What a night of romance I had last night.
Like an old couple, Sue McGleno and I started our date somewhere around 2 30 p.m.
Our commitment to love started off in the Big Man / Tall Man shop where the both of us did our best to create my ensemble for my upcoming poetry reading at the University Club.
I won't reveal the "exact look" that I'm going to be throwing down, but lets just say that I might be wearing a tie for the first time in my adult life.
As I looked through the selections, I silently chuckled knowing I would have to look of the internet to find out how tie the thing.
So now the counter chick walks over, asks me if I'm the baker guy, and when I tell her I am, she begins to grill me......
"Me and my husband see you at the State Fair all of the time, and it's none of my business, but I'm still perplexed as to why you changed the name of your "Nasty" bread to Saint Paul Sourdough."
So after dodging her inquiry I tell her about my upcoming poetry gig, I tell her how I want to look nice, but before I can finish listing the look I want to achieve....girlio lifts up some tie that has different shades of purple, mauve and lavender criss-crossing all over the map.
"Lady, fetch my a Republican tie, please!" I asked, but then Sue McGleno chimed in how she agreed with whats her head, that the purple Easter egg tie was really nice.
Why is it that women want to dress their men in apparel that they would wear?
So after getting my goods, we headed down the street to the State Fair grounds to check out the Oktoberfest.
As I pulled through the gates, I kinda did so 1/2 grimacing because I always recoil a bit when returning to this venue that is typically ingrained in my memory with the street covered with an ocean of people.
Today........it was ghost city kid.
On the State Fair grounds there must be around 22 billion buildings, surprisingly I found the one with the screaming Germans in no time at all.
After paying our gate fee, S.M. and I walked the perimeter of this warehouse to see what our 10 bucks just bought us.
Besides beer and food there was a few other things.
On a makeshift stage sat a bunch of old (and I mean old) guys who wore the traditional German garb and played polka's with accordions and tubas.
These cats had swag!
Then there was a bunch of people wearing lederhosen while standing around tree stumps. For 3 bucks each, you were given a nail that the host would pound slightly into the wood.
So everybody has an erect nail, and then the host pulls out a huge-huge hammer that has the striking side, and another side the is tapered and narrow.
The handle has a red line painted on it to show you wear your grip must be. There is no "choking up" and boys get one hand where girls can use two.
So me and Sue McGleno paired off against another couple, crowds were forming, people watching, laughing.
How do I say this w/o sounding egotistical, I dunno...many I don't, but the other couple was kinda quiet-chubby and frumpy.
I mean it was as if I was surprised that they even came forward to play. Their appearance and conduct was sheepish.
I wanted to destroy them.
I wanted to win the cowbell prize and hand it to Sue McGleno and walk around this warehouse like I was the shiz.
On my first strike........John Henry would have been proud, I delivered a blow that sunk my nail 50%
The tubby dude across from me looked sad.
On the next round, all of us whiffed, but when it came to my masculine counterpart.....
"CRASH".....the nail went flush, he struck a blow that was absolutely perfect.
He was the winner.
As you can imagine, the audience went berserk, it was like the Padres besting the Yankees in the World Series.
For a fleeting moment I was really pissed, that is until I saw the tubby guy light up in abject delight.
His wife, girlfriend, whatever she was, pulled him close and hugged the stuffing out of him.
Dude had such a look, I mean "Praise Polish Christ", such a look of happiness, I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm almost kinda glad I lost.
Sue McGleno has given me a few of those "I can't believe it" hugs over the years.
When you look back at these moments later, often times one forgets what the source of the merriment was, well....sometimes the purpose has been forgotten or rusted, but at that very moment.....there was nothing more important in their world than beating that big tattooed dick across the log from them.
My chubby protagonist had foiled my intentions and was probably going to get some "extra celebration" from mama tonight.
At this point I extended my hand to congratulate the victor, for a fleeting second, I think he thought I was going to grab him, but when he realized my true intention, he got that "Sorry brah, I thought you were going to "F" with me look".
I've been in his position, so I just smiled and then we shook hands.
The venues space had this eerie glow. Basically we were in a warehouse, and the ceiling was high up and had vertical windows between the walls and the rooftop.
This produced lighting like you would see in some Vincent Price movie, I mean I wasn't sure what was more likely.......
Was I gonna polka with the Germans or get probed by some alien.
Then there was 8 rows of picnic tables. Each row was covered with blue and white plastic - checkered table cloths.
Each row was probably 100 yards long.
The set up was geared to hold thousands, but right now its about 3:45 in the afternoon, and I'll bet there wasn't over 125 people in the place.
I think there was 4 or 5 other similar Oktoberfest events taking place across the Twin Towns.
Usually when I go to an event in Saint Paul, I'll (we'll) run into a few peeps that we know, but today was different.....these were Germans.
We don't have a single connection to them.
I have mentioned recently that Baking with the Germans is my last desire professionally, and after this occurs, I am going to jump off public radar once and for all.
But as I sat there, with the prettiest girl in the room. I realized how much empty road (a metaphor you know) I was gonna have to cross.
I hate starting journeys,books or movies from the beginning. I've always liked inserting myself in the middle of these things.
Some will say that you miss plot points, but I feel that if you hit the ground running, you will get to bypass all the prologue and red tape.
It's not that she doesn't have money, and it's not that she doesn't make as much as me, but like at most events....Sue McGleno puts her hands out in the "Give me your wallet" position.
She doesn't like it if I just hand her a 20 or a 50, she wants the wallet.
Well.....as she is waiting in line for a brat and some apple crisp, little Klecko sits in this massive space......alone.
Then I started to think, how will this final chapter play out?
How will my relationship with the Germans go?
Who knows, maybe one day I will sit in some room in Berlin and tell them about the fat guy kicking my a** in the tree stump game.
I must have been deep in thought, because I didn't even notice that Sue McGleno ditched me for what seemed like a couple of months, when she resurfaced, she had her brat, a Diet Coke, and of course her coveted apple crisp.
BTW, on the top of her cute little monkey mug she was now sporting one of the hats that the Germans, Austrians and Swiss wear when they yodel in the mountains, but in the spot that typically adorns those little feathers, was a felt beer mug that was super glued to the hat.
"Can you believe it only cost me $9" the bride of Klecko brags?
Klecko responded with a sigh.
Now the polka band comes back from a brief intermission and starts off their set with "I don't want her, you can have her, she's too fat for me" and I begin to laugh.
Hasn't "PC" hit the polka community?
I posed this question to Danny Klecko's friends on Facebook, but before I had time to get answers.....my little Russian Jew used some questionable German......
"What kinda shiest is this? There is no crisp in my apple crisp. Oktoberfest sucks!"
Well, they say the 1000 mile journey starts with the first step, however in my case....it might have been a step backwards LOL.
Located below is an apple crisp recipe that is certain not to disappoint you, and lets remember der kinder....its Berlin or Bust for the Last American Baker!
Klecko's Apple Crisp
3 large cooking apples ( I like Pink Lady) sliced (4 cups)
1 handful of golden raisins
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 A.P flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Sue McGleno tops hers with Cream Ice cream, but us real Pollacks use about a gallon of Cool-Whip
* 1 Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with butter.
* 2 Spread apples and in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
* 3 Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.