Munich Nights Chapter 63: “Luncheon In The Garden”

Munich Nights Chapter 63: “Luncheon In The Garden”

It was now a welcoming cool high noon and the pair walked in search of a friendly nearby cafe for some lunch. Noticeably, nurse Hoffman was now displaying some colour to her earlier pinched cheeks.

Karen still felt elated about attaching her symbolic pendant to that forgotten dead German pope’s tomb. Her only regret was that she had not been able to record this gesture using her reliable trusted ‘Hasselblad’ camera to proudly display the finished prints to Heinrich and Walter after the film would have been developed in Munich. And perhaps be printed in the party’s popular newspaper “Der Sturmer” and later be framed, Karen would have hoped? 

Now crossing the small stone bridge which was unusually almost empty of pedestrians, they then wandered down the famed ‘Obstmarkt’ of the town. Several open small bistros and shops along the way all vied for their attention and financial patronage of course. But they finally settled for eating in the always popular film-themed ‘Classic Cafe.’ As they then entered through the open glass door they noticed in its windows, many original black and white film stills and detailed front-of-house posters that featured the so-called Hollywood golden, silent film era.

Karen paused and looked at Rudolph Valentino posing uncomfortably in several black and white framed stills from that 1920 film epic “The four horsemen of the Apocalypse”. An impish Clara Bow was photographed performing a tricky ballet pirouette and Fatty Arbuckle was seated impossibly on a small three-leg piano stool in front of a minute piano, picking out a tune somehow with two stubby fingers.

Karen had actually been to see this savage controversial film three times in 1930. Twice in fact with her friend Arabella.

She then cried openly at the end of the final scene, viewed in the atmospheric mist of the deserted cemetery. She still remembered the convincing actor who played the devastated father in the film, grieving for his dear dead son Julio killed somewhere in France and buried in a sunken blood-stained trench. Then the stooping, now broken, father questions the tall unknown bearded cloaked stranger, standing silently by the grave of his son. The old man with tears in his eyes desperately enquiries of the figure with deep sadness in his quivering voice: “ You perhaps knew my only son Julio sir?” He pleads, seeking some needed comfort for his tortured confused mind. 

“Oh, I knew them all my friend, yes all of them” the stranger replied gravely, his solemn words uttered now against a background of thousands of simple unadorned white wooden crosses stretched out to infinity. Then he points up to the arriving four horsemen seen riding out of the darkened menacing clouds. Then the stranger walks himself into the unknown distance into the swirling mists of time and has suddenly disappeared from sight forever.

As they both then walked, rather shell-shocked, out of the tobacco-filled crowded cinema, Arabella gripped Karen’s hand saying softly with deep emotion as they departed the smoke-filled cinema out into the cold uncertain Munich night: “There must never be a terrible war like this again. Oh please, this must be the war to end all wars surely”? she had stated with conviction and passion.

Karen had wholeheartedly agreed with her friend. And the terrifying thought of yet another war especially being fought in Europe, filled her with dread. This thought had occupied her heart with heavy sadness and utter dismay at the coming prospect of another tragedy. That would deliver death upon so many young men’s lives. 

But now however a welcoming smile in Bamberg from the young waitress greeted them both saying with genuine pleasure: “Guten Tag ladies and welcome. And would you like to be seated inside or in our popular shaded garden area”?
They settled for the latter and were informed by the still-smiling waitress, that near to where they would be seated was a thousand-year-old Cobb nut tree where Countess Emma of Lesum (975-1038) had rested with her personal retinue before journeying on to Berlin and nursing her dying little Pomeranian dog named Bitsy.

They were then escorted to a partly covered open area. That also had a constructed wicker-screened beer garden with an attractive covered extension. There were loungers and small wooden chequered tables with matching wicker chairs for their patrons.

Also, there were different-sized swings, some unusual hand-painted wooden rocking horses and other toys to keep the small children amused. She realised this was designed to attract young families to the premises and to encourage them and others as well to return to the garden in the future.

Karen was surprised how far back the garden actually stretched and could see to her left, several sheep grazing contently. And surprisingly several black Nubian long-eared goats wandered happily among them.

She also noticed several other young couples seated near them and enjoying their meals and drinks. It certainly added a convivial atmosphere to the place.

Also now just arriving behind them was a young family of four. They had decided to be seated near to garden’s children’s play area. It was all very natural and delightful Karen thought as she looked around. Watching the children making for that wonderful play area.

There was however a small printed note pinned to the door near the garden entrance that read: ‘SORRY NO PETS ALLOWED.’

Oh dear, Karen thought to herself with some disappointment, she certainly could never bring Gus or her family here to this delightful garden again. If indeed they ever returned in the near future, which was probably unlikely she now decided to herself?

Then that smiling friendly young waitress promptly arrived at their table, her note book ready, her sharpened pencil poised and ready to take their requested orders.

For Nurse Hoffman, her final choice after perusing the large menu was a steamed salmon and vegetable rice bowl. 

She had little taste for anything else after her embarrassing panic attack in the cathedral earlier. She also requested, “just a glass of iced water please”.

In fact, she just picked at her food and left most of it uneaten.

Karen quickly settled for an Egyptian egg salad. In fact, this was the first time she had sampled this unusual dish that had been recommended to her by Adolf’s housekeeper, his sister Paula. A glass of cold water with a dash of lemon was also requested.

When it arrived along with Nurse Hoffman’s meal, it somehow helped to wash away any remaining dust particles from the cathedral that were still lingering uncomfortably in her throat.

Later both women enjoyed two delicious cups of Brazilian coffee served with Verkade Cafe noir original biscuits placed on a side plate. Later an unexpected complimentary plate of warm home-baked blackcurrant biscuits was placed onto their crisp chequered tablecloth. With naturally the all-important bill for their lunch was discretely placed under an empty side saucer. 

Karen then carefully pushed away their empty plates. Then leaned over to retrieve her handbag. It having being sequestered carefully under the table. 

She then snapped open the clasp and retrieved a small bottle of her favourite Chanel No 5 perfume. Then she dabbed a small amount behind each ear and as always, enjoyed that welcomed unique Parisian aroma. 

She now felt rather refreshed and was also looking forward to what the rest of the day would roll out to them in old Bamberg town.

She then also noticed that the noisy young family that had previously arrived much earlier, when they themselves had both arrived, were now preparing to finally leave the garden. She was very pleased at seeing this movement of departure because now she and the nurse would happily be the sole occupiers of this natural delightful habitat.

Karen then leaned over but did not touch the nurse’s hand and asked quietly: “So tell me nurse Hoffman why and when did you join our party?” She sat back to hopefully learn more about this woman whom she was rather coming to admire. But not fully trust somehow …  well not just yet anyway!

To be continued….

© G. Patrick Battell

All Rights Reserved

August 2023