it's quite a hard and demanding workout, which is one reason I like training with the girls. The other is the social aspect; I generally train alone so the chance for some social intercourse whilst working out is a welcome change.
“Gaby? Have you a moment?” Hannah asked as I gathered my stuff.
“We had a committee meeting on Tuesday and everyone has agreed to fund the cheer squad.”
I dunno what she was expecting from me, “ Er great.”
“I, that is, we, were wondering if you'd like to be captain?”
My first instinct was to dismiss the idea out of hand.
“I'm not gonna be about for months and I've got some surgery scheduled for the autumn too.”
“Erm, plumbing problem.” That seems to satisfy most people, they don't need to know all the details.
“You poor love.”
“There must be someone else, I'm not even a full time member.” I pointed out.
“But you do have experience Gab. We won't be starting till September anyhow so you being away over the summer isn't an issue, please say you'll do it.”
“I don't know how much use I'll be.”
“You'll do it?”
“Guess I can give it a throw.”
Did I really just allow myself to be railroaded into cheering again?
"So what did Hannah want you for, Gabs?" Pia enquired as we set off back down the valley.
"They're starting a new section, she was asking if I'd be interested."
"Not asked me,” she pouted.
"She hasn't asked anyone to join, I'll be like the coach?"
"And why not?" I huffed.
"So what is this top secret new troupe then, line dancing?"
"Cheeky moo, cheerleading."
"Leaping about in short skirts, waving pom poms about kinda cheerleading?"
"It's not always like that." I shot back. "I take it you wouldn't be interested then?"
"I never said that!"
I smiled to myself.
"So what time'll you be coming up tomorrow?"
"Should be with you bout two I hope, just need to change when I get here."
As we were now at P's place we bade our farewells and I pushed my lumpy old Schauff to higher speeds than she was designed for.
"That everything?" Herr Thesing enquired.
"Think so Dad." Con replied.
"In that case I'll see you girls up there."
"Thanks Herr Thesing."
The bakery was still full of the unseasonal aroma of cinnamon biscuits and other treats more normally associated with December than June.
"Come on Gab, we need to get a move on if we're getting the next Express."
"I'll just get my bag."
'How come when today was my idea, I'm the one who has to wear the stupid elf outfit?'
"What're you thinking Gabs?" Con asked as we waited for the up valley train to arrive.
"I've seen that look before, come on spill,” she demanded.
"How comes I have to wear the damn elf outfit?"
"Gott, you're not still on about that, you're the only one it fits."
"Give it a rest , girl, look the zug's * here now."
You may be asking why we didn't get a lift with Herr Thesing or use our bikes? Well the first is because you struggle to get two, let alone three people in the cab of the delivery van - Herr Thesing has bought one of those Piaggio Ape things. The bike thing is a practicality - there is no way I'm riding anywhere at ten o'clock at night dressed as a flippin elf!
It's only a couple of stops up to Rech; the walk from the station to the weinstube takes longer.
"What the?" I exclaimed as our destination came into view. It looked like a small fairground had been erected on the car park, all flashing lights, jolly music and glitz, the snow blower blasting frozen water out over the scene making it quite surreal for June.
"Oh my." Con agreed.
We hurried along the main road keen to find out what was happening.
"Hey Gab, cool eh?" Pia suggested.
"But how, why?"
"The Lions, they turned up after breakfast."
Well kewl. There wasn't actually as much as it first looked, a ten metre helter skelter, one of those kids rides with a string of cars but the piece de resistance was a full blown, if small, traditional style merry go round. Not only that but there was a stand being set up for the glühwein and goodness knows how many lights were strung up between everything.
"Hey Gab." Max called out.
"Er hi Strechau."
"Gab!" Pia hissed.
"Look there's even proper mugs!" My would be beau enthused bringing a sample for me to see.
"How the heck did they manage that?"
"No idea," Max admitted, "kewl yeah?"
I took the pot off of him to examine it. Whilst it was almost certainly a standard design, heart shaped in red - I saw some in Bonn similar last year, it was over printed on one side with ' Claudia's Weihnacht, Rech 2005 ' and on the other side ' A donation to the German MS Society for every mug drunk '.
"Hey are you guys helping or what?" Herr Thesing asked.
"Um, where did all this lot come from?"
Con and I had made maybe a couple of hundred biscuits but the truck was almost groaning with not just our biscuits but a variety of other baked goods normally only available in like six months time.
"Maybe I did get a little carried away." Herr T allowed.
The others all appeared to help out, some trays headed inside but the bulk went to another booth that I'd missed behind the Merry go round, next to a third from which I now detected the aroma of würst.
Once inside I sought out Herr Sebenschuh, P's dad.
"When did all this happen?" I asked.
"Oh hi Gaby, this? Oh the fairground outside, well the guys in the Lion's offered and one thing led to another."
"But it was supposed to be for Claudia."
"It is for Claudia, everyone wanted to make it truly memorable for her."
"But they have food stalls and everything out there."
"Well it was suggested we could raise some money at the same time."
"Who from, it's like a private party, isn't it?"
"Of course the party is private Gaby, the Kellerhof remains as you planned but I'm still trying to make a living, there are five coaches due in this afternoon for the tour."
I'd never even considered stuff like that. In my world vision of Claudia's Weihnachts surprise I hadn't really considered that there'd be anyone beyond the Fischer's and the extended gang. Along the line the Thesing's, the Sebenschuh's, the local Lion's Club, kids at school…. yeah a lot of extra people have become embroiled in the event.
“And the proceeds go to the MS Society?”
“Of course.” He agreed.
I guess it was pretty much a fait accompli.
“Where's Gab?” Steff enquired.
“Over here.” I replied from the bar area of the Kellerhof.
“Ah, Nena just called, they'll be leaving as soon as.”
“Shitza! I need to get changed, can you finish up here Steff?”
I headed out through the cellars and eventually made my way to Pia's room – I've been there before okay?
“I was just gonna come to find you,” Pia mentioned, “Your stuff is on the bed.”
Of course the others were only dressing up in normal if unseasonal stuff, trousers, long skirts, jumpers, hats and scarves which left me to wear the stupid Santa's Elf costume. No idea why, it's not like we are doing a grotty is it? Whatever, if keeps everyone happy.
Pia excused herself and I started to strip off my normal summer togs. I was down to bra and knickers before I looked for the hateful elf outfit, I mean, it makes me look like a right munchkin! ‘ Hmm that's odd, I can't see it, what's this?' I picked up the box sat at the top of the bed, out of place amongst the discarded clothing of my girlfriends.
“P? You there?”
“What's up , Gab?” she called from down the hallway.
“I can't see the costume.”
“In the box.”
“Oh right.” Why's it in a box? Whatever.
I opened the box expecting to find the juvenile costume, what I revealed was, was…
“What?” she asked poking her head around the door.
“Where's the elf costume?”
“You made so much fuss about it we got you something else.” There was giggling from behind her.
“Can't I just be an elf?”
“No you can't, now get dressed, they'll be here in like five minutes.”
What's worse than an elf you may ask? Think Christmas right, no not Santa or even heaven forbid Mrs Santa, no, think back to the bible story. Like who did the narrative stuff? Yeah the Angel, so I've got an angel outfit, god help me, I'm gonna be the Angel Gabrielle!
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 24.11.2011