by Rory Hinchey
Where does the time go? Josef now attending LMU, Tanja and Werner both nearing completion of gymnasium. Then there was Buddy Boy's quickly approaching 20th wedding anniversary. Reflecting on these milestones, and also taking note of the onset of warmer weather, Buddy Boy could not help but allow his thoughts to drift to the comic gait of Heinz.
It was summer, 1969. As was a tradition for both his own family and Heinz's, the group set out for their favorite holiday resort, situated within walking distance of a particularly lovely part of the Isar River. While the resort itself boasted its share of amenities and entertainment, it was the Isar that was most appealing to Buddy Boy, Heinz, and Heinz's younger sister Karolin.
After a little more than a week on the resort, the blazing sun turning the skin on their backs to a golden brown, Buddy Boy and Heinz grew tired of their usual stomping grounds. As young boys are apt to do, they took it upon themselves to venture off to new territory, leaving the public beach for portions of the river to the north. The pair at first followed the faint tug of the current, stopping occasionally to inspect certain curious features of the riverside. Gradually losing track of time, they made their way to deeper waters with more rapid currents, enjoying the opportunity to have the river carry them along. After taking a short break on an island in the middle of the Isar, Heinz, in his insatiable quest for excitement, deemed it wise to climb a large tree so that he might leap from it into the river below. Buddy Boy had no doubt his friend would be quite successful in his endeavor, but preferred to witness Heinz's jump from safety, rather than make a similar attempt himself. According to plan, Heinz descended head first from the tree as he yelled something unintelligible, and splashed into the water. Assuming Heinz was still swimming underwater with the current, Buddy Boy swam out to the point in the river into which Heinz had jumped. He found no sign of Heinz there, but did encounter a large rock at the level of his knees. At least a minute had passed, and Heinz had not resurfaced. In a panic, Buddy Boy swam north with the ever increasing current. Peering ahead as best he could into the Isar, he could make out in the distance what appeared to be the floating white back of Heinz, and his bright red swimming trunks, being quickly carried away. Heinz's body was recovered later that evening by authorities, floating amongst a small cluster of rocks.
(The Buddy Boy Chronicles continues next month with Agathe)
* Names, personal details, and certain details have been intentionally obscured in order to preserve the anonymity of the individuals discussed herein.