​This is 52 Oktoberfesting

Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on October 25, 2022 # Lifestyle

Geoff and familyEach year, I share photos of our family dressed up in their Oktoberfesting best, and people wonder, “How do you get your kids to agree to dress like that? Mine would not be caught dead like that in public.” And last year, our son, who was 11, also would not be seen dressed like that, despite having rocked an outfit since toddlerhood; but this year, he was loud and proud in his lederhosen hand-me-downs from his Uncle Brian. However, now it’s our daughter’s turn, also 11, who would only dress up for the photo, and then she donned her favorite fall uniform, sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Her dirndl is new, though, thanks to Aunt Allison, Geoff’s sister, who lives in Frankfurt, Germany; Greta finally outgrew the last one after five full years of wear.

With a birthday on October 25, his mom Joyce shares that he often had Halloween-themed birthday parties as a kid. Yet, all I can really picture is him dressed like our children in various sizes of lederhosen knickers, wondering what his friends would have thought at age 10 of that kind of birthday party. Would friends have joined him in his German heritage-themed party back then? Doubtful. Yet, in the last decade especially (minus the Covid years), we have celebrated Geoff in his favorite outfits, but I have to tell you: Wrestling him into the leather lederhosen is in many ways more difficult than a wet suit. How is it worth it, I ask, repeatedly?

This year, I had the pleasure of watching our son wrestle his dad into his costume. Then Geoff helped Carver with those darn bone buttons. When he was little, I used to worry about whether or not he would be able to get them down quickly enough when he needed to use the restroom. This year, we watched--sort of proudly-- sort of horrified, as he entered his first 12 and under stein holding competition. While there was only water in the stein, he made quite a show after “winning” (the last one still sort of holding the stein with most of the water filled) by chugging said water while the adults surrounding him chanted, “Chug, chug, chug!” We watched from afar, not chanting, mind you, and wondered if this would count as one of his top ten days on earth so far. Mountain biking all morning with friends wearing his school pride Lumberjack plaid beneath authentic lederhosen in crisp sunshine among thousands of Okoberfesting fans.

Next year, he moves up to the 13-20 age category, so I’m glad his glory matched the day this go around, and my bet will be on his sister for next year, who has undoubtedly started stein holding training in secret, likely up in her room while staring at her ski racing trophies. One might wonder why I don’t join in the family fun, and, honestly, it’s only because my dirndl is too tight in the wrong places. I refuse to buy a new one, because, one day, it will fit in the right places again, and, until then, my family requires a lot of assistance and outfit attention always in October.

This was our peak leaf-peeping weekend, and what a glorious end to fall’s beauty. People traveled our highways and backroads to catch a glimpse, and their efforts were not disappointing. The only problem with this kind of weather is that when it turns-- it turns quickly, and suddenly the dark days of November, her cold mud, messy yet un-accumulating snowflakes, and bare trees replace October’s sunny splendor.

Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 12 and 11 respectively. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.