- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
You could see that by watching him. August Riehle went from group to group of hunters and drivers and they all stood a little straighter when he talked to them, but finally he was finished and just stood there by himself with his left hand on the head of his dog.
All the time I was watching Riehle I could tell that Hans had something to say to me, but he didn't know how to put it, so I said, "What did your father say? Did he want you to tell me something?"
"Yes, Herr Packard. But it is difficult to say."
"He wants me to stay out of the way," I said. "Isn't that what he said?"
"Yes. He wishes you to stay at the back of the hunt." And Hans smiled even more.
I told him I understood, that I knew the only thing worse than finding no game on a hunt was to have some idiot standing around watching. Hunting is not a spectator sport; nobody had to tell me that. I was going to be way in the back, and when the guns started to go off I was going to be behind a tree.
But everybody was still standing around the main square in Gottenheim; it looked as though they were waiting for something. Then a blue Mercedes 220SL splashed with mud drove up and parked. A tall, gray-haired man got out. He took a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun out of the back seat, slung it over his shoulder and walked over to Riehle.
Riehle smiled one of his little smiles that made him look as if he carved puppets when nobody was watching. He lifted his hat with his left hand, raised his right hand and shook hands with the gray-haired man. They said something to each other, and then they both started to walk down the cobbled street of Gottenheim. I guess the gray-haired man was the one the group was waiting for, because everybody started to follow the two of them, first the hunters in green and brown with their dogs, then the drivers dressed in blues and yellows, and last me in my black-and-red jacket with a German-English dictionary in my hand.
We walked for a long time. It was hard to believe you could walk that far in a little German town, but we did, down the main street, then off to the right up a hill on a smaller street, then off to the left, and after a while I lost track of which direction we were going in. The streets were curved and up and down and they got narrower, with old, triangular stone houses right next to us on both sides.
They were the cleanest streets I had ever seen. There wasn't a thing in them, not a beer can, not a candy wrapper, not even a burnt match. It was as if my mother were in charge of street cleaning, or as if the whole town had been up all night getting Gottenheim ready for the hunt. But they hadn't. It was just the way they kept Gottenheim all the time, the way they keep Germany, the way the little golden dachshund walked along five yards in front of me like he was the proudest dachshund in the Federal Republic.