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  • Writer's pictureLin Gold


Sunday, December 11, 4:30 P.M
Hosts:  Rick & Lin Grunbaum

I must tell you that our celebration of the Austrian Independence Day was a genuine joy.  The meal was great, but the event was really special because our dear friends, Norbert and Kala Gregor, were in town, and joined us. Their deep need for Tex-Mex was met by our visit to La Hacienda Ranch in Frisco. We had time and space to mingle and chat before the meal (and enjoy some cocktails). As we sat down, and great quantities of food began to appear on the table, stories of war time and post-war time experiences started to emerge. Joe Morgenstern shared his dramatic experiences as a young soldier on the Hungarian border. Norbert related his stories of seeing oranges for the first time, as they rolled off the back of a jeep, and finally meeting his father at five years of age. Rudy Philipp recalled how each sector of Vienna had its own occupying force, and how fortunate you were if you lived under American occupation. I told the gathering that I used to ask for chewing gum and Hershey’s chocolate from the American soldiers garrisoned across the street. As more stories unfolded, there was a sense of deep connection among all of us. It was a profound experience. As you may know, this weekend we put our house on the market. By special request of my dear wife, we will have a last blow out Christmas party here on Avalon. I refer to this old house as the Lady of Lakewood, and she has been filled with wonderful and grand events over the years. We feel she deserves a loving and cheerful goodbye from all of us Austrians. So, I hope you have marked your calendars for this heartwarming event, the annual Weihnachtsfeier, Sunday, December 11, at 4:30 p.m.   Once again, St. Nikolaus is making a special visit to our celebration and will time his appearance to about 5:30 p.m.  As always, Krampus will be in tow and St. Nikolaus will reveal the naughty and the nice about our precious children. Following this emotional trial, we'll have our typically sumptuous Christmas feast, crowned by Chef Heinz Prasts's venison ragout.  There will be plenty of Glühwein on hand, along with all the regular libations.  All you need to add are your authentic Austrian delicacies:  appetizers, salads, side-dishes and most importantly, desserts! (Apfelstrudl, anyone?). Be sure to RSVP to Sign-up Genius. As usual following the meal, we will have a Christmas program and we need performers: musicians and readers. Lin is in charge of the program, so please give her a call if you or your kids can participate.  She will send out a Sign-up Genius request for that too.  Kathy Knappitsch will once again be our accompanist extraordinaire. Finally, topping off this whole event will be all the fabulous desserts, along with coffee (and maybe a little Schnapps). This year we will really need your help, even more than usual, for setup and cleanup. Also, we will be short on chairs, so if you have folding chairs, please bring them!! There are slots for all of this on Sign-up Genius, so please be sure to include this information,, along with your wonderful food contributions. Having you in our home for the Weihnachtsfeier is always one of the highlights of our year.  As we compose this notice, I see a tiny tear in Lin’s eye. It is so special to have our Austrian family here with us as we close this chapter of our lives, and start a new one. We hope to see you at future gatherings in our charming new home, about 10 blocks from here. We look forward to seeing you and greeting you with a big warm hug!

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