Monday, September 6, 2010

Canned Beef and Jesus

Labor Day weekend and finally, everybody can put away those damn white capris. My goal was to stay away from home as much as possible. I needed distraction and where better to find that then Dickeyville, Wisconsin. Cowboy Dave and I cross the state line and enter Green Bay Packer land. Not a fan of that particular cult but Wisconsin has beautiful rolling hills and excellent cheese and sausage shops. I will be spending the day with old ladies with pink, permed hair and old men in suspenders and John Deere caps.

We are headed for a church picnic because that is what we do on summer holidays in Iowa. We will be treated to fried chicken prepared by fine Catholic women, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a variety of German vinegar and mayo-based salads. There will be nothing served with any amount of nutritional value but it will be greasy and salty and tasty. We no longer work like farmers but we sure eat like them.
As soon as someone removed one of these dessert plates there were children waiting to fill the spot with another piece of pie. Catholic churches do a great job with crowd control and I think every citizen in town was in that gymnasium-turned-dining-room doling out coffee or picking up dirty plates. You couldn't find this kind of service in New York's finest eatery.

Outside I stroll through the grottoes, a truly interesting art form here in the middle of farms and silos. Father Matthias Wernerus was pastor in this parish eighty-plus years ago and he built the grottos from 1925 - 1930. He had collected materials from all over the world such as colored glass, gems, antique heirlooms of pottery or porcelain, stalagmites and stalactites, sea shells of all kinds, starfish, petrified sea urchins and fossils, and a variety of corals plus amber glass, agate, quartz, ores such as iron, copper and lead, fool's gold, rock crystals, onyx, amethyst and coal. Many items are antiques and even petrified wood and moss. Even the round balls which used to be found on the top of a stick shift in old cars. Evidently, there was a lack of sinners in this hardworking, German farming community because Father had a lot of time on his hands. His grotto was his blog: all kinds of clues to his personality, talent and spirit sticking out of the mortar for all of us to discover. Okay, it is kind of crazy, but in the middle of Wisconsin crazy may have to pass for art.

I enter the Grotto gift shop and this has to be the largest collection of Catholic paraphernalia I have ever encountered. Kind of scary for me, I have my issues with the Catholic church and I feel like a spy in a foreign country. Oh, I must buy something, I must. I choose a saints bracelet. Jason had brought one back from Peru but would not part with it, even for his mother, actually, I never asked. It has little pictures of saints and it's shiny and colorful and it has purple beads and it was $2.25 plus tax. Interesting part was I knew all the names of the saints. Sister Aloysius would be proud.
And then I descend into the church basement for the garage sale, all clothes $1.00. Don't need to even go in that room. Where else can you get a jar full of marbles, a Marilyn Monroe bust and canned beef for $12 a quart but in a church basement in Wisconsin?

Back across the bridge and I decide to take in George Clooney's new flick and then a trip to Wal-mart. That will involve a large amount of time away from home as our Wal-mart has decided to rearrange all their stuff. What demon CEO thought this would accomplish, I do not know. A great deal of my brain's memory storage had been dedicated to where things are located in Wal-mart. I took pride in this knowledge. I have a specific list and as I roll into the checkout lane and the clerk says, "Did you find everything you want?" I say, yes, believe it or not.


MrDaveyGie said...

Wall Mart now sucks for finding anything. There was never a logical store lay out in the first place. I can buy men's underwear in 3 different places. Imagine that? Now it is worse. I actually rehearsed a canned statement to try to explain it to the cashier when I was asked "did you find everything ok?" But I was NEVER asked.

dawn marie giegerich said...

And what was that canned statement?