Round One. The German Fest
The German Fest this year was an abomination! We plan on NEVER returning to the Zem Zem Shriner grounds for such a farce. Okay, some things have changed in the past handful of years to finally pull all the straws from my fist. First, the Fest moved from a lush wooded park on the edge of town to a grass knoll usually reserved for additional parking on the way to the Mall for cat shows and Shriner balls. Secondly, I gave birth to the two most beautiful children on the planet and have since changed my lifestyle a bit. Meaning, I don't like to go out and get blasted all day at Germanfest or anywhere. Thirdly, when a group of us took it upon ourselves to shield the other patrons from our fowl mouths and wrongly viewed as subversive lifestyles, we were told we couldn't sit outside of the ropes in the adjoining mini-pasture. Leave it to the Germans to get bossy about off-the-cuff-spur-of-the-moment rules.
And, finally, I almost got in a fist fight this year. We pulled up in the Grand Marquis about 5pm on Sunday, the final day of the Fest. We were looking forward to some tunes from the Mad Bavarian and some spatzle. After tugging the girls' wagon through the main tent toward the teeny tiny exit heading towards the petting zoo, I encountered a jackass.
He stood in the doorway, "Blah, blah, blah! Ha! HA! I'm the boss. And, my wife thinks I'm hilarious. And, I should just stand here and talk really loud and ignore the world around me 'cos I am such a dude."
I let that go on for about two minutes, because I've heard it said patience is a virtue and virtue is a grace and they all go together to make a pretty face. And, god knows, the most important thing to me is being pretty. I, finally, piped up with an, "Excuse us, please." Nothing. No response. No acknowledgment.
"Did I mention my fat, sweaty ass is FUN-NEEEEE?!?!? Did I tell you my wife who looks completely beaten down and drained of all life thinks I'm the shit?"
Again, a little louder this time, I said, "Excuse me."
Well, don'tchya know! Thems is fightin' words. The fucking asshole turns to me with my wagonful of little girls by my side and says, "Ohhhhhh, well. Sorrrrrrr-reeee, sweetie! Let me just get right out of your way, honey! There you go swwwwww-eeeeee-teeee."
By the last remark, I had walked past. Before I knew what I was saying, I turned on my heels, walked toward the gentleman, and inquired, "Excuse me, sweetie?" And, after hiccup of silence, "Yeah."
My husband later told me he was five seconds away from clocking the Teva wearing douche bag in the chops. That's assuming he had chops. Which means I was less than a minute from punching him in his knotty red face, because Matt is far more patient than me. Nice. Really nice. Picking a fight with a nice lady in her Eich bin ein Berliner t-shirt, in front of her toddler twins on a sunny Sunday afternoon at a family festival all because you can't hold your booze.
After that feather ruffling, we went to see the chickens, pigs, goats, geese, ponies, llamas, etc. at the petting zoo. Of course, I wasn't too thrilled about the girls petting any of these animals since hoof and mouth disease can be transmitted from herd to human. Who knows what conditions these four-legging petting slaves have to tolerate at "home"! And, although my bacon loving self is far from being a PETA member, twelve animals locked in a pen the size of an electric oven didn't sit well. Also, I was aching to see if someone could douse the panting calf with a bucket of water.
Next, we moved on to the inflatable jumpie castle. While watching our friends' son Marsden jump around, I had a vision of tiny soldiers crawling and limping out in cast and on crutch. I saw black eyes and swollen lips. What happens when you take a physique with a feather light torso, noodle limbs, and a head constituting seventy-five percent of all body mass and let it haphazardly fling around with about twenty-five other similar physiques in an inflated netted room? Mayhem. No, I don't think my daughters should be wrapped in bubble wrap. But, c'mon. Then, suddenly, the castle started to deflate with about fifteen children trapped in its bowels. It's like it read my mind. We moved on.
Only two things left, spatzle and the Mad Bavarian. I bought an ox roast sandwich and a plate of the worst looking spatzle ever. Disappointment. The girls wanted nothing to do with the sauerkraut and sugar sweetened noodles. The ox roast? A bite.
Okay-okay, the Mad Bavarian. Well, the speakers were so goddamned loud that standing on the wooden dance floor caused twitching and bleeding from the ears. No place for tender still forming neuro-pathways. At this point I did see an old friend, Mr. Shadle. He had his lederhosen on, of course. And, had danced the afternoon away. His tiny little self was all sweaty, but I kissed his cheek anyway.
"Let's get the fuck outta here," my husband and I spit out as a chorus.
It isn't that I don't enjoy myself anywhere. It's just that people go places, and those are usually the places I like to avoid. So, maybe next year, we'll just have a little German Fest in our backyard. Like the MDA backyard carnivals I remember seeing in my youth. So, I won't burn my JFK quote in iron-on silver disco letters shirt yet. YET!
Round two: The Irish Fest
This weekend we went to the tail end of the Irish Fest. I'm mostly an Irish cake with delicious piping of German and Scottish icing rosettes. So, when someone makes a comment that I am negative, alienating, and critical, I say its in my DNA. And, no matter how hard I try to gold leaf all the shit inside of me, it still smells like poop in the end.
Anyway, the fest was just coming to an end. We weren't able to buy any potato soup (mmm-mmm-mmm) or corned beef sandwiches. But, we were able to buy a bag of corned beef for my husband's meat fist lunches. I did drink a Guinness, and liken it more to a frothy coffee treat than a beer. The little girl step dancers were there with the one older boy dancer, Cody. Our girls were entertained. Mom and Dad? Entertained as well. Yes, I may end up signing the girls up for dance classes next year. And, swimming lessons. Two little buoyant Jescoe Whites in our family! Hell, I had to tap for years and I was a certified life guard. I expect the same from the girls. It is natural, though. Sometimes, I think they've got a hot shoe the way they stomp, twirl, jump and rock around the living room. And, they already try to float on their backs in the tub.
I don't really buy into the kelly green shamrock bull crap. But, it was nice to be reminded of the Aran sweaters my great Aunt Mama Jim used to be able to pump out in a weekend. Instead of shopping, I had more fun watching all the aging Irish with hooked back and cataracted blue eyes shuffle around saying, "Huh??!?!" to everything. It's like a Christmas in the late seventies at my Aunt Betty's house-- with close to twenty people crammed around the table.
All in all, a much better experience than German Fest. I told my husband, I think the Irish have a bad wrap. They like to have fun, but when you fuck with their fun... Jesus Mary and Joseph up on the Cross, WATCH OUT! 'Cos, unfortunately, I think the Irish perceive most other people as fucking with their good time.
- Melissa Sullivan