Auls etj tjlanda wea, wea dee Welt noch nijch toonijcht. Aules stemmd: Emm Somma vedreewe de Midje eenem de verretjchte Jedanke, enn em Winta dee Kold. Äwahaupt haud eena daut mett'em Läwebliewe too drock, omm opp domme Jedanke too kohme.
De Mensche haude nijch emol Jeld, omm ähre Reiseschuld too betohle, veschwiefs noch aulewäje Tjoatje too bue, omm Mensche opp wille Jedanke too brinje, ooda ahn domm too leahre.
Verr'em Darp stund de Sommafeldsche-Tjoatj, woa dee hanjinje, woohne den leewen Gott sien Deel vonn'e Oabeit jenne deede, enn em Darp stund de rußlendsche Tjoatj, woa dee leewe Gott sijch een bät dolla enmische deed.
Daut de Sommafelda aundasch weare, wißt een jiedra; daut see Plautdietsch äwaschrots räde, aulso mett Schortcuts, daut wißt eena aul auls Säwenjoahscha enn Grade One enne School. Wann dee von "Peeta enn Leena em deepen Wota" räde, dann sach eena eenen aundren Peeta, eene aundre Leena, enn väl deepret Wota, auls wann de Obraum Krohnsche ute Elimtjoatj dautselwje mett äah spetzet Schnoweltje enn eenem haulwen Octave hejcha saje deed.
Voda wea uck een bät een Schortcutter, ooda Äwaschrotsa, oba miene Mutta äah Wota wea lang nijch soo deep, enn uck nijch soo jremlijch auls sient. Doawäjen, dochwoll, wea see nijch soo sea fe mien Omgang mett de Kenädja, von dee see säd: "Dee Tjinja too foaken hinjrem Staul jespält haude." Auls Schmett Friees Iesbraund mie dann noch vetald, daut de Noabasch äahre Elste eene "Hoadsmejal" wea, enn etj Mutta fruag, waut daut wea, säd see sea energisch, etj sull mie nijch toom Äwalei oppem Schoolhof opphoole.
Soo diead daut noch meist tien Joah, eea etj de Kenädja een bät bäta tjanne leahre kunn. Voda fuah em Winta schratjlich jearn zeowents noh aule Hockey Games, enn wann de Jrienthola jäjne Steinbacha spälde, dann fuchteld, enn daunzt, enn schreaj, enn bload, enn toobd, enn dieweld hee noch dolla auls biem Fenzfickse mank Modd enn Midje emm Juli. Ooda em August oppem Binja.
Wann de Jrienthola jäjen de Katholitje, aulso jäjen St. Pierre spälde, enn etj aul docht, Voda wudd sijch noch dolla enne Säle laje, enn noch bunta fleatje, leeht hee oba een bätje noh: daut haud, säd mien elsta Brooda mie latzt, doamett too doohne, daut Voda sien Bank manager ut St. Pierre manke onbetjeade Frenchies stund, enn fe ahn bload, enn vleijcht uck wiels een R.C.M.P. Tjeadel, dem Voda von Weet-de-Schinda-Wohäa tjannd, fe de Onjedeepde Defence späld. Enn wann de sijch irjendwoahan stald, dann jintj sogoa Voda een bät rundom.
Joh, oba woa fung Rubel-Ditje Joakob doamank Ruhm, ess de Froag. Rubel-Ditje kaume utem Chaco noh Jrienthol, enn see weare noch oama auls de Russe unjrem Kommunismus. Seea oam. Haude een Schwitt Tjinja, schleepe em Winta, enn 'em Somma groowe see Wartle ut, enn vekoffte dee.
Dee Lied säde, de gaunze Rubel-Ditje Tabun, drettien aune Tohl, haude mau eene Stow em gaunzen Hus. Auls daut soo wea, weet etj nijch, wiels etj doa niemols nijch äwrem Schafott jekohme sie. Oba mäajlijch ess 'ett, wiels äah Hus wea mau een bät jrata auls ons Tjitjelstaul, oba tjlanda auls onse Sommatjäatj.
Rubel-Ditje Joakob hild opp mie, enn etj uck een bät opp ahm. Too de Hockey games kaum hee emma een bät loht, wiels ahm wea mol wada daut Boajeld knaup jeworde, enn doawäjen jintj hee wiet rundom aune "Jesatsmanna" vebie enn klautad äwrem Tun enn äwre steile Schneedien hinjrem Iesrintj, enn donn kullad hee jeweenlich rauf. Enn stund opp, enn wea doa.
Joakob wea lang, oba mau denn; haud schoape Oage, eene spetze Tjenn, enn eene schmocke, jleie Näs. Enn von de Tiet aun, auls etj ahm säd, daut hee mett Schnurr toop Nietzsche litjend, enn etj ahm donn vetalle mußt, wea Nietzsche wea, aulso seea kluag enn intellijent enn beriehmt, donn haud Nietzsche jewonne, enn Joakob leeht sijch eenen willen Schnurrboat unjre Näs stohne. O joh, Joakob siene Tähne weare uck nijch gaunz von onjefäa, enn "hee kunn seea biete wann'et senne mußt," säd hee. Siene Finjasch weare lang enn denn, dee eena oba mau dann too seehne tjreaj, wann hee, soo's hee säd, sijch mol wada eene Papeross dreie mußt. Soo oam see uck weare, de Rubelditje schmätjte aula. Em Winta leehte see bie Jintasch em Stooah aunschriewe ooda biem Cooperatjiew, enn em Somma word nohm Beeteweede, ooda nohm Wartelgrowe, daut Aunjeschräwne betolt.
Aune rajchte Haund weare Joakob siene "Schnoddahoakess" (so säd Hilbraundts Hoarem, nijch etj) emma brunjäl vom Schmätje. Dee Paperossies dreid Joakob mau seea, seea denn; soo denn, säd Rampels Mietja "auls wann eene Säaj em Winta oppstunt - enn jie weete uck woa - een Strohhaulm rutstuak; soo denn send Rubel-Ditje Joakob siene Selwstjedreide." Donn benaut Joakob daut Zigarettepapiea von lintjsch bett rajsch mette Tung, nauhm een Schwäwelholt ute Fupp, trock sien Burnuss hejcha, jintj enne Tjnees, woabie sich de Betjse een bät stiew trocke, enn stritjcht sich eenmol äwrem Hinjarenj, enn kaum mett Fiea äwadäl. Enn daubad.
Enn de gaunze Tiet äwa vetald hee. Hubbad enn vetald. Hee vetald, woo ritj hee eemol jewast wea, enn woa hee aulewäje jewast wea. "Daut wea eemol enn Kapuskasing ooda enn Moose-Jaw...jenuag daut wea enne Stäts," so fong hee aun. Ooda: "West weete, woaromm etj zemorjess emma een bät hintje dooh? Daut tjemmt vom eensjen Bronco, woon'a mie eemol oppem Calgary Stampede enn Montana raufschmeet. Oba toom Jletj haud etj aul de tweehundat Dolah, woohne etj fe de Willepead enriede tjreajch, enne Fupp faustjeneit. Soo goot faustjeneit, daut uck soon willa Hinjst mie daut Jeld nijch rutfuppere kunn.
"Na joh, enn donn auls etj soo seea ritj jeworde wea, haud etj je väl Tiet, enn fong em Chaco aun Holt too möake. Oba etj muak bloos loht em Hoafst Holt, enn nienijch em Winta. Enn woaromm daut? Wiels daut gauf em Chaco donn noch meea Boaress auls Tjoatje ooda Prädjasch. Enn Boaress send je nieschierig, enn pausse jeneiw opp, waut Onsa-Eena deed. Enn wann etj zeowents Fieaowent moak, enn een Stetj Schintjefleesch, goot jerätjat, toop mett Söag enn Biel aum Cordholtklompe hanläd, dann wea den nächsten Morje jeweenlich doppelt soo väl Holt oppem Klompe, schmock jesöagt, veea Schooh lang enn fein jlitj oppjefliet. Boaress send je väl stoatja auls Mensche, enn see läde de ditje Witjsasch nijch emma unje han, enn de denne Strämels noh bowe. No sirie, see läde uck daut ditje Holt, von mie üt, een Schooh, ooda uck mea emm Derjchmäta, bowe nopp. Maunjchmol acht Schooh hüech, wann'ett senne mott. "Tjitj!" säd'a, "hiea ess noch een Puzheltje Hoah, woont etj von de Logs toopläse deed, omm Die too wiese." Enn donn foot Joakob sijch enne Fuppe, enn socht daut Puzheltje Boarewoll, kaum oba mett ladje Henj tridj. Enn säd: "Etj wudd mie nijch wundre, wann Memau de Hoah biem latzten Betjsewausche toojoahschen-Farjoah vebrennt haft. Jenöch, wann etj mol habe wull, daut de Boare äwanacht jehearig Holt möeke, donn leeht etj bloß fe fief Cent Tobak biem Biel zeowents lidje. Ooda uck Hanenwada een Sardiendoostje voll Honijch. Enn donn wea den nächsten Dach emma eene extra Cord Holt foadijch."
De Mensche bloade soo's de Heide biem Hockeyspell, enn wann Jintasch Addie mol den Pock nauhm, enn hinjrem Goal oppweinde deed, enn donn äwrem Ies fäajd, enn aulemaun so schreajch, auls wann daut Jinjste-Jerejcht aunjefonge haud, enn uck een poah Mejalles bedieselde, dann reet Joakob noch sondasorj een poah Pead tohm, enn muak een poah Cord Holt mett Boaress toop doa biem Iesritnj.
Etj vetald Voda disse Jeschijcht, wiels ahm daut Holthacke soo schlajcht jintj, oba hee säd bloß: "Daut ess doamett woll kratjcht soo's wann etj oppem Nippa mol hundat Miel enn eenem Dach skäte deed, meddem em Juli. Saj Joakob, hee saul bie ons hinjre Twintig-Acka mol mett Boaress toop Holt moake, etj jäw ahm dree Dolah!"
Oba Joakob säd, de Boaress wulle leewa em Chaco bliewe, dee haude sijch doa hanjewant. Enn hee uck een bät. Oba hee fruag mie, auls etj ahm daut woomäjlich nijch jleewe deed? Eea etj waut säd, meend he: "Wann de Mensche nijch meea de Woahrheit jleewe welle, woo ess'ett dann eascht mett de Jeschijchte bestald?"
Väle Joahre lohta troff etj Rubel-Ditje Joakob wada; hee wea Janitor emm United College, enn wann wie ons toofallijch sage, dann hold hee siene Mopp enn, stald sijch mett dem Stäl aune Back han, enn mett een Been een bät aunjewintjelt, enn daut aundre äwrem Moppestäl dralljedreit, dreid hee sich bieaun eene "Nicotiena-Noodel" fein enn jlei enn langsom noh dem Mietja-Rampel Rezapt, enn säd: "Harry, eye vant a better job in de Corners ware no one luks for dirt accept de Axeperts." Ooda: "Abie yü just keep dat Bassem happy!" uck wann doa tjeena wiet enn breet oabeide deed. Enn rolld sich wada eene Paperossie, denn oba jlei.
Enn vetald - soo's hee säd - "von prosperous taimes just around de next Corner, or tü!"
Oba een bät aundasch sach'ett Joakob: Hee druag nu emma eene Army-Joop. Enn soo head etj je donn uck boold vonne aundre Janitors, daut Joakob em Koreatjrich jewasst wea. Nijch too lang, mind yu, oba hee haud doa jefeit, enn donn auls se soo sea jewonne haude, haud hee oppjeheat, "tü giv de Anemy a feiting chance," haud hee jesajcht.
Eemol jintj etj mett Joakob Koffe drintje, enn donn säd hee: "Aulwada diss schataja Winta. Em Winta woare aul disse Prairiegophers von Jantsied, enn aule Boschhose von Ditsied, entwäda een bät dwautsch emm Kopp, ooda ahn schoht egol waut, ooda, schlemma noch, see woare Seesee-Effa. Daut woat langsom Tiet, daut sijch daut endat!"
Enn weet jie uck waut? Korz verr Wiehnachte puttad daut bie mie aune Office-Däah, enn doah - etj musst tweemol tjitje, eea etj ahm tjannd - stund Rubel-Ditje Joakob. Hee schmäatjt nijch meea Roll-your-owns, nä, hee schmeatjt Black Cats, tailor made, oba "ohne Zöegel." Doamett nijch jenuag: Joakob haud een nieen Aunzug aun, enn hee tjneept sijch daut Jacket dree - bett veeamol de Minut op ooda too. Een brunen Aunzug mett een "Pura Seta" Schlipps, den Joakob soo toofallijch haujchad, jieda fief Sekund, enn een wittet Hamd, aules von Hanford & Drewitt, soo's hee säd, enn uck niee Cowboy Steewle, enn "een Pelz ut Wauschboare."
Enn doamett nijch jenuag: Joakob haud eenen Stetson oppem Kopp: "Cooper enn Wayne ha uck nich bätre!"
Enn doamett emma noch nijch jenuag: Joakob haud een Ticket oppe C.P.R. Easchte Klauss noh B. C. "One-way!" säd'a.
Rubel-Ditje Joakob haud een Irish Sweepstake fe äwa eene Milljoon jewonne, enn doabie wisst hee nijch eenmol woa Irish wea, säd hee. "Oba daut lijcht noch bediedend wieda auf auls de aundra Chaco, head etj saje. Oba nü mott etj loos; eena haft daut auls ritja Mensch doch drocka auls etj jedocht haud."
Enn wajch wear'a!
When I was a little smaller, the world was still largely in order. Everything was as it should be: summers' mosquitoes dispersed whatever crazy thoughts you might have and in winter the cold did the same thing. Come to think of it, just staying alive was such a big job that you never had much time to discover silly thinking.
People all around didn't even have enough money to pay back the C.P.R. for their trips out of Russia and across the high seas, leave alone building churches on every corner and some in the bush, and all to teach people crazy thoughts.
Before the village was the Sommerfelder church where those who permitted God to do His share of the work went, while in the village itself stood the Russlander church where people allowed God to meddle a little more.
Everyone knew that the Sommerfelders were a little different; the fact that they spoke Low German with the shortest distance between two points, ie. with many shortcuts is something that every seven-year old knew in grade one. When they said "Lanny (Lenny) and Panny (Penny) are in deep water" then you right away saw a different Lanny and a different Panny and much deeper water than if Mrs.Abraham Krahn from the Elim church said the same thing half an octave higher.
Our father at home was a bit of a shortcutter too, but our mother's water was not nearly as deep and as murky as his. Maybe that is why she did not approve of my associating with these Sommerfelders or Kanadiers of whom she said, "Those children have played behind the barn too often." When Blacksmith Friesen's Icebrand topped things off by telling me that their neighbour's girl was a "shepherd's floozy, and not choosy" and I asked mother what that meant, she told me with raised finger and voice that I was not to loiter around the school yard in my spare time. "Half a minute is too many!"
So it took almost another ten years until I managed to get to know the Kanadiers a little better. Our father liked terribly much to go to all hockey games in the evenings, and when the Grünthalers played against the Steinbachers, he waved his arms like an epileptic auctioneer, and danced and yelled and screamed and raged about and devilled even more than when fixing fence among mud and mosquitoes in July. Or in August on the binder.
When the Grünthalers played against the Catholics, meaning St. Pierre, I thought that father would throw himself even harder into his vocabulary traces and use more colourful lingo, but he let up a little; that was due, so my oldest brother told me recently, to the fact that our father's bank manager who was from a French-speaking village, was cheering among the unconverted. But maybe our father was more muffled than usual also because one R.C.M.P. ruffian whom our father knew from God-knows-where played defence for the unbaptized. Whenever this fellow placed himself wherever, even our father walked around a bit.
Yes, but where did Ruble Dyck's Jacob find room in all of this, is the question. Ruble Dyck's came from the Chaco to Grünthal and they were even poorer than the Russians under Communism. Very poor. They had a score of children, slept all winter and in summer they dug roots and sold them.
People said that the entire Ruble Dyck gang, thirteen in number had only one room in their whole house. Whether that was so, I don't know because I never crossed their porch to the inside. But it is possible because their entire house was only a bit larger than our chicken hut but smaller than our summer kitchen.
Ruble-Dyck's Jacob took to me a bit and I liked him quite well in reverse. For hockey games in the outdoor rink he was generally a little late because his cash money reserves were on a strict diet and so he had to walk around the scrutineers. He headed back towards a little thicket and over a steep snow drift and then he simply rolled down the snowbank. Then he got up and there he was.
Jacob was tall but lanky; he had sharp eyes, a sharper jaw and a well cut, attractive nose. I told him that together with his moustache he resembled Nietzsche and then explained who Nietzsche was. Nietzsche scored a big victory with Jacob who then cultivated a wild moustache between his invariable cigarette and his sniffer.
Oh yes, Jacob's teeth were also not of the ordinary kind and he "could bite like the devil if he really wanted to," he said. His fingers were long and thin but you rarely ever got to see them and only if, as he said, he had to roll himself a fresh one. As poor as they were, all the Ruble Dyckers smoked. In winter they simply charged their few supplies at Guenther's store or at the Cooperative and in summer, after hoeing beets or digging roots, they paid their bills for the year.
The fingers on Jacob's right hand were brown-yellow from smoking. Jacob rolled his cigarettes very, very thin, so thin, said Rempel's Mietja, it was "as if a sow got up in winter - and you know where - a straw blade stuck out, that's how thin Ruble Dyck's Jacob's cigarettes are." Then Jacob wetted the cigarette paper from left to right with his tongue and a far-away look, fetched a match from his pocket, lifted his burnous a little and went to his knees which stiffened his pants a bit and stroked once across his rear end and surfaced with fire in his hand. And then he polluted.
And all the time he talked. Shivered and talked. He told about having been very rich at one time and all the places he had been to. "That was once in Kapuskasing or in Moose Jaw... whatever, it was in the States," is the way he started. Or, "Do you want to know why I am always a little lame in the mornings? That comes from the only bronco that ever managed to buck me off the Calgary Stampede in Montana. But luckily I had sewn the two hundred dollars which I got for breaking in wild horses into a little pocket in my pocket. Sewn it so well that not even that wild stallion was able to pick-pocket it.
"Well yes, and then when I had become very wealthy I had a lot of free time and started making wood in the Chaco. But I made wood only late in autumn and never not in winter. And why that? Because at that time there were still more bears than churches or preachers. And bears are very inquisitive and snoopy and they watch your every move. If I in the evening at quitting time left behind a piece of ham, well smoked, together with my saw and axe at the cordwood pile, then I could expect twice as much wood on the pile the next morning, neatly sawed into four-foot lengths and nicely piled up. Bears are much stronger than human beings and they did not do what people do, always laying thick wood pieces at the bottom and the thin ones on top. No siriee, they went about things more professionally as strong ones do and if a piece of wood was, let's say a foot or more in diameter, they shelved it on top of the pile, if they felt like it. "Look!" he said, "here is still a wad of fur which I gathered from the logs to show you." And then Jacob went for his pocket to locate the ball of bear-hair but he returned empty-handed. Then he said, "I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Mutta burned that roll of wool last year in spring during pant washing time. Well, anyway, whenever I wanted the bears to really produce overnight I simply left five cents worth of tobacco behind right by my axe. Or, once in a while, I filled up a sardine tin with honey and left it behind. And then you could always expect an extra cord the next morning."
People screamed like heathens at the hockey game and when Guenther's Eddie took the puck and wound up behind the goal and swept across the ice and everyone yelled as if the Day of Judgement was at hand; a few girls even managed to faint.
I told our father this story because he was such a miserable wood chopper himself, but he simply said, "That sounds like when I skated one hundred miles on the Dnieper in a single day, in the middle of July. You just tell Jacob that if he and his three bears will do some wood cutting and chopping in the bush there behind the back twenty, I'll give him three dollars!"
But Jacob said that the bears would rather stay in the Chaco, they had gotten used to those parts and they were homey there. And that went for him to. Then he asked if I possibly did not believe him? Before I had time to answer him he said, "If people no longer believe the truth, what will they do when you tell them a story?"
Many years later I was to meet Ruble-Dyck's Jake again; he was a janitor at United College and when we met by chance, he calmly gathered in his mop, resting it against his cheek while angling one leg across the other and cork-screwing it a bit. Then he rolled himself a nicotine noodle as artfully as tradition dictated before taking command, "You Harry, eye vant a better job in de corners ware no one luks for diert accept de axeperts." Or, "Abie, yue just keep dat bruehm happy!" even if there was no one working far and wide. And then he busied himself with a roll-your-own, thin but even. And then he talked about, "prosperous taimes, just around the next corner or tü!"
Yet Jacob looked a little different: he always wore an army jacket. Soon I heard from the other janitors that Jacob had been in the Korean War. Not too long, "maind yü," but he had fought there and then when his side had been winning a little too much, he had stopped, "tü giv de anemy a faiting chance," he had said.
Once when I had coffee with Jacob he said, "Again this shitty winter. In winter all these prairie gophers from Jantsied and all the bush rabbits from this side become a little goofy in the head or they are always ailing or sick, or they become See-See-Effers. The taim has almost come for all things to change a bit."
And do you know something? Shortly before Christmas of the year there was a knock at my office door and there - I had to look twice before I recognized him - stood Ruble Dyck's Jacob. He no longer smoked roll-your-owns, no, he smoked Black Cats, tailor-made, but "without a tail." But that wasn't all: Jacob had on a new suit and he buttoned, then unbuttoned the suit jacket three to four times a minute. A brown suit with a "Pura Seta" tie which Jacob stroked lovingly every five to six seconds, and a white shirt, and everything from Hanford & Drewitt, so he said, and a pair of cowboy boots, and a "coat from wash-bears" (also known as raccoons).
And that wasn't all by any means: Jacob had a Stetson on his head: "Cooper and Wayne don't have batter ones aider."
More to come: Jacob had a one-way ticket on the C.P.R. first class to B.C. "One-way!" he explained.
Ruble Dyck's Jake had won an Irish Sweepstake for over a million and he didn't even know where Irish was, he said. "But it lies quite a ways off from the other Chaco in Paraguay, I heard say. But now I have to go; once you're rich you become a busy man; busier than I had ever thought possible."
And then he was gone.