Recently, a painting by Bottermelkslei has been hanging in the restaurant, the spieker.

Bottermelkslei grew up on a farm between Melderslo and Horst on the open arable land called ‘Den Oetlegger’. Several gardeners from the area had a plot of land on the Oetlegger. They knew Lei well because his house was quite in the middle of the area.

Lei was born with a disability, he had difficulty speaking and had not attended primary school. Later in life he knew a few words, he could swear loudly at the time. He lived with his brother and sister and helped out on the mixed farm. There was always something to do there such as taking care of and nursing livestock, harvesting horticultural and agricultural crops. Enough activities for him.

Village figure

Lei was a special village figure. When the harmony or militia wore off, Lei walked wide, gesturing with a stick in front as a tambour-maître or was busy clearing the way for a procession or procession. This to some hilarity of the bystanders. A regular activity of Lei was to collect a jug of buttermilk almost daily from the dairy in Horst. He was a regular customer at the factory and from there he also got his nickname “Bottermelkslei”. Buttermilk was often a daily occurrence for the residents, but it was also needed as animal feed. The pigs could also feast on it.

Schoolboys sometimes teased Lei, he would get very angry and run after the boys screaming. The boys were always too fast for him, he couldn’t run so fast on his clogs. Once, some bad boys had drunkenly fed him at the shooter’s party by treating him to free beer. The boys were later reprimanded for this by the militia, which was not responsible for this.

Big change

The painting depicts “Bottermelkslei” with a bicycle trailer that he used after years of always walking through the village with a wooden wheelbarrow to the dairy. Due to the construction of the A73 and the expansion of Horst, the house of Bottermelkslei (fam. Camps) has been demolished. As a result, the entire hamlet and arable land and even the name ‘Oetlegger’ has disappeared.

On the A73 the traffic rushes by nowadays, people are more in a hurry nowadays. The time when transport went by horse and cart, bicycle trailer and wheelbarrow is over.

Pete Lenssen