MR. Henning goes to Washington

Married life

Love is a many splendid things. Someone said that. Or maybe it was just a song I once heard.

I was getting married. Olga Bzresinski will be my bride. A wedding must be planned.

I have compiled a list of preparations. Feel free to jot them down if matrimony is on your horizon.


Beer is essential. Go to the Bank and ask for a "Beer Loan." Then go to a Beer Depot, near you.

"Ding ding."

I picked "Lamers Liquor Emporium" on Burliegh Avenue because I know the owner, and they have beer.

"Hey Bob, what's shaking? Hey?"

"OH, hey dere. What's dis I hear you and Olga getting hitched?" Hey?

"Yeah Bob, I've swum up stream long enough by my self."


"Up stream Bob. Like salmon."

It was obvious Bob was having trouble graspng my analogy. He was looking at the lake trout hanging over the cash register.

"Yup, this steer is done grazing pastures alone."


I felt it was time for some levity. "Say Bob. What's the difference between a foxy lady and a dog?"

"8 beers".

"Geeeze, you heard dat one."

"Ja hey, did you go to the bank?"

"Does Carter make little liver pills?"


I proceeded in ordering 20 half barrels of beers, and a case of soda (mixed).

"Deliver dat to the "Bowlero", on the 1st, Bob."

I left the Beer Depot feeling good about myself. Feeling whole. My life has become one of meaningfulness, no longer open to ridicule and disdain.

I then noticed my Car was gone. Stolen.

But you know, I didn' care, I was to be married soon. Nothing could ruin my day

[meanwhile back in the Beer Depot]

"Who was that Bob?"

"Oh just that french Canadian. Olga's guy."

"Was he Drunk?"

"I think so, he was talking crazy? The Boy was two sheets to the wind."



"Da boy thinks he's a Fish!"




Some people feel sausage should be number one. To those I say, I know where you're coming from. But I disagree. It's the age-old argument: What came first? The Beer or the Sausage. I say Beer.

Now you go to the Bank for a sausage loan. I found shopping around for the best rates can save you a bunch of money.

Then its off to the Butcher Shop. In this case, "Feldmann's Deli," just down from "Nick's Nickabob" on Fond Du Lac Avenue. I haven't been there in a while.

Ding Ding!

The aroma hits you as you walk in. "Good Morning Mr. Feldmann."

"ACHH, Good by you maybe. OH, Margaret! That boy who knocked down the Knackwurst display is back!"

"Hello Mrs. Feldmann." I suddenly remembered why I haven't been in here for some time.

"You be careful Mr. Klutz."

"I will Mrs. Feldmann."

"Don't touch anything."

"Understood Mrs. Feldmann."

Mr. Feldmann was shaving some roast beef, In the 20 years I have known him, he has not aged a day. He's aways been OLD. He was half deaf 20 years ago also.

"I'm getting married, and need some sausage."

"You're marrying my daughter??" He said with both hands on is hips.

"NOO,NO. I need some sausage for my wedding."

"She's married already. What are you a pervert person?"

"Noo. I'm marrying Olga Brzsenski. I don't know your daughter."

"I have no daughter named Olga, you are fruit loops mister."

Now I remember another reason I don't come here much. Disgusted, Mr. Feldmann turned back to his roast beef. I found a piece of butcher wrap and with a black wax pencil I wrote a note. NEED SAUSAGE--GETTING MARRIED. I held it up over my head so Mr. Feldmann could see.

"I thought you were not to touch anything."

He then noticed my scribbling. "JA JA, to my daughter." He resumed his shaving, shaking his head from side to side and muttering something in yiddish.

Mrs. Feldman returned. I turned to her holding up my sign.

"I thought you were told not to touch anything. Is that our wax pencil you are standing on?"

It was.

so I placed my order with her.:
150 lbs. of bratwurst
45 lbs. of ring bologna
20 Gallons of potato salad.

"Did you go to the bank?" she asked.

"Oh dat I did Mrs. Feldmann. Got a home equity sausage loan."

Mrs. Feldmann gave me a receipt and handed me her pen to sign her copy.

"Thank you Mrs. Feldmann." I turned and started for the door.

"I would like my pen back thank you."

I returned her pen, and noticed Mr. Feldmann glaring at me. I smiled. "See ya, hey?"

Now they were both glaring at me.

"Ding Ding."

Man, I was happy to get out of there. I looked down the street.

"Ding Ding."

I re-entered the sausage shop. Mrs. Feldmann was cleaning up the smeared black wax pencil on the floor. It appears the black wax pencil stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Black smudge marks were evident from the door to the kneeling Mrs. Feldmann. Mr. Feldmann was standing behind her shaking his head, glaring at me.

"Mrs. Feldmann, my car has been stolen, may I use your phone?"

There was no immediate reaction. They just glared and me, then at my shoe. The shoe which still had a black wax pencil stuck to the bottom of it.


After retrieving my car from the police station, I went to "Ace Auto Parts" on 35th and Hampton Ave., across the street from "Georgie's Pub and Grub." I was greeted warmly by an employee wearing a red shirt with the name Sidney embroidered above the left pocket.

"Hello Sidney."

To which he repled, "Do I know you?"

I looked at his close set eyes, and then the sparce whiff of hair he creatively combed over his bald head and said, "No Sidney, can't say that I do, hey?"

"Then how do you know my name is Sidney?"

"It's on your shirt, right there." All the while pointing at his breast pocket.

Sidney looked down at is pocket and rolled his eyes.

"Sidney I would like the cheapest car theft preventive device you have in the store. My car was stolen twice in two days, I'm lucky just to have it, hey?"

Still looking at his shirt pocket, Sidney said, "You know, we have these shirts in dark navy blue also."

From the back room came an additional employee who had the name Curtis stitched on his shirt. He greeted me with a smile and a nod.

"Curtis, I wonder if you could help me please."

"Do I know you?" Curtis replied.

"No Curtis, I can't say that I do."

Purchasing my anti-car theft device I quickly exited the auto parts store to find my car still parked where I left it. Out of the paper bag I took out a small placard. I removed the sticky-back tape from it and affixed it to the rear of my trunk lid. It read simply, "DIESEL."


There was never any question where I would book the wedding reception. Only one establishment met all my criteria. That would be the "BOWLERO," kitty corner to "Angels TAP." Bowlero was the first 62 lane bowling mecca constructed in the northern hemisphere. I cried the first time I saw the structure. There are over 38,000 bulbs in the giant sign which flashes B-O-W-L-I-N-G continuously.

I mean this place has 6, count them 6, ball polishers.

I took no chances this time. I parked my car right up by the front door. I know what you are thinking. The chances of my car being stolen 3 times in 3 days were astronomical. I'd have a better chance being hit by lightning. Suddenly it started to rain, a thunderclap startled me as I bolted for the front door.

The entrance area has walls lined with glassed-in cases. Here you will find every score and average of every team and individual bowler in south-eastern Wisconsin. I looked for the "Lady Bugs" team chart, Olga's team, and found it tacked prominently in the case labeled "WENSDAYS LEEGES." There she was, Olga Brzenski, average 239. Her team was in second place. My average is not pertinent to the subject at hand, which is, planning a wedding. Let's plan one, shall we?

I opened the final set of aluminum doors, and was met with the sound and odor of the sport of bowling. I inhaled the ambiance of Bowlero, and wondered, why this sport, above all other sports, would be the one I picked. I probably could of played baseball, football, and basketball at school if I could of maintained a "C" average. We now know that the tests in the 60's were skewed against French Canadians .

Over the loud speaker came, "AH HEY, close the door, we're not cooling the outside!"

It wasn't because the people were pleasant, I picked bowling because it was the only sport where you could drink beer while participating in it. DuHH, no brainer.

I tried to pull the door closed. It appeared that a screw had dislodged from the "return arm" mechanism. Once again I pulled on the door which only popped out yet another screw. Also the "arm mechanism" now appeared to be bent after my last pull. I jiggled the door enough to cause another screw to fall out.

"PLEASE CLOSE THE DOOR SIR!" beamed over the speakers.

I now noticed everyone in Bowlero was looking at me.....I went Heh Heh, and once again pulled the defective door closed, breaking the bottom glass portion of the door in thousands of pieces.

I casually walked away, softly whistling to myself. I had an appointment to set up the hall rental with the owner of Bowlero, Bob "Tiny" Merkowicz. I approached the "Information Counter" which proudly displayed a large painted sign which read, "SHOE RENTAL HERE." An arrow, pointing down, was attached to the bottom of the sign. Standing under the sign was a young women employee who appeared to be pleasant.

"What do you want," she snapped.

Isn't it something how some unpleasant people look pleasant. I then continued to break the ice with a little levity.

"Could you tell me where I can rent shoes?" I smiled. I've found that it helps during social intercourse, to lead with some insane, funny, glib, "ice breaker." But I have found some people are not as receptive to social intercourse, as others.

"Where do you RENT SHOES?" she shreaked. I can't print here what she said after that. There was some reference made to my mental capacities.

"Yes Miss, I am here to see Bob."

Do you have an appointment?"

"Yes miss, I do."

She reached over and grabbed a microphone attached to a thick spiraly cord. Over all the speakers you heard, "Tiny, the guy who broke the door is here to see you!"

Aghast, I calmly explained the door was in disrepair when I opened it. My mental prowess was challenged again by this disturbed employee.

"What's this about a door?"

It was Bob (tiny) Merkowitz. All 350 pounds of Merkowitz. Some tell it that "Tiny" onced bowled on TV. They say he once weighed 200 pounds......AH JA!!! When he was 12.

Brazenly, I took a step toward him, hand out-stretched, "Bob I'm here to rent the hall over dere."

"What's this about the door, and do you have an appointment? That's a brand new door!"

My head craned over my left shoulder in the direction of the door, returned to see Tiny aka Bob Merkowitz glaring at me. With a quizical look, one eye brow cocked, I said, "You know, it's WINDY out dere today hey."

"Do you have an appointment?"

Good he forgot about the door.

"And how do you know so much about the DOOR?"


"I saw it when I blew in. Blew in, get it...Windy outside, blew in.[cough] Yes sir I do have an appointment. I'm getting married."

I followed Tiny to his office which had a huge plexi-glass window on one wall enabling Tiny to view all 62 lanes from his desk chair. Behind his desk was a maze of yellowed bowling pins, and trophies. Centered was a framed photograph of a "young Tiny" delivering a bowling ball down the alley. Could this be his hallowed TV appearance?

"You know this is a big step in your life," he started.

I suddenly felt at ease with this big lug.

" It's not something we should take lightly. Nervous?" He looked up from the papers he was shuffling.

I nodded in the affirmative.

"This could be the most important decision of your life. It's not something you do on a whim. You want it to be right for all parties concerned."

I was touched that this mammoth of a man held the sanctity of marriage in such high esteem.

"I've done it 7 or 8 times."

Okay, maybe not in that high esteem, or sanctity.

"I only plan to be married once, I'm satisfied I found my soul-mate."

"You're getting married?", Tiny said. "I was talking about RENTING A HALL."

Right then a knock on the door preceded the entrance of a man in coveralls with "Chico's Towing" stitched on the back. "Hey Tiny, sign right here."

"Isn't dat a new door Tiny?"

At this point Tiny looked at me. I turned to glance out the huge office window, all the time feeling Tiny's eyes staring at the back of my neck. "Hey! Someone is using the ball polishing machine," I quipped.

Chico looked out the window, "Oh yeah, I'll be darn." He quipped.

Tiny scribbled on Chico's clipboard and handed it back to him. "Thanks Tiny, see you tonight," Chico said walking out of the office.

"You know Chico there has his own bowling shoes," Tiny said.

"Get out! He must be good."

[In the bowling world it is understood that if you buy your own shoes and have your own towell, you are good.]

"Does he have his own towel?"

"Blue and White one," Tiny replied tapping the pencil on his desk, deep in thought.

[Blue and White towel? Yeah, he's good. I had a towel once but it burned up. My Zippo lighter ignited it once when I was testing its fire retardency.]

"Now why are you here again?"

You know by this time I had forgotten.

Then it dawned on me, "I'm getting married and I would like to rent your hall."

"Wait a minute, you're that french boy that started that fire on alley 24 last year. I don't like the French, don't like them one bit."

"Who does? I'm french canadian Tiny."

"Canadian. Oh I see, I like them Canadians. Good bowlers! So then, did you get your hall rental loan?"

I knew I forgot something. I had been occupied with the reclaiming of MY CAR and forgot to go to the bank. Write stuff down when you're planning a wedding. Then check them off as you complete each task.

Tiny leaned back in his chair, looked up at the ceiling and said, "You did go to the bank my Canadian friend, didn't you?"

"Ah, yes and no."

"You got the loan?"


"You didn't go to the bank?"


We exchanged pleasantries as Tiny sribbled something on his clip board. I assured him I was on my way to the bank directly.

I exited Tiny's office, smiling and waving while he glared again at me. He sure glares a lot. It appeared contagious. I found "Miss Rental Shoe Person" with a broom agitating shards of glass in a neat little pile. Exaggerating my steps I carefully stepped around the pile, and kindly nodded. The employee made a threatening gesture towards me with the broom, I was so happy to step out that broken door and get out of there. If I want to be held up to contempt, I can go to better places then this.

Then I saw it. Actually, I didn't see it. My car that is. I know I parked it right in front. Don't panic I thought, panic never helped anyone.

"MY CAR IS STOLEN, SOMEONE STOLE MY CAR!!!", I said hysterically running back into the bowling alley.

I was greeted by Miss Congenialty, still with the broom raised above her head.

"You were the one who parked in the tow-away zone out front? That was towed 30 minutes ago."

"TOWED!!" I must be calm, I'm sure there was some kind of mistake made. "TOWED, YOU TOWED MY CAR!!" I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!"

"Didn't you see the tow-away zone sign?"

"Ah...Yes and No."

Things become blurry now. I felt the rush of air the broom created. The next thing I remember, I was waking up at St. Michael's Hospital, on Villard Avenue. Apparently I fell at the Bowling Alley.

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