Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The friendship and kinship between German brothers-in-law Ed Merz and Edd Heitmueller was unique in several aspects. Not only did they share a common given name ( with an extra “D” added to Edd Heitmueller’s name), but so did their wives, Eda. Ed Merz was married to Edd Heitmueller’s sister and the two couples were great pals throughout their long married lives in the Vinemont Community of Cullman County.

Nothing pleased each couple more than playing a prank or joke on the other couple. Throughout the past year a record of these pranks was posted on a calendar hanging on the kitchen wall of the quaint German Merz homeplace. These amusing antics were individually recalled with gusto each New Year’s Eve when the family gathered around the glistening, oak table in the tidy, cozy Merz kitchen. Not only were they there, with other family members, to usher in a brand new year, but to celebrate Ed Merz’s birthday.

Both men were members of Cullman’s original German Band, Ed in a musical capacity and Edd, who was a great jig dancer but played no musical instrument. However, he became the “official” buggy driver for the group (self appointed I am sure). One crisp, fall evening in the 1930’s the band played until the wee morning hours near The Odd Fellow’s Home, known today as Childhaven. They, as normal, consumed vast amounts of “spirits” throughout the evening. Eventually the tired, tipsy group loaded themselves and their instruments onto the buckboard for the short journey home. As the exhausted members nodded blissfully Edd Heitmueller attempted to direct the sleepy horses to their destination. At such an early morning hour a fall frost had settled over the large meadow across the road from where The Cullman Stockyard is presently located. In his state of inebriation Edd abruptly halted the weary horses and loudly suggested to his disheveled friends that they all “dive” into the lovely LAKE----- so they all stripped and dove!!

On another occasion the band members gathered at the Merz farmhouse one evening to practice their playing and marching. As the hours progressed and the group partook of “refreshments” the atmosphere became quite jovial. Ed Merz was very proud and protective of his newly constructed hen house full of nesting hens. Suddenly, Edd Heitmueller leading the band, flung open the double front doors of the hen house and amidst cackling hens, fluttering feathers and flying fowls the group proceeded to march proudly through the house and out the back doors of Ed’s prized possession. Screaming in protest with ire and fury Eda Merz attacked the entire melee as she brought up the rear with mop flaying wildly!

Another memorable incident occurred one dawn in the same hen house. Ed and Eda Merz’s tranquil sleep was suddenly interrupted that blustery winter night by strange sounds coming from the hens. Snuggling closely the frightened duo, she in flowing flannel nightgown, he in snug longhandles with a flopping “northern exposure” crept cautiously toward the hen house. With oil lantern in one hand, shotgun in the other and Eda peeking timidly over his shoulder, Ed silently eased open the door. At that precise moment “Snitz”, Ed’s faithful birddog , chose to inspect the area right before his COLD nose. That spot being the exposed skin of Ed’s hindquarters! Startled by this unexpected greeting Ed sprang forward, dropped the lantern and shot both barrels of his trusty double barrel shotgun through the roof of his cherished hen dwelling. Seems Ed’s main concern, almost immediately, was how promptly he could repair the damage he had incurred—for he knew what unmerciful “joshing” he would have to endure if Edd

Heitmueller ‘s eagle eyes spied the holes and questioned their creation!

Oh, how these two German buddies loved to “argue” politics, one being a staunch Democrat, the other just as die-hard a Republican. No matter what the subject of the discussion there was no budging by either man. Although this political gulf was vast and deep it never intruded upon their devoted friendship, nor changed each other’s mind.

One spring day, while both men were in their seventies, a noted “discussion’ arose between the two pals. They were working together erecting the rafters on a new wash house on the Heitmueller Farm. All morning the sweaty pair debated the fact as to whether or not the tin roof should be put on the rafters, because Ed Merz claimed the rafters were a quarter of an inch off on one side. As the two Eda’s served a typical German lunch of steaming, tasty stew and homemade bread the argument continued with as much gusto as the consumption of the meal. Following lunch and the traditional German naptime the discussion resumed and it was finally decided that the wise thing to do was to simply “measure” the rafters and once and for all settle the argument (Impossible). As the two Eda’s observed, peeking through the freshly starched kitchen curtains, the reckoning took place. As Ed Merz climbed down the rickety ladder the twinkle in his aging , humorous eye left no doubt to the two wives just which of their husbands had won the debate. However, another argument abruptly erupted when Edd Heitmueller, stubborn soul that he was, claimed that there was a flaw in Ed Merz’s ruler!

Both the of these colorful men have long since passed away, but have left a long and enjoyable trail of amusing antidotes which is, even today, enjoyed by family, friends and neighbors. In my heart of hearts I truly believe that even as you read this those two great friends are, no doubt, bringing a chuckle to the angels and St. Peter as they resume their antics in Heaven.

By Jane-Ann Merrill Heitmueller 1998

**Photograph courtesy of Tri County Weddings Page