Saturday, October 3, 2009


It's Saturday night at my mom's, and you know what that means. Time for the Big Joe Polka Show.

These polka dudes put down some righteous accordian, but their lead vocalists are uber-shaky. Even so, this has been what I call a perfect October day. The drive out to western Kansas was gorgeous. The weather was gorgeous.And the moon was gorgeous as it rose, almost perfectly round. It will be full tomorrow night.

We left Kansas City early, before sunrise. The Kansas City skyline was stark and black against the eastern sky, which was just starting to lighten. The western sky was heavy with dark clouds. We drove towards them, passed underneath them, and then broke free of them. As we continued west, we left the clouds behind. The light in central Kansas was brilliant.

Passed by a new-looking billboard in Junction City that said: JC Naz. It was advertising a Nazarene church. Maybe marketing the church to the hip-hop crowd?

We passed by the massive wind farm west of Salina. It seems to go on for miles and miles. Every windmill I saw was spinning.

Leaving before the crack of dawn is the only way to road trip. In the early morning, I-70 was deserted and felt like a ribbon of air. The car seemed weightless. By noon we were in Hays. The drive felt like nothing.

When we stopped briefly in Wakeeney, Annabelle got confused and called it Wahawka.

This afternoon, I spent more than two hours raking up pine straw that had blown crazy all over mom's yard during yesterday's wind. But I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it, because the sky was blue and cloudless, and the air was October-licious. For supper we had dumpling soup, and now it's dark and cold, so we get to sit around and watch mom's cable TV. Which at the moment is transmitting the Big Joe Polka Show.

Who names some of these polkas? They just had the "cheese and cracker polka", and now they're doing a cherry pie polka. Guess it's no secret that polka dancers like to eat. Inexplicably, Big Joe is still around and still hosts this show. And he's bigger than ever! How does he do it? I think this show goes back to the 80's, when I was coming home from college. I thought he was doughy and unbaked then. Now he's even pastier, and his girth settles around him like a vast mountain range. He's a bear with the mike, but he doesn't move around very much.

They still play the same theme song from back then: "Yo ho ho...they call him Jolly Joe...Yo ho ho...everywhere he goes...."

They had their Oktoberfest in Ransom today, and tonight they're having a street dance! I maybe should go check it out, but I probably should stay here and sit around some more. The band playing at the street dance is called Trip Wire. I don't think that's a polka band.

1 comment:

  1. i envy your october trek to westrn kansas. you used the word "gorgeous" at least three times, and how else can you describe the perfect october day? thanks for posting...i'm hungry for dumpling soup!