"[History is] a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Carl Goes Dancing

In another reflection, Carl Christensen recalls how the Northwoods community would get together to organize dances and activities in the shoulder season. Read on for his tongue-in-cheek description of classic northern Wisconsin fun...

After the season was over, the women could all get together and they would organize our card club. And then once a month they would go from one place to another place and they’d play cards and spend an afternoon and enjoy themselves.

Then they would organize parties. Every once in a while, some birthday or something would come on, they’d have a party. We’d have it in the town hall and everybody was invited. We’d all chip in about fifty cents apiece to buy half a barrel of beer and the women would all bring something for pot luck and we’d get together and we’d have a dance.

Our orchestra most always was Bob Lovelace with the fiddle, Paul Lang also played the fiddle and Geraldine Andrews on the piano. And we would really kick up our heels and have a good time. We had a lot of steins and we kept washing them off and all we had was beer, no liquor or anything else, and everybody had a good time.

I remember one New Year’s Eve, the women had all got together -- they made streamers and they made paper hats and everything else that they needed to have a good time. We had horns to blow and so on and so forth. Everybody from the town was there in the town hall.

It was cold, it was down below zero, I don’t remember how much below zero, but everybody had to run out and start the cars every once in a while so that they wouldn’t freeze up on us. Bob Lovelace with his old Lincoln with the Rochester lamp inside drained his radiator so when it come time to go home, he would get the water form the town hall. We had a pump there and the pump was one that every time you wanted water, you had to prime it because the cylinder would drain out a little pinhole in the bottom. It was fixed that way so that the cylinder wouldn’t freeze and break in the well when it was cold. So every time you wanted water, we used to have to prime the pump until we got water. It was very, very good water. So then he’d get some of that water and he would put that in his radiator and he would go home with it.

And we’d just had a wonderful party that night and all the other parties. Lecture parties we used to have, but never no hard liquor, always a barrel of beer, and everybody had all the beer they wanted to drink.

So that New Year’s Eve party that we had, one of the fellow gave Bob Lovelace a pail of water that came out of the wash tub that we rinsed the glasses off in. There must have been, you know, a little beer in each glass and that would all go in when we rinsed the glasses off. So he filled that into his radiator!

And the next time we see him, he says, you know, by gosh, when I got home my radiator was foaming, he says, the foam was coming out just like beer. It must have had more beer in the radiator than there was water. You never forget those things. He was really a card, a comical character, old Bob Lovelace.

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