Leslie Keiling is the traffic reporter on the Steve Cochran show and the John Williams show every weekday afternoon on WGN-Radio. Before landing at WGN, Leslie and I worked together twice; on Steve & Garry's show at WLUP AM 1000, and on The John Landecker Show on WJMK. In addition to Steve & Garry and Landecker, Leslie has worked with just about every major radio star in Chicago over the past...ahem...twenty years.
She also happens to be a very gifted (and funny) writer. She was kind enough to contribute this piece about her mother to the blog. I'm sure many of you will be able to relate...
by Leslie Keiling
I can't believe it's been almost three years since my mom Helen moved in with my husband Tim, daughter Allyson and me. It was a long time coming--what with her vision problems, heart problems, hearing loss, hip replacement, scoliosis. Ok, you get the picture. Funny, the minute you start talking about the issues of the elderly, you can almost smell the mustiness, with just a faint touch of medicine chest and Tegrin for character. There is certainly nothing glamorous about shower chairs and pill cutters, pressure sores and ingrown hairs. Some might even find these topics a little nauseating. Go figure.
In response, Tim, Ally and I have learned not to focus too hard on the down and dirty day-to-day stuff. What happens in Grandma's bathroom, stays in Grandma's bathroom. That is, unless she decides to bring it up at dinner. To help avoid this, we've learned to steer mealtime conversations away from gateway topics like "skin," "digestion," or "legumes." You learn to adjust. You take the good with the bad, and you work around it.
However, there is one aspect of my mother's care that has affected the fabric of this family down to the finest fiber of it's being; and that's a little thing we refer to as "Grandma's Entertainment."
To call my mom's eyesight poor would be an understatement. Macular degeneration has left her with nothing more than a hint of peripheral vision, so that things like watching TV and reading books the old-fashioned way are out of the question. But necessity being the mother of invention and all, we didn't give up. And just by chance we happened upon a little miracle. While most TV is too difficult for Helen to follow--sounds and pictures swirling in a busy blur--things are somehow entirely different when we're talking about Chicago Cubs baseball.
For over 85 years, the woman has shared the dream of so many other unrequited lovers of those North Side boys of summer--a dream that still burns brightly deep within that congested little heart of hers. Based on my mom's fervent commitment and nearly crazed determination, not to mention plenty of trial and error on our part, we have found a way to keep the Cubs in her life.
The set up must be precise. Helen must be seated in a wingback chair with a small throw pillow centered on the back cushion. The chair must then be placed exactly three and a half feet from the 52-incher. As Helen is seated, a nearby radio tuner is then set to WGN. This is very important. Unfortunately, the play-by-play heard on the television is presented in an unacceptable sound range. However, the tonal blend of Pat Hughes and Ron Santo, along with the dancing shadows on a field of green, amazingly create the perfect confluence that brings the games into heavenly clarity for mom.
Did I mention that the sound has to be turned up loud? I mean really loud. Really, really loud. The kind of loud that makes the dog hide under the bed. It kind of hurts everyone's ears, but it's baseball. And it's only about 150 games per season. When you break it down, it's really not that much. There is still a lot of time in any given day, week or year when there is no baseball.
And this leads us to Helen's only other, yet much beloved, form of entertainment: Porno. Yep, porno, as in pornography. When there's no baseball, there's always porno. Oh, nothing so crass as films and photos. This is pornography wearing the disguise of contemporary literature, presented to the masses through "books on tape." God love books on tape. Mom's outlook on life did a 180 the day she realized that losing her sight didn't mean having to give up her books.
Many of the same titles she read over and over prior to her vision loss were still available to her on CD and cassette, read by fine actors and vocal artistes. The problem is that there is only one type of book--bound or recorded--that mom likes, and that is the Romance Novel. Specifically, a type of historical romance known to aficionados as "bodice rippers."
These stories, written by authors like Roberts, Lindsey and Garwood, are set in locations like the old west, English manors, and ships at sea, anywhere in time from the 1500's to the early 1900's. Yet, they all have one thing in common. Somewhere in the course of boy meeting girl, boy losing girl, and the ultimate promise of love everlasting, there are at a minimum, two or three hot, crazy, steamy explicit sexual encounters. And let me tell you, these folks don't hold back. We're talking pages of passages involving words like throbbing, taut, wet, lapping, riding, core, tumescence, and waves. Anyone care for a cigarette?
Now, we're all adults here. We've all read items of a mature nature. But generally speaking, these moments take place inside our heads. Even if your lips move when you read, subject matter like this stays inside your noggin. That is, unless you are enjoying the aforementioned passages as presented by books on tape. Imagine someone like Edward James Olmos sitting in your living room reading Penthouse Forum at the top of his lungs. Imagine Glenn Close belting out the closed captioning from any pornographic film you can think of. It's a whole lot of way-too-loud way-too-information served up by none other than my 91-year old mother.
Perhaps the oddest part of all is that Helen doesn't really seem to notice. She gets so blissfully lost in the book that it's hard for her to undertand how this might be perceived by those within earshot. Within earshot, by the way, includes anyone inside our house and anyone passing our house on a day when the windows are open.
You should have seen my neighbor's eyes bulge the day she was served up a heaping helping of bedroom gymnastics just because she chose the wrong time to head to the mailbox. Needless to say, we've spoken to Helen about the matter. I kindly explained that she might unwittingly be presenting inappropriate material to an unappreciative audience...or scarier still, an audience that enjoys it too much. I explained that broadcasting this sort of stuff can get you arrested, and that considering the volume involved, she's pretty close to achieving broadcast status. In theory she is in agreement. In everyday practice, however, she's not quite so clear. I remind her regularly, but can't bring myself to harp or browbeat.
Headphones? We've tried them, but even the lightest pair "squeeze my head like a vice," she says.
Not so long ago, my daughter brought over her boyfriend. As we spoke in the kitchen, a pair of characters in one of mom's books began an intimate interlude...a loud intimate interlude. As I dashed to the other room to intervene, Ally yelled out what has become her regular response to these occasions; "You know, I'm probably going to need therapy because of this."
Maybe. Or maybe she'll just look back and laugh.
That's Leslie in the middle of the guys from the John Landecker Morning Show. We used to recreate some of the scenes from her mother's romance novels on the air as a regular bit...until the program director told us to stop.
Leslie was there in the Dominican Republic as Bridget and I renewed our vows on our tenth anniversary in 2001. We did it live on the air. That's John Landecker on the left, and if you look closely, you can see my two oldest boys Tommy and Johnny too. They were crawling all over us during the ceremony. (Sean was born the next year.)
If you want to read any of my previous guest bloggers, click here: http://rickkaempferguestbloggers.blogspot.com
Coming next week...A very funny guy who was recently named as one of the "40 under 40 Attorneys To Watch" by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Shawn Wood. He's written a funny piece about lawyers in the movies.
Musings, observations, and written works from the publisher of Eckhartz Press, the media critic for the Illinois Entertainer, co-host of Minutia Men, Minutia Men Celebrity Interview and Free Kicks, and the author of "Back in the D.D.R", "EveryCubEver", "The Living Wills", "$everance," "Father Knows Nothing," "The Radio Producer's Handbook," "Records Truly Is My Middle Name", and "Gruen Weiss Vor".
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
From The Archives: Johnny B
I wrote the following article for a magazine called "Chicago Airwaves" in 1993 to coincide with Jonathon Brandmeier's 10th anniversary on the air in Chicago. This was just after he moved to the afternoon slot on WLUP.
He has bounced around the dial a bit since then, doing different timeslots (mornings, afternoons, middays) at different stations (WLUP, WCKG, and two stations in Los Angeles), but last October he returned to the radio station and timeslot that made him famous: Mornings on the Loop. According to Robert Feder's column in the Chicago Sun Times, for the month of January, Brandmeier was back to #1.
My latest article about his return (and Howard Stern's departure) is coming out next week in Shore Magazine (www.visitshoremagazine.com) and I will feature it here on the blog in the next few weeks.
Until it comes out, please enjoy this trip back in time...
COVER STORY: APRIL ’93--CHICAGO AIRWAVES MAGAZINE
Jonathon Brandmeier: Celebrating Ten Years of Mayhem
I had a childhood friend named Nick. Nick was the ringleader. He got all of us to do things that we never would have done in a million years. It was a genetic talent. Occasionally we would tire of Nick always being in charge, and one of us would try to take control. It was never the same. We would always return the reigns to Nick. No one was more comfortable being the center of attention. Even our mothers loved him. He was a dangerous mix of charisma, charm, and absolute fearlessness. Without him, our childhood would have been boring.
Multiply Nick by a hundred, and you get Johnny B.
It’s hard to remember Chicago radio without Johnny. Ten years ago he came to Chicago amid much fanfare, and was anything but an overnight sensation. Most of us have vague memories of him storming through those TV spots as Mr. T. We didn’t know what to make of him at first. Despite comparisons to Steve Dahl, his show was really much different. Steve was more of the classroom smart-aleck. Johnny B was the ringleader. The ringleader can be annoying to anyone outside of his gang, but once you get in the gang, you’ll walk over hot coals for him. It didn’t take long before Johnny’s genetic talents brought just about everyone into his gang. Without him, the last ten years would have been boring. It’s been quite a ride.
In radio, success is measured by cold hard statistics. Johnny has been a success by those standards. His ratings in the morning were astronomical, particularly in the most desirable 25-54 year old demographics. His ratings in the afternoon, while not quite at the same level, are still very respectable. Listening to his morning show had become a habit, and not everyone has gotten adjusted to switching him on in the afternoon (on a different station, no less, AM 1000).
Of course, his “troops” aren’t just casual listeners. They’re fanatical. Johnny has ridden the wave from success to success. His band, the Leisure Suits, has set attendance records at places like Poplar Creek Music Theatre, Alpine Valley, and the UIC Pavillion. So, you couldn’t get tickets to the sold out show? Fine, buy Chicago’s top selling video from ’89. You could have picked it up at 7-11. Don’t have a VCR? Fine, buy one of his tapes or CDs. He released one in 1984 that was Chicago’s top selling album. The one he released during Christmastime in 1986 outsold Springsteen’s live boxed set in Chicago. Just don’t feel like leaving the house? Fine, tune in his NBC television show. OK, so that wasn’t exactly Emmy material. He still leads the league in successful side gigs.
Yet, the main thing is still the radio show. Johnny is funny, Buzz Kilman (his newsman/bluesman/sidekick) is great, and just about every celebrity on the planet calls in; but the real stars of the show are the listeners. They call in and tell him what’s going on in town. They send him letters with bit ideas. They send him songs or “wacky weenies” promoting the show. Johnny simply takes it and runs with it. Before they know it, they’re wearing underwear on their head in a busy intersection, or they’re blowing up their speakers at his request. It’s just good clean fun.
Just ask Kevin Krause of Palatine. A few weeks ago the entire show took place at his house. When it was all said and done, the neighborhood had done the show for Johnny. Kevin, a budding meteorologist, did the weather (Johnny blew in a call to Tom Skilling and had him critique the performance—he asked Kevin to apply for an internship). Kevin’s friends were the live house band. Johnny sang along with them a few times, but they provided the music. The Mayor of Palatine, Rita Mullins, stopped by. Before she left, Johnny had her singing “I am Woman.” No matter what was happening, if the doorbell rang, Johnny would stop the proceedings and get the door. The show had the feel of a family gathering. Johnny had charmed Palatine, and made each and every one of them a star for the day.
It’s to his credit that he is just as comfortable at somebody’s house as he is doing an extravaganza. On April 1 he celebrated his tenth anniversary in Chicago. On April 2nd, the Chicago Theatre was filled to the rafters with his fans for Johnny’s Blowout Bash. Johnny knows how to throw a party. The celebrities were there in force to put on a show, but Johnny made sure that some of the people who made him what he is today were there too. Some of his favorite “Wacky Weenie” contributors got to perform their songs live. His fans were so devoted that some of the weeny ovations were as loud as the ovations received by the Bodeans during their live set on the show.
So now that the ten year celebration has taken place, what’s next for Johnny B? One of the main reasons he switched over to afternoons in the first place, was so that he could syndicate his show to other markets. The competition in the afternoon isn’t nearly as fierce, and very few cities have a show of Brandmeier’s caliber in that timeslot. When he first announced the change he told us; “I’d like to be on the air and rolling by April 1, 1993. I’m doing the show anyway, so what’s the difference? All we’ve got to do is turn it on somewhere. It’s not like my show is going to change. They’re going to take the show as it comes or they don’t take the show at all. I think that’s what Stern’s done very well…take it or don’t take it.”
I guess they’ll find out that “We’re all crazy in Chicago.”
We’re actually not that crazy. We just have a fun ringleader. Thanks for the ride, Johnny.
Rick’s Note: A few months after this article was published, Steve Dahl & Garry Meier’s fourteen year partnership fell apart, and the Loop was suddenly without a morning show again. After trying Kevin Matthews in that slot for awhile, the Loop eventually turned to Johnny B again. His ratings were huge again, but not long after that, the Loop was sold. The new company didn’t want to pay such a big salary, and Brandmeier became the midday host at WCKG in Chicago (hosting the show from his new home in Los Angeles—the only other major market he was ever able to syndicate his show). His stays at other stations, other markets, and other dayparts never came close to matching the success he had as the morning host of the Loop.
Celebrity Corner: The Academy Awards
This Sunday on the blog, in honor of the Academy Awards, I'll be reliving some of the memories I have of the twenty or so Oscar Nominees I've had the pleasure of meeting over the years. Among those I'll be writing about: Tom Hanks, Karl Malden, Tony Curtis, Charlton Heston, Julie Andrews, George Kennedy, Mel Brooks, Elliot Gould, Ann Margret, Linda Blair, John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Mary Tyler Moore, Harrison Ford, Albert Brooks, Adam Schlesinger (who is he? you'll find out), Stephen Rea, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Michael Douglas, and Bill Murray.
If you have any stories about your brushes with Oscar nominees, please send them in and I'll include your stories too.
If you've missed previous "From The Archives," click here... http://rickkaempferarchives.blogspot.com
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Suburban Man: Dog Day Afternoons
“Dog Day Afternoons”
By Rick Kaempfer
When I tell people that I have three little boys, they say: “That must be a zoo.” And while it does seem to be a little zoo-like at times, I think I have a more appropriate analogy. It’s really more like a kennel.
Let me explain.
Like dogs, boys can be man's best friend. One-on-one they are lovable, playful, and accommodating. They come when you call for them and they follow commands pretty well. As long you show them attention, play with them a little bit, throw the ball around with them in the yard so they get some exercise, and feed them regularly, you couldn’t ask for a more loyal companion. When you have one boy, he can pretty much roam the house at will. Mi Casa, Su Casa, son.
Now add one more boy to the house and see what happens. At first they sort of sniff each other out (with boys, sometimes this can be literal) and get a lay of the land. If you watch them closely, and I mean very closely, you can keep the situation under control. They may nip at each other a bit, they may growl or bark, but for the most part if you closely supervise both of them, you’ll be fine.
Add a third boy to the mix and you might as well call animal control. Supervision is no longer possible. At best, you hope to contain potential destruction. Prepare yourself for this. You’ll need to be in shape, you’ll need to think fast, and you’ll need to have some sort of snack in your pocket at all times.
These pack animals (boys) have a system. A favorite trick is to go in three different directions at once, to throw you off their tracks. You'll have to make danger assessments on the spot. Where are they headed? Who can cause the most damage? The best you can do is follow the most dangerous one, and keep an eye on him, but don't forget to keep an ear out for the other two. No matter where they were heading, now that you’ve chosen to follow the dangerous one, the other two are regrouping somewhere.
This inevitably leads to the fight to see which one is the dominant male. This won't be quiet. You'll have no choice; you have to leave the dangerous one to break up the fight. They have sharp teeth and can do major damage if they aren't seperated immediately.
While you break it up, however, the dangerous one will get loose and begin hunting for danger. He’s got the nose for it, and he’ll find it. Is that a knife? Sniff, sniff. Is that an electrical socket? Sniff, sniff. What will happen if I put this razor in my mouth? Crunch. I bet this Drano will taste excellent in a sippy cup. Oooh, the stove. Let me just turn this knob here...
You can't worry about that at the moment because you've got a fight to break up. Herd the growling combatants into separate corners and take them on one at a time. Don't forget to keep your cool. Time is ticking--the dangerous one is loose and unsupervised.
The fighters can be returned to that perfect companion pretty quickly with a little positive reinforcement. Simply remain calm, show them attention, and ignore the strange noises coming from the kitchen while you get boy number one calmed down. Sometimes a hug works, but I’ve discovered that a playful belly rub, or a “whose my good boy” works better. (They also like it if you rub them behind the ears) If not, don’t forget about the snack in your pocket. This is a good time to pull it out.
OK, don’t fear. That wasn’t coming from the dangerous boy in the kitchen. That noise came from the corner you’ve just herded boy number two. Of course you have to check it out, but do not leave boy number one without taking proper precautions. Point at him, and in a strong, firm voice, say “Stay!”
Then say it again...twice. Here’s a little tip that I’ve learned from years of experience: Always turn around on your way out of the room at least one more time to let them know you mean business. Say it with authority.
Good. Now, boy two. Take a deep breath before you go talk to him. Keep in mind that whatever he has done has been done to get you away from boy number one. If you make a big deal out of it, you encourage future destruction. Did you really need that vase? My guess is that you didn't. So, don't worry about it too much. Time is ticking. Move boy two as far away from the shards of glass as possible--and let him firmly know you don't approve, but then show some love. I usually go right for the snack. The bigger the snack, the more time you’ve bought for yourself.
Before you can save boy number three from the most dangerous thing in your house (himself), you’ll need to look back in the hallway at boy number one, who by now is slowly slinking out of his corner. One more firm “Stay!” should buy you enough time to make it into the kitchen. Boy number three will have likely caused quite a bit of damage by this time, so you have to take immediate action. I recommend picking him up and sticking his nose right into the mess. It’s the only way he’ll learn.
NO DRANO! (nose right up to the bottle) NO! HOT! NO STOVE! (nose right up to the switch) NO! NO ELECTRIC SOCKET! OUCHIE! (nose right up to the socket) NO! SHARP! OUCHIE! (nose right up to the knife) NO RAZOR! OUCHIE! NO! WHAT’S THAT IN YOUR MOUTH? SPIT IT OUT. (put hand right into his mouth, pull out razor, stick it up to his nose) NO!
This boy needs to seperated from the pack and returned to his kennel...er..um... I mean bedroom. Don’t forget to toss a snack to each of the other boys on your way to the third boy's bedroom—and give them one more firm “Stay.”
If you've got earplugs, put 'em in. Boy number three will cry and whine and scratch at the door while he’s kept in his room, but at least he’ll know why he’s in trouble, and he won't be around while you're sweeping up the mess of boy two.
That's what happens before mealtime. When they start smelling what you're making in the kitchen they will usually come begging. They'll pant as they pepper you with questions...
"What are you making Dad?"
"When is dinner Dad?"
"Is that my plate?"
"Is it done yet?"
"Is it done yet?"
"Is it done yet?"
"Is it done yet?"
This is usually when you snap and scream: "SIT!"
Like I said, it's like a kennel.
The scenario I’ve described above is what happens in my house every day between 4:00—6:30 p.m. or so. After the two older boys come home from school and before my wife comes home from work, it’s complete bedlam. And this is within the completely controlled confines of our home. What do you think happens when we have to do something in public?
Let’s just say that I no longer judge parents who buy those leashes. They make sense on so many different levels.
If you missed any Suburban Man columns, they can be found here: http://suburbanmanarchive.blogspot.com
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Growing up German in Chicago
By Rick Kaempfer
Many Chicagoans are mourning the loss of our landmark German restaurant The Berghoff, which is closing its doors for good on February 28th. For those of us who were brought up in the German community in Chicago, this loss is felt on a much deeper level. Coming on the heels of the closing of “Zum Deutschen Eck,” “Hans Bavarian Lodge,” “Schulien’s,” “Metro Club,” “The Heidelberger Fass,” “The Golden Ox,” and others, a little bit of our history is dying along with it. This is a town that was built on the backs of its German immigrants.
The last wave of German immigrants arrived in Chicago after the war in the late 40s, through the end of the 50s. I was born in 1963. People my age and slightly younger were the last generation of Germans in Chicago to be brought up by off-the-boat German immigrants. I don’t mean to make that sound as if we were brought up by wolves or something (more like Wolfgang’s), but it is a rather unique experience that is difficult to understand if you haven’t experienced it personally.
On the surface Germans seem to be a relatively humorless and harsh people; reticent to show emotion. This is a shameful stereotype. If you had entered any of our German homes using traditional old-school German techniques, you would have seen happy bouncing children playing a game called “Hoppe Hoppe Reiter.” This is a cute game that recreates the thrill of riding a horse. A parent bounces the child on his or her knee while reciting a little German children’s poem. It doesn’t rhyme in English, but you can get the idea of its playfulness from the translation.
Bouncing, bouncing rider,
When you fall you scream,
Fall in a ditch,
You’ll get pecked (or eaten) by crows,
Fall in a swamp,
And you’ll....uh, oh, you’re falling now!
(Parent pretends to make child fall)
This is German learning. The lesson is clear: if you fall off your horse, something terrible will happen to you. It’s much more effective than saying: “Be Careful, Wolfgang.”
It’s a perfect example of why I get so upset when people imply Germans don’t have any emotions. Nonsense. Are you telling me that “terror” isn’t an emotion? We have that instilled in us at a very early age.
Pick up a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales sometime. Would you like to read the story of the boy who doesn’t trim his fingernails and then pokes his eyes out by mistake? No? Maybe I can interest you in the story about the boy who keeps his nose in the air when he walks outside and doesn’t see he is about to walk into a lake. This is valuable learning we’re talking about here: German-learning. Ask me how often I let my fingernails get too long. Never. How many times have I walked into lake because I wasn’t watching where I was walking? Not once.
What if the end of our German community brings an end to such common sense advice? It’s something to consider as a German landmark like “The Berghoff” closes its doors.
Let me give you another example of what we may lose. My grandparents gave me a comic book called “Max und Moritz” when I was a very young boy. This particular issue was a heartwarming tale of two bad boys who snuck into a mill to play—-even though they were warned not to do it. You want a happy ending? There are no happy endings for boys who don’t behave. Max and Moritz were crushed to death and ground up into tiny little pieces. That’s a lesson that stays with you a very long time. I’ve never stepped foot in a mill.
I could go on and on because there are hundreds of tales like this, each dispensing practical advice and life skills. The stories I’ve mentioned here just happen to be the ones that haunt me in my sleep. There are many others I managed to overcome. The one thing that German stories all have in common, however, is a moral. It’s usually some variation of “do what we say or something horrible will happen to you,” but at least there’s a message there. A perfect example of this is the most famous German tale of all time, “Hansel & Gretel.”
To summarize briefly, a little boy (Hansel) and his little sister (Gretel) were left in the woods to starve to death by their kindly father and evil stepmother. Hansel, however, brings a piece of rye bread, and leaves crumbs so that he can find his way home. Alas, birds eat the crumbs and the boy and girl are hopelessly lost. Luckily, they come across a house made out of candy. Unluckily, it’s the home of a cannibal witch who takes them prisoner, fattens them up, and is preparing to cook them. The clever children push her into the fire and kill her before she can complete her plan. When they finally make their way home, they are delighted to discover that their evil stepmother is dead too.
The moral of this story? Um...I think the cannibal witch symbolizes the evil stepmother, which symbolizes the...um...
OK, so not every story has a moral. But this one has become extra special to me nonetheless, because my father actually re-created it for me when I was a boy. I was four years old at the time and my little sister was three. This was 1967, a time when most of these great German restaurants in Chicago were still thriving. Anyway, my sister and I must have been behaving very badly, because my dad said he was going to drive us out to the woods and leave us there like Hansel & Gretel. He gave each us a piece of rye bread (I’m not kidding about this, by the way), put us in the car, and off we went. I don’t remember much of the car ride except total terrified silence.
Moments later we arrived at a convenience store. Dad ran inside, picked up a pack of smokes, and then turned the car back toward home. It wasn’t until I saw him smile that I knew we were going to survive the night. In retrospect, I think I figured out his motive. He probably realized that the original “Hansel & Gretel” didn’t have a moral, so he created one: Act up again and you’ll get the real “Hansel & Gretel” treatment. That’s German ingenuity right there.
What if that kind of ingenuity is being shuttered along with the doors of The Berghoff? It’s the sort of thing that I can’t think about for too long, because I get pretty emotional. I don’t even want to think about what will happen to this gritty town if we suddenly get soft. Without German restaurants, we’re taking that chance.
I’m finding out the hard way where this trend can lead us. I have three sons of my own now, and since my wife isn’t German, we’re not bringing them up using traditional German methods. I’ve already paid a heavy price for that. My mother smuggled my middle son to an Oktoberfest against our wishes a few years ago. He was a plump German-looking boy, and she thought he would look cute in lederhosen. By the time I sniffed out what she had done, I was too late. I arrived at the German restaurant to see my 3-year-old sitting at a table with a bunch of old-school Germans.
He had the saddest look on his face. When I went to comfort him, he looked up at me and said; “Dad, I don’t want to be a jingle boy.”
See? It’s already starting.
Do you really want to live in a city where a little boy can’t feel comfortable in lederhosen?
Strange Request: I've been hired to write a story about dude ranches for a travel issue of a magazine. Have any of you ever been to one? Care to share your story with me? I'd love to include you in the article. Click on the green word "comments" just below here and the e-mail will go right to me. Thanks.
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