Saturday, October 21, 2006

Roll Out the Barrel...

Talk about a walk down memory lane.

In Chicagoland, back in my salad days - say late 70's - you couldn't have a wedding without at least one polka dance. Italian, Anglo, whatever, it didn't matter what *kind* of wedding it was. No wedding band got work unless they had a good BIG repertoire of Polish polka numbers. Rumor had it there were more Poles in Chicago than in Warsaw, so this made sense. See, even if it weren't a Polish wedding, surely some of the guests were. Besides, it had become a sort of local tradition.

I don't know any proper dances, myself, polka included. All I remember of polka-ing was sort of skipping around with your partner, quite vigorously, knees kicking high, and bending your clasped hands down almost to the floor from time to time. That usually did the trick, if you Didn't Know How.

It was very...enthusiastic sort of dancing, very high-energy. There's something inherently silly about the music, too, in a sweet way - even to the jaded post-adolescents we were at the time. We could laugh at it all we wanted, but still, it was hard to get sneeringly mean. Perhaps it was all that jumping around and getting sweaty with your partner that kept us willing to head on out to the dance floor for the polka number at any wedding.

So I sort of grew up thinking that including a polka or two was how all wedding receptions were Done.

Blogmama Little Miss Attila and the Attila Hub - the Hub is my friend of many years' standing, from working together in Chicagoland - got married out in California. The Hub, now, he's Irish to a *t,* and I think of LMA as more or less English American.

I couldn't go to the wedding, being a recluse and all. Afterwards, talking to the Hub about the event, I asked if they had a nice polka. Just sort of an offhand comment, really, expecting no answer other than *yes.* Imagine my surprise when he said *no*!!! - No, but they did have an Irish chain dance though. ?!?

But -- but -- but -- !!!

I mean, okay, that's good, but what does an Irish dance have to do with anything? That wasn't the question. I'm trying to make sure they had a proper wedding and everything went as it should.

When I hung up the phone I was still in a state of shock. Where I remain to this day.

So you see, I can relate to Desert Cat's feelings about this polka thing.


Jean said...

heheh... see my comment to Desert Cat!

John P. McCann said...

My brother, on the other hand, married a Pole.

There were so many polkas at his wedding that, 30 years later, I'm still absorbing them.

k said...


See, I didn't know that. Such a surfeit of wedding reception polkas, there was probably an overrun type effect when you had yours.

Okay. I feel MUCH better!