My parents had a good time in Germany. I won't say great, because as my mom put it, "It was a comedy of errors." Nothing went as planned, but that doesn't make it a bad trip, just a more memorable one.
My dad became ill the first two days of the trip as well as a handful of others. He spent the first two days sleeping in the hotel room. Others in the performance started to come down with the sickness as the days progressed. My mom on the other hand didn't get sick until Christmas evening.
Out of the 1,800 troops that were supposed to be entertained by the Singing Christmas Tree performances, there were only 15 soldiers and their families. Apparently the other 1785 were transplanted elsewhere. The biggest recipient of the Churches generosity and kindness turned out to be the locals of Weisbaden, Germany. Many of them came to more than one performance. It wasn't a total loss. They had fun with the locals and my parents enjoyed mingling with the kind and generous locals.
One of the women in the choir, fell and broke her shoulder bone. She was immediately sent back home to have surgery. While the crew was in Weisbaden, they were treated to the worst snow storms in over 100 years. This made coming back home a nightmare. My parents flight was due in Detroit on the Tuesday before Christmas, they never left Germany until Wednesday evening. They finally made it home on Thursday. Twelve people were stranded until Christmas eve. They finally got home Christmas night. My parents and 160 others flew Delta. The 12? They flew American. Goes to show ya who really took care of their passengers.
My dad told me about a gentleman there that came to all five performances. Always with what looked to be a one of those nikon spotting scopes, turns out he was legally blind and used it to see the people in the performance. The man was so grateful to be able to see the performance for free, all five times, that he treated the whole crew to dinner on their last night. Turns out he owned one of the most prominent restaurants in the village. Go figure.
My parents really enjoyed shopping in the open Christmas market, which is a tradition through out Germany. My mom, bought my sisters and I, an ornament that says Frohe Weihnachten, wish is Merry Christmas in German and my dad bragged about tasting every local brewed beer and loving it. He would since he is of German nationality. He brought back several beer steins, one for my grandfather and the rest for himself. He now has over 100 steins. Who needs that many steins? And who, I wonder, will be the lucky one to inherited them?