Ons Nohbasch Jung baudat mie meea aus needijch aus etj mie noch leijcht enoajre leet. Nä, hee wull sijch nijch mett mie rautze, enn hee vetald uck noch nijch hinjaridjsche Flunkariee, enn hee kunn uck nijch wieda Steena schmiete auls etj, enn hee deed uck nijch soohn Domms auls Fraunz Netjels Hauns. Diss Hauns looht ons Sinndach-Nohmeddach enn, auls aule jedeepte Menniste rund omme Welt, meed vonne Oabeit enn von Gott lowe enn äte, sijch Nohmeddach toom Meddachschlop hanläde, omm twee runde Stund too schnoatje enn mett eenem onbeschräwnen Schild "Nijch steare!" aun'e Schlopstowdäah jehonge. Dann looht Hauns ons enn omm haulf schwiensche Sache auntoostalle, ooda sogoa noch een bät schlemmret, soo auls uttoofinje, wea daut wiedste pische kunn. Dann stald hee ons hinja äahrem nieen Heehnastaul em Schaute enn eene Reaj opp, enn wea von dem Sonneschien aun jan Enj siene "herrlijche Flut" (soo säd Hauns) bedache lohte kunn, haud jewonne.
Eea Hauns selwst sijch aun disse Wad bedeelje deed, stund hee aum Enj, aulso em Sonnelijcht, enn späld Schiedsrejchta.
Donn schlentjad Hauns gaunz meddasatjess noh de Aunfongslinie, hoojohnd, tjitjcht ons mettliedijch aun, sad sijch siene Schildmetz trajcht, enn donn muak hee siene, soo auls hee säd, Stauldäah, op. Donn säd hee: "Hiea ess de Fieawäahbaus; Jungess riemt june Schläj enn jun Spältijch opp!" Enn dann drald hee sijch kromm soo auls een Froagetätjen enne School, dann bääjd hee platzlijch opp, trompeed soo auls een Elephaunt, sprung jlitjch opp, enn enne Hejcht, enn stritzt. Hee jewonn wiet enn breet, enn donn lachd'a enn säd: "Sitst Ma, enn Du bruckst mie nijch 'mol halpe!"
Nä, dee Nohbaschjung deed nuscht von soohnt, woaräwe eene nijch räde ooda schriewe kunn, soo auls Hauns doa hinjrem Staul. Oba hee deed aundre Dinja, enn etj jintjch ahm doabie too Haund, enn eea etj doahinja kaum, waut hee uteewd, enn etj emma de Domma wea, wea daut aulatoop too loht, enn etj haud eenen schlajchten Roop enn hee een wittet Hamd.
Schnorrijch, oba hee wisst väl bäta enn väl eea woo daut Läwe rannd. Etj weens wisst, daut hee daut wisst, oba de aundre Jungess enne School wisste nijch mol daut, weens soo jleew etj. Enn tjeena wisst, waut eena doamett aunfange kunn, na vleijcht een bät. Wann etj eenen Trakta sach, dann sach etj mau blooss de Kollea, enn de Striepe, enn den Gangschaulta, enn de Tjrentj, enn dee Reatjakohma bowe, enn daut Stiearaud, enn den Trett aune Reife. Oh joh, haud etj aul vetalt, daut diss Nohbasch Jung Doft heet, ooda habe etj ahm noch nijch väajestalt? Daut wudd mie soo litjne.
Doft wisst väl meea von Traktasch auls etj: hee wisst, woa daut Fiea häakaum, enn uck daut Jedriew tjannd'a, enn Kaupsle, enn Kolwe...jenuag hee tjand kratjcht woo soohn Trakta von benne oabeid, enn soohnt tjand hee uck von Mensche enn ähre Spelltjess enn Dommheite. Eena musst sijch wundre.
Eenmol tjreajch etj too Wiehnachte een Schachspell, enn etj haud daut Spell rut eea etj utmeste jintj. Doft wohnd eene Miel auf, enn hee haud een Monopoly Spell jetjreaje. Dree Doag lohta muak hee mie een Aunjebott: "Wann Du mie daut Schachspell leahre woascht, woa etj die wiese, woo eena biem Monopoly schummle enn jewenne kaun."
Etj wisst seea goot, daut hee daut nijch meend, wiels tjeena schummeld ooda stoohl ooda luach bie ons, enn wann mol een Nohba soo waut deed, jintj ooda fuah eena emm grooten Boage bie ahn romm, omm nijch den Ohs von soohne Schlajchtijchtjeite enne Näs too tjriee. Oba Doft wees mie, woo daut emm Läwe foaken rejchtoo too gohne jeiht, enn auls etj ahm säd, daut etj nijch meea mett ahm späle wull, lacht hee mie ut enn säd: "Du best domma emm Kopp auls etj jedocht haud. Enn nu goh enn vetal de Jungess enne School disse Jeschijcht, enn dann wacht bett etj aune Reaj sie. Enn dann woa etj vetalle, waut Du bie Fraunz Netjels hinjrem Heehnastaul deist, enn dann woa etj Dinja von Diene Mutta noch ut Russlaund vetalle, dee nijchmol Du weetst, enn dann woa etj ahn froage, wea Tus Plautdietsch räd, enn wea Huagdietsch räd, enn wea een wittet Hamd too School drajt, enn wem siene Ellre bie Jemeend send, enn woohne nijch, enn wea em Tjoatjechooah sinjt, enn wea em Jugendverein Jedijchta oppsajcht. Enn dann tjenne see sijch daut selwst uträtjne. Enn dann kaunst du wada tridj noh ons kohme, wann ons Hund die opp'en Hoff lat!"
Dann säd etj: "Doft, du best een seea grootet Oaschloch, enn du kaunst mie aum Moazh letje!"
Doft säd: "Wie räde bie ons blooss Sinndagsch, nijch soo auls jie. Du best prost, kratjcht soo auls Friees Iesbraund, dee too de Mensche rät soo auls wie too de Schwien räde. Du best tjeen Betjeada! Wacht mau bett etj de Jungess enn Mäadtjess enne School saj, daut see nijch meea mett die späle selle." Enn dann wear'a uck aul wajch.
Wiels hee soohne Sort Jung wea, dem etj niemols toohoole tjriee kunn, wiels etj ahm een bätje aufwarje wull, enn wiels hee mie opp väle Städe emm Läwe baudad, woa etj junt eene Jeschijcht von ahm vetalle, dee, etj hohp, ahm eene bloodaje Näs von bute en von benne jäwe woat. Oba wiels etj ahm soo langsom tjanne jeleaht haud, enn etj emma daut korte Enj vonne Worscht ooda vom Stetjch Halwah bie ahm tjreajch, jleew etj, daut hee mie vleijcht sogoa wada ditmol derjche Henj jleppe woat.
Etj weet soowaut wiels etj nu aul eent enn eent tooptalle kunn, enn uck sogoa twee enn twee.
Enn disse Oat Rätjnarie kaum mie nijch äwanacht.
Aus emm Tweeden Welttjrijch aules ratsjooneat word, word Doft mett eenmol seea jeheemnisvoll. Enn hee fuscheld aulewäje. Too dee Tiet haud hee uck mett eenmol eenen Fiefdolahschien, woohnen hee mie eenmol hinjrem Betjhus oppem Schoolhoff wees. Hauns, de Heehnastaul-Strullmeista jleewd daut Jeld wea nijch ajcht, wiels Doft haud vetalt, daut sien Voda ahm daut jejäwt haud, oba daut head sijch nijch nohm oolen Doft Enns, wiels dee haud sijch fe daut Jeld een Tjieskaulf tjeepe kunnt, oba etj jleewd Doft daut, wiels hee leeht mie dem een bätje ritje, enn dee ritjcht nijch home-made.
Ons Voda dreef too dee Tiet uck een bät Nachtjeschwien, oba nijch mett Frulied sonda oppem schwoaten Moatjcht, omm too een bätje extra Jeld derjchen Tjrijch too kohme. Oba waut ons Voda deed, jleew etj, wea nijch gaunz soo sindhauft auls waut de Nohbasch aunstalde, wiels hee daut Mul nijch soo volla Bibelfarzh nauhm. Hee wea enn Kanada nijch eenmol bie Jemeend enn daut meend, daut eena twee Streiks jäjen sijch haud eea eena äwahaupt aunfong Baul too späle. Enn daut betroff uck ons Tjinja. Oba daut meend uck, daut se ons nijch soo leijcht em Bibelbolleries jriepe kunne.
Oba mie kaum daut sowesoo langsom soo vea, daut wann Voda uck bie Jemeend jewast wea, wea wie jesallschoftlijch noch emma oppe Duck jewast. "Soo ess'et emm Läwe maunjchmol," word jesajcht, enn daut jleewd etj. Soo docht etj aus Voda foaken een Raud Tjees, ooda uck fiew, enne groote Staudt nauhm enn mett meahrere Satj Zocka emm grooten Tjrijch tridjkaum. Eenmol aus wie enn dree Minute enn Wienepetj aules aufjelohd enn oppjelohd haude, enn daut Gaunze mett een Peadsdatj opp onsem Pickup vestoake haude, enn jrods aufdaumpe wulle, kaume Doft enn sien Voda uck doa aun. Etj haud enn Wienipetj noch niemols eenen Mensch jeseehne, dem etj tjand, enn etj docht foaken, daut daut sowaut äwahaupt nijch gauf, enn etj wull aul Goondach saje, oba see tjande ons nijch, enn mien Voda tjand ahn uck nijch. Oba etj sach den Doft, enn woo hee seea tiedijch zemorjess daut haulwe Jesejcht emm Nieen Testament haud. "Nu tjitjcht junt doch mol dissen lestjen Schinda aun (eajentlijch säd etj Zukensin); Tus vetald hee mie, daut hee nijch de dreehundat Bibelfarzh utwandijch leahd, omm eene Weatj bie de Canadian Sunday School Mission Camp omsonst tootoobrinje, soo aus etj. Enn nu? Aulwada haft diss Halunk jeloage," säd etj too mie selwst. Etj wull ahm aufwarje.
Hab etj junt aul vetalt, daut Doft siene Voda mett eenmol een Schoof Biee haud? Zocka soo auls Botta enn Tjees enn Gasolien wea emm Tjrijch seea knaup, enn soo haud Doft sien Voda mett Honijch aunjefonge, enn dee heet: "Swiet Tidings, Export Quality", soo stund opp dee Honijchsammatjes jeschräwe.
Na joh, eenes Doagess wea wie aul Klock fief zemorjess mett een Pickup voll heete Woah meist enn Wienepetj aunjekohme, oba fuats aune Staudtjrenz hilt de Polietz ons opp, enn mie folle de Doarm hinje bett unjre Null rut. Voda staupt oppe Brams, enn rolld daut Fensta rauf enn hild stell. Dann säd hee enn sien bastet Enjelsch: "Scheen gooden Morje. Waut uck emma etj fe Ahn doohne kaun, dooh etj jearn, oba bitte een bät jicha. Mien Jung hiea haft den gaunzen Gorjel volla Taunzle - bitte tjitje See selwst wann See welle - enn de Dokta wacht aul mett'e Tjnieptang." Enn wajch wea wie.
Em Winta foakna aus em Somma fuah wie noh Ennse enn leehte ons de Hoah schniede; fe fiewentwintijch Cent schneet Onkel Enns Voda de Hoah, mienem Brooda enn uck miene. Wie kroope eenfach em Mestschläde nenn, enn dem wie Strooh nennjestoakt haude, enn fuahre loos. Biem wachte saut eena opp een Herinjfaut, woohnt weens fief Schooh huach wea aus etj tjlien wea oba mau twee Schooh huach wea aus etj veatien Joah oolt wea, ooda wie spälde Monopoly enn uck Schach. Sogoa biem Schachspell schummeld Doft. Eena muss sijch äwa dem Schnäatjat wundre. Ut dem selwjen Mul kunn hee Bibelfarzh oppsaje, enn dann veschoof hee de Leppe een bät, enn säd väah, woo eena schummle enn jewenne kunn.
Een Owend em Somma fuah wie noh Ennse noh eenem Räjen, omm ons de Hoah schniede too lohte. Een poah Doag verhäa wea Onkel Enns bie ons jewast; hee haud eene Kooh aum Woage aunjebunge enn kaum bie ons mett dee aun. Dann musst wie Jungasch enne Rie eene haulwe Miel auf ons bohde gohne, enn enne Tweschentiet sull ons reinrassja Boll Ennse äahre Kooh eent unjrem Schalduak plinze. Dee Priess doafäa wea eene Rund Hoahschnetts enn een Ammatje Swiet Tidings Honijch.
Onkel Enns haud Doft jesajcht von woohne Sort hee daut Ammatje fe ons nehme sull. Etj wull Doft halpe, oba hee säd, mie wudde de Biee steatjche; etj sull mau oppem Hoff bliewe. Dann wea etj mett eenst tjleatja aus jemols verhäa, enn etj säd toom Doft, daut daut Puat aune aundre Sied von äahrem Wajch ohp wea, enn äah Veeh wudd woomäajlijch utsteatje, enn hee rannd uck fuats loos, om too tjitjche. Eea hee tridj kaum enn säd, daut etj een onschuldja Schopskopp wea, haud etj ons Honijchsamma mett eenem von de aundre Sort ommjetuscht.
Daut Ammatje wea bett aum Raund voll, oba auls miene Mutta dem em heetet Wota schmelte deed, omm dem enn een Kommtje fe den Desch toom Äte ommtoofelle, wea daut Ammatje mau weinja aus dreeveadel voll.
Aum näajchsten Sinndach auls de Mensche aula enne Tjoatj weare, sprung etj opp mien Flitzepee, enn fuah soo stoatj aus etj kunn noh Ennse. Eajentlijch nijch noh Ennse, sonda enn äah Bosch, hinjrem Hoff. Daut wea aul Septemba enn de Nacht tjeel. Hinjre Honijchskoht em Bosch stunde Reaj noh Reaj Honijchsammatjess bie de Dutz omm auftootjeele enn hoat too woare. Enn aula Ammatjess stunde äwakopp.
Our neighbour's boy bothered me more than a little when I was at very botherable age. No, he didn't pick fights or tell half true things about me or throw stones better or farther than I, nor did he do things like Franz Nickel's Hauns. This Hauns invited us over Sunday afternoons when every baptized Mennonite all over the globe, tired from working and praising the Lord and eating himself full, lay down for an afternoon nap which meant two hours of solid snoozing with an unwritten `Do not disturb' sign hanging on every bedroom door. At this time Hauns challenged us to half dirty things or even a little more, like seeing who could piss farthest. For the contest he lined us up behind their new chicken barn into the half shade and anyone who could get his stream lit up by the sunshine at the end of the barn had won.
Sometimes before he got involved in the competition (we called it a race, because we didn't know big words in English yet), Hauns would play referee.
He stood at the end of the barn and watched for the sparkle. Then he casually sauntered to the starting line acting like professionals do now on TV as if it was all foregone, even inserting a little practised boredom before unbuttoning and uncoiling his dangler. Running an eye over us stragglers, Hauns adjusted his Schildmetz cap and pronounced, "Here comes the fire chief, boys, put away your garden hosery and play things!" Then he shifted his body into a question mark posture and let fly. Seconds into the stream, he would go all out, grunting like an elephant, throwing more crook into his posture and jetting like you ain't seen nothing yet. He won both far and wide, even sometimes when he announced, "Look ma, no hands!"
No, the neighbour's boy did none of such things you could never not talk about like Hauns did behind the barn. But he did other things and ran other projects which he got me involved with and by the time I had them all figured out it was much too late to save my reputation.
Somehow, he knew much better and sooner how life went. I at least knew that he knew while the other neighbour boys and the ones in school did not even know that, I think. And no one knew how to do anything about it, even if they knew a little. When I saw a tractor, I saw only the colour and lines of its body and the gear shift and the crank and the smoker on top, and of course the steering wheel and the grips on the tires. Oh, did I tell you that this neighbour's boy was called David, or did I again forget to tell you his name when introducing him? I probably did.
David knew far more about tractors than I did: he knew things like magnetos and differential and bearings and valves and sleeves and pistons...in short, he knew more about the inner workings of tractors, and also about other things like people and their fun and games. One had to wonder himself.
One Christmas in the early forties I had received a chess game which I learned to play before manuring out that day. David, a mile away, had received a monopoly set. Within the week he made me an offer, "If you learn me how to play chess, I'll learn you how to cheat and win at monopoly."
I knew he didn't mean it because no one ever cheated or stole or lied when I was small and if one or two neighbours down the road did it, you walked or drove in a wide semi circle around his yard so that you wouldn't catch a whiff of the immoral carrion. But David introduced me to short cuts and the shortest distance between two points and when I told him that I did not want to play no more with him, he laughed me out and said, "You are foolisher in the head than I thought. And now you just go and tell the boys this story in school and then wait until it's my turn. I'll tell them about your race behind Franz Nickel's chicken barn and some things about your mother still from Russia that you don't even know yourself and then I'll ask them who speaks Low German at home and who speaks High German and who wears a white shirt to school and whose parents belong to the church and whose don't and who sings in the church choir and recites poems at Jugendverein. And then they can figure out things for themselves. And then you can come back to our place if our dog lets you and talk these things over again.
Then I said, "David John, you are a very big arsehole and you now can me in the ass lick!"
David said, "We only speak Sunday like around our place, not like you. You are prost, just like Icebrand Friesen who speaks to people like we do to our pigs. Also you are no born againer. So when I get the chance I will tell the neighbours' boys and girls and those in school not to play with you." And then he was already gone.
Because he was that kind of a boy I and no one else either ever could get hold of and strangle a bit for bothering me all over the places in life, I will tell you a story about him which I hope will give him a bloody nose too, both inside and out. But knowing him and me and the way we never managed to fit together and that I always got the short end of every sausage or chocolate bar or jelly beaners or anything else, I believe that somehow not even hard facts and an iron clad case will work with this corkscrewer.
I know all these things because I could by now put not only one and one together but also two and two.
And that putting together did not come overnight.
It was during the rationing days of World War II that David became secretive. Very whisperative all the time. At that time he also had a five dollar bill which he showed me behind the outhouse at school one day which Hauns didn't believe was real because David said his father had given it to him, and that didn't sound like Hans Werner because he could have bought himself a cow calf with it, but I did believe David because I had never seen any money that looked more real.
Our father was engaged in a little Nachtjeschwien or pigging around at nights, but not with women with black market products to earn money from the war far away. But what our father did was not as sinful because he never took the mouthful of church talk like the other neighbours did. He did not even belong to the church which meant two strikes before you took the bat to the plate. And that included us children. But it also meant that he could do things without getting caught in the Bible net.
I also suspected, slowly, what everyone probably knew but did not talk about openly and that was: even if our father would have been a member in church, our family still would have been off side in life, in the foul ball territory. "That's the way it is" was all the answer I ever came up with to that one. So went my thinking as our father took me and cheese by the wheels to the big city and returned with bags full of sugar during the big war. And once as we had just unloaded and loaded in the market area of the big city, and covered and hidden our return load with a horse blanket in the back of our truck and were ready to jump in and take off, David and his father pulled up. I had never seen anyone I knew in the city and I had often wondered whether it gave such a thing but there they were and I wanted to say hello. But they did not know us at all and our father did not know them also. But I could see David sitting there, in the very early morning, in front with a New Testament surrounding his face. To myself I said very angrily but just as quietly, "That little sukensin which means son of a bitch in Russian told me he wasn't learning three hundred Bible verses by heart to go to the Canadian Sunday School Mission Camp free, like I did, because I asked him once. Now just look at him." I wanted to choke him off.
Oh, did I tell you that David's father had bees? Sugar, like butter, cheese and gasoline, was hard to get during the war and so David's father started up with some bees under the name "`Sweet Tidings,' from the Busy Beehives."
Anyway, once when we went to the city and arrived there around 5 a.m. with a pick up full of hot items, the police stopped us, and all my intestines dropped into my asshole. But our father just stepped on the brakes while already rolling down the window and then stopped. And then he said, "Tap off de morning tue yue, afficer. Whataver eye kin due fore yue vill gief mie plashuer bat can vie pleass make it snappy. Mye boy hier hass it vary bad mit de tonsiels pleass luk ief yue vant tue and de dakter is waiting alrady met de plyerss." And away we went.
In winter more often than in summer we went to Enz 's place in the evening because for 25 cents Uncle Enz cut (we said "caught" hair like everybody else did before we were led astray) our father's hair and my older brother's and also mine. We hitched up the manure sleigh into which we forked straw in winter and then we went "Dashing through the snow, stinking all the way...." While waiting our turn to be seated on an inverted wooden herring barrel (which was almost five feet high when I was little but shrank to two feet by the time I was fourteen) we played games, monopoly and chess. Even at chess, David John had learned to cheat. One really had to wonder himself at this kid. He could recite Bible verses from one corner of his mouth and then adjust that same corner and tell you how to field the balls of life.
One evening in summer we went to Enz 's after it had rained to get our summer hair cut. A few days before Uncle Enz had been over to our place with a cow walking after his trailer. Then we young ones all were told to go for a swim in the deep hole by our creek half a mile away while Enz's cow was being fucked by our purebred bull behind the barn. The fee for the superior breeding service was a round of free hair cuts and one pail of honey from "Sweet Tidings."
Uncle Enz had told David from which lot he was to take the pail of honey for us. I wanted to help him, but David said that there might be bees which would sting me. Then I was smarter suddenly than ever before because I told to David that the gate on the other side of the line was open, I thought, and then he ran to look for their cattle before they could run away. Before he returned to tell me that I was an innocent sheep's head, I had exchanged our honey pail with one from the other lot.
It was brim full but when my mother melted the honey in hot water to fill a table container, the pail was only three quarters full.
On Sunday when church was going on, I jumped on a bike and travelled to Enz's place as fast as I could. Well, not really to Enz's place but to the back where the bush was. It was in September and nippy at night and every kind of harvest was in full swing. Behind the honey cabin in the bush, stood rows upon rows of honey pails, "Export Quality," cooling off, and all upside down.
So that's my story on David John Enz. I know that for a little time you will believe I was just as good as he was, even if only on paper. And anyway, sometimes the winds in life blow from behind just for one person, at least so I thought because David had sold me the bicycle with which I had done my detective work. Even if the true story I have told you about him will give him a black eye (or did I say bloody nose?) that is alright with me too, because I saw him yesterday in Winnipeg and he didn't know me again, so stay tuned, o.k ?