Once again it’s Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). I wanted to make sure my brother had some pączkis even though he’s in the hospital. I drove over to National Bakery and had to park way down the hill on the next block. I passed a guy walking the other way carrying a big white box. He said there was a twenty minute wait. There was about a dozen people lined up outside the store and about three times that many lined up inside. While waiting on line outside the bakery some wiseguy exits saying:
“They’re all out!”
I retorted: “There’s one in every crowd!” (laughter)
Once inside I was given an order slip and a stubby pencil. I didn’t know what to get so I just checked off a few boxes. My mistake. I was duly corrected by a young boy wearing a T-shirt that read: REMAIN CALM and PĄCZKI. What they wanted was the number of each item. I went overboard as I often do and ordered three dozen. As you know the traditional pączki is prune-filled and powdered with fine sugar but they offered them in two types of dough (regular and butter); three types of fillings (prune, raisin and raspberry) and topped with powdered or granulated sugar, but also glazed or iced. Phew! They were also pushing some kind of Mardi Gras King Cake.
I didn’t like the variety as packed in the boxes so I went home to sort them all out. My son ate one and I ate two for my efforts. I reduced the three big boxes to two and took one up to the hospital. As I made my way along a half-mile of corridors carrying a big white box a tall black guy in a white lab coat, probably a doctor, spotted me and said brightly: “Pączkis!” (poonch-keys!) I replied, “Yer darn right!”
What I should have said, and thought of too late was: “You betcha dupa!”
Rejecting the lunch the hospital was serving my brother had his requested raspberry filled pączki instead along with sipping a little hot coffee through a straw. He declined another pączki so I gave the rest to the nurses – one of whom accused me of wanting to make them all fat.
Later on I took the other box over to the skilled nursing facility where my brother had been staying prior to the hospital and left them for the staff working there. On leaving I realized Oh-Oh! I’m out of pączkis!
I still had a taste for more so I headed over to Grebe’s Bakery, which someone had recently mentioned.
The tiny parking lot at Grebe’s Bakery is often crowded but today it was much worse. It seemed half the cars were parked askew, ignoring the yellow lines. I squeezed into a space then spotted another, better one, parked and got out and stopped for a smoke. Just standing there I had to dodge a few cars coming in and out.
Right before my eyes some guy driving a beater took a bad angle on a parking space and scraped some lines of paint off the bumper of an otherwise pristine-looking late model car, even moving it slightly. I thought: “Really? Are pączkis that important?” Without so much as looking for damage he went into the bakery. About two minutes later he came back out and drove off without even making a purchase. I memorized his license plate number. Inside I asked for a pen and paper. I wrote down the number and explained that if anyone complains about damage to their car this was the perp’s number. I’m a rat, right?
Have you not noticed that the parking spaces at Walmart are extra wide in comparison to other retailers? There’s a reason for that. I know some guys have pretty hot rods or expensive collectable cars. If you value your paint job stay far away from Walmart. Even with the extra wide parking spaces they’ll still get you, leaving scrapes and gouges, dents and creases, broken lights, etc., and leave without saying a word.
Grebe’s Bakery is a little cheaper than National, although their selection of pączkis are mostly non-traditional. I was also gratified to learn they gave a baker’s dozen. Go ahead kid, run and ask Gramps what a baker’s dozen means – but be warned, he just might start telling you all about the olden tymes when he was still a kid.
The clock is ticking and Lent is upon us – just hours away; now I’ve got the sugar-shakes from all the pączkis I’ve already eaten today. Have I had enough of those pączkis?
You betcha dupa.