A few weeks ago, Jeff and I visited Triberg. We ate at a restaurant called the Tick Tack Stube, near our hotel. My food was ok--the standard cheese, pork and blumenkohl (cauliflower) with brown sauce. But what made my evening memorable? Our waiter.
First of all, when he came for our order, I got flustered trying to track down my choice among pages and pages of entree options. "It's ok!" our waiter smiled, and waved his hands broadly, as if calming troubled waters. After a sigh, I relaxed. While we waited for the food, Jeff and I checked out the wall of cuckoo clocks behind us, ready to go off in unison at any minute.
Soon, a German family walked in and took a nearby table. The same waiter approached and chatted with them for a few moments. He made a special fuss over the two kids, finding them suitable chairs and explaining the menu at length. Finally, they ordered and he brought out drinks, staying to converse longer.
Then, it turned seven o'clock, and the clocks on the wall began their show. One after another, each opened, cuckooed the time, and wound down. Every bird sounded slightly different--some whistled with a high pitch, others as if they'd finally made it through puberty. I simultaneously wanted to clap my hands over my ears and to beat on cymbals, the noise was so deafening and exhilarating. Afterwards, the two children called the waiter, gesturing and waving their arms. It was obvious they were excited about the cuckoo clocks and wanted to see more.
Mr. Waiter beckoned them over to the back wall, near us. Then he leaped up on the cushioned bench seat and began to reset each clock. He wound the hands around so that each one would strike the hour again. Pulled the metal weights hanging below, tricked the clocks into the future.
And then it began. Ding! Dong! Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo! A whole wall of sound. Little wooden figures slid out of Alpine houses and danced in circles, then returned to the inner workings of their clocks. A carved rooster crowed the time. Painted cows grazed in laquered grass. And the children's faces... Our waiter looked on like a child himself, delighting in their glee. Finally the cuckoos were cuckooed out, and all was quiet again.
I don't think I've enjoyed a meal so very much in a long time.