When I go to funeral services, my usual M.O. is to arrive early, pay my respects to the deceased with a prayer, express my condolences to the family with a hug, then get the hell out of the funeral parlor.
Today, however, I paid my respects to the deceased with a beer instead of a prayer, I expressed my condolences by singing "Ein Prosit,"and I stayed in the "funeral parlor" for three hours.
|Baby Dave Hoffmann with Dad Kurt|
What place then, would be more fitting for a sendoff for Kurt Hoffmann? He was in there almost every time I went from my very first visit in 1997, and we shared stories, jokes and beer galore. He was Bavarian through and through, right down to the chamois atop his hat and his lederhosen. Kurt Hoffmann was Germany personified.
Dave's mom Linda, Kurt's wife of fifty-two years, and sister also shared special, touching comments about what Kurt meant to them, and they weren't the only ones in the house to become verklempt in the process. When they had finished, Mrs. Hoffmann exhorted everybody to eat and drink, as Kurt would have wished, and the entire assembly erupted into the classic German beer-hymn known as "Ein Prosit," complete with ziggy-zoggies and oy-oy-oys.
It was a very upbeat occasion (as opposed to most memorial services), with plenty of food and some really good beers, like the Anniversary Barleywine and the "Small Beer" Dave made off that, using second runnings. The Barleywine was a delicious, sneaky-smooth 11% while the small beer was an equally tasty, sessionable 4.9%. He used 1000 pounds of grain for each creation, along with a special German hop called Merkur, which imparts an orangey taste. Both beers made from the same batch were outstanding, but I limited myself (mostly) to the small beer due to the occasion. And the fact that I had to drive home. The Helles, Kurt's favorite, was also outstanding...
|Mr. and Mrs. Roessle|
And that's how I'd like to check out. With people laughing, chatting, eating, drinking and even dancing. That's the way to be remembered and celebrated.
|Father & Son by Gregg Hinlicky|
Because people may not remember what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
And Kurt Hoffman made people feel like trinken, essen und tanzen.
And though he will be greatly missed, he will not be forgotten.
Ein prosit, Kurt Hoffmann!