The power of danke

by DanWolgemuth on November 25, 2015

I would never have guessed that a 50-year-old pair of lederhosen could provide the perfect costume for my five-year-old grandson, but that’s exactly what happened. A year ago that German getup took some significant salesmanship from our daughter Alli, but the explosive results in Halloween 2014 made the 2015 repurposing a no-brainer for Desmond. He was all about the leather shorts with built in suspenders, along with knee high socks.

I saw it with my own eyes. Desmond, going solo (with careful oversight from the street) marching through a well-cared-for urban neighborhood with confidence, resolve, and delight. For Desmond, it was about filling the orange plastic bucket, but it was about so much more.

I watched the interaction, at first with curiosity, and then with a sense of inspiration, as over and over again Desmond thoughtfully followed the script. At first the homeowners seemed curious about the costume (it stands out among super heroes and characters from Frozen), then they were engaged by the thoughtful dialog of the five-year-old, and then they were completely captivated by a single word… danke.


Thank you…

I heard enough other trick or treaters to know that nearly every child dutifully proclaimed “thank you” at the generosity of the candy givers, but there was something noteworthy and different about the response that Desmond received with a single, fresh, unexpected word… danke.

People immediately broke into smiles. Some dusted off their high school German. Others dug into their candy bowl one more time. Still others laughed out loud.

Over and over again.


Sometimes a new twist on an old theme can have profound power. Certainly “thank-you” isn’t dated or passé; but when it’s remodeled in an unexpected expression, the meaning is amplified. Compounded. Infused.


Oh give thanks to the LORD (Danket dem HERRN),
for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 107:1)


Maybe our words of thanksgiving need a little German flare. Perhaps they need a new translation.

To our King. For our Creator. To our family. With our friends…

Danke. Lederhosen optional.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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