Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 3, 2010

The Context of Love

   Oberammergau, Germany 

   After an early breakfast at our hotel in Munich, my Dad and Paul and I set off for the historic city of Oberammergau. Our route took us down the picturesque Romantische Straße – the Romantic Road. The Bavarian Alps look down on this famous ribbon of highway that gently winds its way through story-book villages, green forests, glistening lakes, and fertile meadows. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen on any of my travels. We arrived at Oberammergau about mid-morning. Oberammergau is home to the world-famous Passion Play. This play was first performed by the villagers in 1635 in fulfillment of a vow they had made to God for sparing them from the bubonic plague. The local folks have performed the play every ten years since then. 

   Oberammergau is a unique village, to say the least. The people here are bound by a centuries old communal purpose. They are passionate about The Passion. Ornate Biblical scenes adorn almost every large building and local wood-carvers sell magnificent carvings of characters and scenes from the pages of the Gospels. Because of this, Oberammergau is often accused of “wearing too much make-up.” Perhaps that’s true. But, in spite of all of this, there’s something refreshing about the commitment of the people here to continue offering the world a wholesome gift. 

Dad (left) in Oberammergau | Dec. 1951

    It’s been almost sixty-years since my Dad’s first visit to Oberammergau. After a two-week voyage across the Atlantic, Dad arrived at the port city of Bremer Haven. From there he traveled by train to Sonthofen for his orientation. We’ll venture there tomorrow. From Sonthofen he traveled to the Air Force base at the ancient city of Wiesbaden, located on the northern bank of the Rhine River. Dad only spent a couple of days there while awaiting orders to attend military police training at the NATO base located outside of Oberammergau. He arrived in snow-covered Oberammergau in December 1951. After completing his training, Dad went back to Wiesbaden where he served with the Air Police for a year. 

   One of the best things my Dad did while serving in Germany was to write letters to his fiancé back home. Dad was a prolific letter writer and an avid photographer. One of the best things my beautiful Mom did was to keep Dad’s letters and photos. I don’t think either of them realized what a treasure their love letters and telegrams and photos would become to their kids. When I was young, I always enjoyed those evenings when Dad would set up his slide projector and tell us the stories behind his pictures. Today, as we sat at a local café, Dad talked about Mom and what he wrote to her in those letters from this place called Oberammergau. 

   There are no words to describe how being here with Dad and hearing him share about those letters has given unique context to his life and his love for Mom. Love does not happen in a vacuum. Love has context — even geographical context. The geographical distance between Oberammergau and our home town in South Texas intensified my parents love for one another. Mom faithfully waited for four-years for my Dad to come home so that they could begin their new life together. The letters they wrote to one another bear witness to the context of their love and their marriage testifies to its strength. It’s good to be here with my Dad and brother-in-law on this sentimental journey of discovery — a journey that is giving context to so many things I took for granted while growing up.


  1. It’s good to me to knowing the unknowing things! Thanks for keep posting the articles of ‘sentimental’ journeys! I’m reading them and trying to understand as much as possible — for me. and trying to learning!

    Thanks once again,

  2. Omar, thank you so much for sharing these precious details with us. The story of your parents’ life together is a joyous inspiration to all who read it. Your obvious love and respect for your parents is a testimony to the quality of the home life they provided. Please continue to share with us.

  3. Mortuza and Lannie…

    Thanks for our comments. Although I am privileged to travel all over the world, I must confess that this is the trip of a lifetime for me. Each precious moment with my 80-year-old Dad on this trip is a treasure.


  4. O,

    It is not the same at Kingsland without you here! I had to scramble to find someone to take me to the auto mechanic (I can always count on you since I drive you, the Job of cars there almost weekly). Thank you for sharing these stories. It has been an inspiration. It serves to remind me how blessed I am to have such a wonderful wife. The love your parents shared are such a great witness to all of us. Looking forward to your return.


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