« The Geezer Files

World Cup

by Terry Veldhouse

This Geezer is somewhat unusual in that I am a soccer fan. As such, I am currently in my glory with the World Cup being contested in Brazil as I write this. Since my ancestors are from Holland, I have been privileged to adopt the Dutch side as a favorite, which sets up this story about Helen, an actual, real, live, legal immigrant from Germany.

Yesterday the Dutch confronted Argentina in a semi-final match at 3:00 PM. I was watching in the WC Pub on our largest available screen (60) while exercise class was going on. Helen, our designated Bingo prize manager, moseyed over after the workout to pick up the quarters and found me engrossed in the contest.

Turns out that Helen was actually present at the 1974 World Cup final in Munichs Olympiastadion. She was pretty gleeful to relate how the Germans beat the Dutch that day 2-1. And mind you, the Dutch were already up in the third minute. It was one of those penalty kicks on a terrible referee call.

Helen was born in Augsburg in 1936, so she has memories of the war years. She was shipped to the countryside for the later years of the conflict as the Allies targeted Augsburgs industrial complex and destroyed the city with bombing. She has very fond memories of her adopted farm family, but her home city was devastated.

After the war, Germany was swarming with Americans. She managed to snag one of them, an intelligence officer from Minneapolis, who married her in 1956 and took her home to the states (Sioux Falls) and a career in the army. So, Helen, how did you get to the Final?

Eventually Helens mother became sick, and her only sister was saddled with the task of taking care of her. Helen agreed to go back to Germany, retired hubby in tow, and take care of her. This put her on the spot to use tickets purchased by her brother and set up our eventual meeting in the WC Pub.

While this conversation is going on, the game is progressing with neither side making a dent. It turns out to be a 0-0 contest, where both sides give other too much respect and spend their efforts trying not to lose. In spite of that, one of them does lose in a shootout, and its the Dutch. Ouch! The Argentines will be advancing the to 2014 Final against the German side on Sunday. This is all a terrible blow to the Orange who are still looking for revenge for 1974.

Helen is sympathetic, but not too much: Hey, she says, now you can root for us!

Fat chance.

Washington Crossing is Sioux Falls' premier independent senior living community.