Sunday, 23 July 2017
Off-Topic: Three bottles of wine
Sometimes the pettiness of the people in my friends and family is amazing. Here's a little story that might amuse you.
My parents-in-law are Kurt and Elisabeth Hengel, farmers in southern Germany. I got on very well with Kurt. He immediately accepted me into the family, and we often sat together drinking and chatting. I didn't get on well with Elisabeth. She had problems with me because I was a foreigner. She thought her daughter should have married a farmer's son.
On April 16th 1989 my father-in-law, Kurt Hengel, celebrated his 60th birthday. He had an empty apartment in the house where I lived, one floor below me, so the living room was used for the party. He set up a few folding tables. It was a small affair, about 15 family members. We enjoyed coffee and cake, as the Germans like to do on a Sunday afternoon, and afterwards we drank wine. It was a very good wine, Ochsenbacher Riesling, which my brother-in-law Wolfgang Hengel received as a free gift from a vineyard he visited on business. After a few hours we all went home, leaving Elisabeth to clear the table.
Later in the evening Elisabeth came up to my apartment and shouted "Mike has stolen three bottles of wine".
I was quite amazed, so I said I would take a look. My mother-in-law escorted me into the downstairs apartment. As soon as I walked into the living room I saw three bottles of wine under a chair by the window.
"There they are!" I exclaimed.
I thought that would be the end of the story, but Elisabeth answered, "You put them there to hide them from me".
That was ridiculous. The chair wasn't even by the window when I'd left the party. It was obvious what had happened. She'd put the wine on the floor when she had removed the tablecloth, then forgotten about it. She didn't accept my explanation and continued to rant about it.
A few days later I visited my parents-in-law at their farm. The wine theft was still a hot topic. Kurt was evidently amused. He asked me if I wanted the wine. I said Yes, and he gave me two bottles. He'd already drunk the third.
Why am I writing about this silly little story 30 years after it happened? My father-in-law died three years ago, but my mother-in-law hasn't forgotten the wine. A few days ago she told her daughter, now my ex-wife, that I couldn't be trusted because I'm a thief. The proof was the three bottles of wine that I had stolen and hidden under a chair.
P. S. The photo is of a different wine, because I can't find any photos of Ochsenbacher Riesling.