Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reconciliation at the Annex

Today I had to break down my Demo Kitchen at the Minnesota State Fair.

It's the 10th time I've done this now, so I kinda knew what was in store.

After 12 days of frivolity, ruckus and sensory overload......

I knew that I would end up spending my decompression time alone.

Amidst empty tables, mountains of bulging Hefty trash bags, and dust-bunnies, the size of poodles.

Danny Klecko was attacked by quiet.

It's hard to ignore the silence on the Fair grounds.

As a somewhat mature adult, I know this is a natural part to the process, yet part of me wants to shirk my responsibilities by leaving my van load of stuff there so I can just go home and lay in the fetal position on the concrete of my basement, underneath the washtub.

If I did that, perhaps I could cocoon for 353 nights, and let life elapse until my State assembled once again.

It's not often that I feel sorry for myself, but on this one day of the year....I let self pity reside.

After bucking up a bit. I decided to take some mental notes as to what were some of the best moments I had throughout this Fair.

As you can imagine, there were many, but w/o a doubt.....

The part I was most excited about was the fact that my daughter would be bringing her family up from Omaha to visit me and take in the Fair.

Their E.T.A. was last Friday night, and like most Grandfathers, I wanted to spoil my granddaughter by showering her with gifts.

Show I went into the annex which adjoins the Creative Activities building, and marched the aisles looking for trinkets, worthy enough to signify a Grandfathers love.

After mucking through a bunch of gizmo's....Klecko eye-spied a woman who was selling hand made clothing that was created to cover the modesty of American Girl dolls.

I had just purchased one of these for my little Madison several months ago when we celebrated her 3rd birthday.

The display was ominous, the options were daunting......and the booth attendant, a woman who I would guess was on the back 1/2 of her 60's just glared at me.

First I got the Easter Bunny outfit. 

Next I got the progressive dance attire.

Then there was the pink studded hip-hop hoodie, and a pair of shoes that would surely raise the street cred of my granddaughters imaginary friend.

So now I set the pile down on the booth attendants card table right?

And she is giving me a weird look.

Not a look that says....

"It's day 8 of 12 and I am burnt out."

And it wasn't the look of a proprietor who was speculating whether or not this tattooed lout was ripping her off. was a completely different look.

On day 8 of the Fair, the only faces I recognize are those of people that either sleep with me, feed me....or sign my paycheck.

The booth attendant's face looked familiar, but my mind was far to slushy to contemplate whether I knew this woman or not.

So like I said....I piled up my wares, the woman adds the totals with a calculator. 

One eye was looking at the L.E.D. digits, but the other eye stayed on me.

"Your total is $52:48" she informed me "but just give me $50."

Then she stopped, paused, and then she just continued to stare at me as if she wasn't sure if she was going to place my newly purchased clothes in the plastic bag that ready to engulf it's inventory.

Now the woman's mouth was open, but her lips were pursed, much like a ventriloquist.

The woman paused several more 1/2 seconds...blinked her eyes....and then words were blurted from her mouth in a fashion that almost seemed involuntary. 

"Your total is $52:48, but you can just give me $50.........but I don't know why I'm doing this for you, when you wouldn't even give me a free recipe!"

And with that, the woman stuck the articles of clothing in the bag, and then her glance rocked the swivel and her eyes focused directly downward to the floor.

Like water rushing over the all came back to me.

This woman came to one of my shows on day #6 and stood at the perimeter of my kitchen and asked for the recipe of whoever was going to demo next.

But this was like 40 minutes before the show, and many of the guest only bring 30-50 copies of the recipe.

At the conclusion of most demo's....there simply are not enough recipes for everybody in attendance, and people walk away disappointed. 

But if I were to hand out a recipe to each person that asked for one prior to the show. This would create a riot.

Even though the shows are free, there is a self entitlement at the Fair, and if you don't regulate your success....mutiny will bounce like chimps on a trampoline.

So there I stood, time to go home, granddaughter gift in hand...and this woman has just taken every ounce of joy out of what was intended to be a moment of celebration.

But after the woman blurted out her the guy who starred in the Old Man and the Sea.....she immediately tried to reel her comment back in.....

"I am very sorry, that was uncalled for. I am sure you are not allowed to give recipes to every person that asks. I am sorry, I shouldn't have said anything. It isn't a big deal." 

Then the woman just continued staring at the floor.

If my cold reading was somewhat correct, I would deduce that 1/2 of her was level 10 embarrassed that she had lost control of her tongue, but what do the scriptures say???? The eyes are the windows to the soul.

This woman was still more than pissed that she didn't get that recipe.

She was upset not just because I denied her, but maybe because I had done so with such little effort.

It has always been my point that every conflict has a component of resolution.

To plug reconciliation in isn't that tough, but lining up peoples perception....well that's a different story.

At this point, the last thing I cared about was who was right and who was wrong.....

I just realized that this decent woman, who I'm guessing has a pretty good soul still had 1/3 of the Fair left to go, and she was trying to survive this marathon with a wound that my actions had inflicted.......

The first thing I thought about was trying to remember whose recipe she had requested, but then....the angels of Warsaw whispered in my ear.......

"Hey you dumb Pollack, didn't you just bake a Ginormous Pineapple Rum Bundt Cake? Go fetch it and lay it at the feet of this woman and beg her forgiveness."

Now the old Klecko, would have let this entire episode pass.

The old Klecko might have justified his actions by excusing his brashness with legalistic jargon.    

But the tribal leader Klecko is lucky enough to have gained wisdom.

I had the power to resolve this conflict.

Most of us do.

So now I run back to the fish bowl, open my fridge, grab the Bundt (and it was still warm) and circle back to the woman's booth.....

I was only gone 90 seconds...but now she was gone.

Another woman sat in her place, and she looked at me with curiosity.

When I asked where the other woman went.....she said she needed to get away for a bit.

It was time for me to go, but I really wanted to patch this situation up a.s.a.p.

Time kills deals, so I just stood there like a stooge.

Tick-Tock......Tick-Tock, time passed.....but eventually I saw the woman down on the other end of the annex, and while she returned to her booth, she saw how stupid I looked standing there with a 500 pound Bundt in my hands, and she smiled.

When she stepped back into her area......and I usually don't like to touch people, or be touched....but I hugged her and told her that I was sorry for bringing sadness to her, and I wanted her to have this wonderful cake.

The woman "Aw Shucks" smiled, while her booth mate took our picture, and as my former foe now accepted my token she looked me in the eyes and asked....

"Do you want me to bring back the platter?"

I said "Nope."

But she did anyways.


  1. I can testify that this actually happened exactly as Klecko describes, while I was standing nearby. It make me wonder, could Klecko be telling the truth about EVERYTHING?

    1. Mike....I promise you, 1/2 is true....and 1/2 are far fetched lies!!!! LOL