It wasn’t a completely new concept. Babcia had been teaching me how to Polka as soon as I exited my mother’s womb. But once I got to kindergarten, I had less time to Polka. The teachers were always trying to get me to run.
Running was definitely a new concept. The gym teacher kept yelling at me “why are you hopping like that?”
“Like that! Like that! That hopping you are doing? Run! Run!”
When I was young I had a major hearing problem. I thought he said “Hops” and so I replied, “my dad will not let babcia teach me how to micro-brew at home. We have get our beer from the liquor store just like everyone else!”
The teacher grabbed me by the collar. We were marching up to the principle’s office. Except I apparently didn’t know how to walk either or march. I was hopping back and forth from one foot to the other. I tried to work in a fancy twirl into my Polka moves. Wham! Bam! Ouch!
The principle had started his career in the educational system as a gym teacher. My first head concussion happened right in that moment. My first day of kindergarten and I was out for the count from polka’ing right into that principle. He called my parents as they could get to the school quicker than our volunteer paramedics who hung out at the volunteer firefighters’ station in town. The volunteer fire department station was the only bar open before 10 am on a school day. I can’t blame them . I mean being a volunteer fire fighter was a stressful job. They needed to kick back and relax in between fighting those fires.
I could tell the principle got my dad on the phone.
“No, not hops! I said hopping! Your daughter is hopping,” he yelled.
I instantly thought my dad must have the portable phone with him on the John Deere backhoe.
“What is wrong with hopping! She is supposed to be running not hopping. Who taught her how to hop like that? Is it that baba person she talks about teaching her this?”
“Baba, don’t ever call my babcia a baba! And if you value your life, never call her a stara baba! Nothing pisses off old Polish women like being called an old hag! If you do make that mistake then you better pray she isn’t wearing her plastic babushka. Everyone knows or should know once that plastic rain proof babushka is off a Polish woman’s head, it becomes a weapon. They just put it on your head with the main plastic part covering your face and then tie it tight as can be. You see steam come out of the nostrils for a few seconds but it is just a few seconds then you’re…well you know.”
“Is this baba or babcia woman in the mafia?”
“Mafia? No, she’s in my family. She is just my dad’s very Polish mother. My grandmother. My babcia!”
We heard a thunderous roar. Then saw the lightening strikes in the sky through the windows. Rain started pouring down and pounding the roof and those same windows we were staring out as we waiting for my dad. The principle started sweating. The sweat poured down his forehead, his face to the same pace of the sweet smelling yet fierce rain.
I saw my dad’s brown dodge cab and half truck pull up to the round about driveway. I could see my babcia in the passenger side.
As my dad slowly opened the main entry door to the school, I turned to the principle. “You’re lucky this morning she got her hair done. She isn’t going to risk getting it wet to deal with the likes of you.”
Babcia waved to the two of us staring out the school window. In her one hand we could clearly see her plastic babushka. In her other hand was her colt 45. Stain marks from the sweat now drenching him were so visible in the armpit area of his fancy late 1970’s dress shirt. I didn’t want to know where the other stains in his clothes were. Although guessing by the smell in the principle’s office….his shit did stink.
Copyright: Theresa Dolata