Did you ever meet someone that you instantly liked? I don’t think it happens often, at least not to us, but this phenomena occurred to my husband and me three years ago.

It happened in October during the Anaheim Phoenix Club’s Oktoberfest. My husband and I decided to join my German class for a Sunday afternoon of Oompah music, German sausages, sauerkraut, and naturlich~Bier! As soon as we paid for our tickets into the park, we saw a white tent with handcrafted wooden items of cutting boards, baskets, and mantel clocks. It caught my husband’s eye, and we walked into the booth.

My husband, who is a woodworker himself, seldom looks at anyone else’s work. This is because he can just about make anything anyone else does with wood, only better. But Ken took one look at the items and saw how professionally done they were and had to take a closer look. As Ken checked them out, I struck up a conversation with the man who had made the beautiful items. Herr “E”, as he will be referred to throughout this story, was a jolly, amiable man with a slight accent. After talking to him for awhile, I asked him if he had been born in Germany and where was he from.

Herr “E” replied, “Yes, but you probably never heard of it. It’s a little town in central Germany.”

“Try me,” I said. “I’ve been there five times and traveled extensively throughout.”

“Well, the little town I was a born in, with only a couple hundred people, I’m sure you wouldn’t know, but the closest town to that is called Fulda.”

“Oh my God!” I said. “We just came back from there this past summer. Our best friends who live over there were born and raised in Fulda.” Then I turned in Ken’s direction, and yelled, “You won’t believe where Herr “E” is from!”

We talked for quite awhile with Herr “E”, and his wife, Frau “A.” We became instant friends. She was just as sweet as he was. After we exchanged information, Herr “E” came to our house several times showing Ken how he made his cheese-cutting boards and borrowed some of Ken’s tools to finish work on his big cutting boards. Ken had offered the use of his shop to help the man.

The second and third Oktoberfests have come and gone. But we never failed to stop and talk with our new German friends from Fulda. After this past year’s festival, we promised to get together on our own. We planned to meet at the Phoenix Club’s restaurant not during Oktoberfest. After the holidays, Frau “A” phoned us and suggested we come to their house instead of the restaurant for an authentic German meal.

Their home was just as comforting and inviting as our new friends. Several photos and plaques with German sayings filled the rooms. The food was delicious, and better than any restaurant could have served in the states. We feasted on my favorite dish called Rinderroulade (rolled stuffed beef) and red cabbage, prepared German style. Both melted in your mouth. After dinner we had Applestrudel for dessert, another Deutsche delight.

“What games would you like to play?” Herr “E” asked. (I thought that was an odd question as no one had ever asked us that.)

So I asked, “What games do you like?” When he started to list the games they enjoyed playing, they were the exact games that we liked. So we ended our evening with three games of Sequence, talking and laughing about our experiences in Germany and our travels here in the U.S. Ken and I were so pleased to meet such wonderful friends. They are the kind we will keep for life.