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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Well, Sure. I Know What it LOOKS Like...

As has been well documented by, well, me, I played in an Old Tyme Band (yes, the “y” is necessary, but no one knows why) in high school. The leader of the band, a 60-something-year-old man by the name of Aloysius, could play anything – anything – on the accordion and would gleefully shout the chord changes to us over his shoulder in a German accent.

Sure I know “Autumn Leaves”! Just shout the chord changes to me, Al!

There was an array of players, and the band could go from four to a dozen easily, dependent on how much the ballroom was willing to pay. We were a goofy lot. Sax, trumpet, and tuba players from the U of M drifted in and out, bringing coolers of beer and weed with them. We even had Eddie Berger, a jazz great in Minneapolis, join us for a bit, shortly after rehab.

In the summers, it was not unusual for us to play in parades. Dressed in black pants, white shirts, we played our little two-stepping hearts out, smiling and sweating past sidewalks lined with small-town America, babies on their fathers’ shoulders, children dashing into the streets and between the floats, snatching the wrapped candies thrown by the Shriners.

Can you see it? A polka band – accordion, clarinet, trumpet, and drums – in a parade.

On a float.

Behind the goats.

Nervous, pooping goats.

At least they weren’t elephants.

At some point, I believe I began to joke – as is my wont – about being stuck behind the business end of a herd of farm animals and continually having our float pulled through mounds of pellet-shaped goat droppings.

Aloysius beamed a sweaty, Teutonic smile at me from behind his accordion. “Ach,” he sputtered, “Das ist gut for you! Tink of dem as smart pills!”

Smart pills.

Even today, that makes me smile.

That load of crap in front of you? Looked at in the right light, it’s only going to make you smarter.

19 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

Too funny!

jenny_o said...

And if there's a chance you're going to be up close and personal with it, you're going to need sensible footwear.

Too bad we don't have a video of this. I think a polka band would make a nice change from a bunch of bagpipes, which is what we get around here.

Launna said...

Hahaha... It does sound like you had lots of fun in the parade though... animal poop aside :)

Delores said...

Isn't it amazing how many occasions in life demand black pants and a white shirt? (yes, that's what I took away from all this...sad isn't it?)

Jayne Martin said...

"Smart pills." Now that is hysterical.

Buttons said...

Aloysius was a wise man:) B

Mitchell is Moving said...

I cannot get the sound of a polka version of Autumn Leaves (on accordion of course) out of my head. Thanks!

My sister once told me those "goat pellets" were blueberries. She thought I'd pick one up and eat it, but fortunately there was no place to wash it off first. (I was 4; she was 7.)

Simply Suthern said...

If you aint the lead dog the view never changes.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Wise advice!
And yes, if you're playing polka, spelling has to reflect that. Tyme. Olde. Ye olde barrel of funne.

Lowandslow said...

So, was that your first experience with politics? ;)

S

Daisy said...

I must not be looking at things in the right light because most days I don't feel like I'm getting any smarter. :D

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Your band leader musta been a distant relative of my father. He used to say walking through horse manure was like tiptoeing through the tulips. (Never smelled like tulips to me!)

Fun post.

Rose L said...

Some of the shit that came at me in my life did teach me a lesson and thus made me smarter.

Pranavam Ravikumar a.k.a. Kochuravi said...

Good one! :-)

Daisy said...

Bring on the crap! uh...smart pills! I love the image, and the truth of the image.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I can just imagine being behind a herd of pooing goats, ok I can't imagine it but I am sure it would be smelly..........

River said...

I'm thinking the only "smart" in a load of crap would be to avoid it. Polka...my dad used to like Polka music,I remember hearing it from the record player way back before I was five.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

"Nervous, pooping goats."

Made my day, of course.

Diane Tolley said...

I seem to be stepping in it a lot. Why aren't I smarter?