Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Ei Schieza" New Year's Eve

Rural folks in Central Kansas would celebrate New Year's Eve with what the Volga German community called "Ei Schieza", translated "TO SHOOT IN (the New Year)". Neighbors or relatives would come to a friend's house on New Year's Eve as a social visit and bring their shot guns. At midnight, they would go outside to CELEBRATE with firing their shot guns into the air at the Stroke of Midnight. Much like today we still hear someone shoot off firecrackers at the Stroke of Midnight
My observation of this annual event took place as I was a boy of age ten or so (1931). It was an exciting and jovial evening, as I remember. Perhaps preceeded with a supper of "Schnitz Soup" (dried fruit soup with cream) and "Grebell" (similar to a sort of deep fat fried donut).
I've called this celebration "Ei Schieze". However, I'm confused a bit because in the German dialect we spoke, I thought it would be written as "Ein", the word actually defined as ONE. In the language usage it is pronounced WITHOUT THE ENDING LETTER "n", thus phonetically pronounced Ei defined as IN, like "shoot IN ". It goes back to DIALECTS, and words we used are not necessarily A DICTIONARY word.
For being a kid my age at the time, SHOOTING a shotgun into the dark night sky was pretty impressive.
The other childhood impression I vividly recall involved some of the Halloween tricks we did. One was to set a piece of farm machinery on the roof of the chicken house and one suspended by rope FROM THE WINDMILL . I think the windmill had the horsedrawn SICKLE MOWER, and the chicken house had the horse drawn RAKE. That took some "real doing" in the dark of night. I don't remember how Dad ever got them down. It would take some heavy block and tackle to lower them.
Well, my fingers are in OVERDRIVE. I'm talking about Halloween and tomorrow night is New Year's Eve. I often get off on TANGENT subjects. One word will trigger a whole other subject. I have a "multi-task" brain. Notice the word "multi-task" is a product of the current fad of "Politically Correct" terms. Language is FUN. Webster must have a hard time to KEEP UP with all our new words. I sure do!
Thanks for listenin' and Happy New Year!

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