Monday, April 6, 2009
When I first met my husband at an upscale bar and grill over eight years ago, I waited until he was overcome with love and lust before I broke the bad news:
After days of eyelash batting (him) and heavy breathing (him again), I decided to broach the subject once more, this time offering more details:
“Um…..I wasn’t born in America. I am from Poland. We make good kielbasa.”
“What is wrong with your bra?! Is there a three-digit security code for this thing?!”
You get the drift.
He was obviously so traumatized by the news, that he kept avoiding the subject.
And no, it was just an old stupid bra.
I thought the best way to get him to face the harsh facts was to invite him to meet the family. My family. My Big Fat Polish Family. (I so could have written that movie, but someone more dedicated to the craft beat me to it, damn it).
After a seven course meal, of which eight were made with cabbage, and after repeated attempts to remind my Mama and Tata to "PLEASE speak some FREAKIN English" at the table, I thought for sure our dating days were over.
I was right.
The idiot married me.
Apparently he was, and still is, unfazed by my roots. Or the two dozen crucifixes hanging strategically throughout my parents’ home. Or that “Poland has the best bread.” And that “Poland has the best butter.” And that “Too bad America is not in Poland.”
It wasn’t enough that he married me. He wanted to breed too. So now we have two half-Polish (but according to my dad, mostly Polish) boys who will carry on the Polish tradition of pretending to be American. At least during grade school.
But I digress.
So, much to my shock and amazement, my husband has spent the last eight or so years doing the exact opposite that most Polish “F.O.B’s (that’s “fresh off the boat” for you immigrant illiterates) aspire to. He is becoming MORE Polish as the days go by. He can say “Kapusta” (cabbage) at a moment’s notice, and encourages Superman to wear socks with his sandals.
He develops an uncanny accent anytime he speaks to his in-laws:
“No, weee do nat go owt deenner twonight. We rrrrrrrr beeeezi,” and is unfazed by the random little old ladies that give him parenting advice in their native tongue after Sunday mass. He loves beet soup and sauerkraut, and can tell the difference between homemade and store bought Kielbasa. He is a connoisseur of all things Polish. He is a total transplant and I couldn’t be more proud. Or terrified.
But the important thing is that he knows the value of a good ol Polish wife. And that she’ll send him straight to her crazy Uncle Ted’s house in the middle of a tiny village on the outskirts of Krakow if he should ever forget.
They don’t call him Crazy Uncle Ted for nothin.
So the gist of it is is that he adopted our way of life because for some reason, it made sense to him. And didn't scare him away. Not even when he was completely outnumbered at our wedding, which was at our Polish church in Los Angeles, lasted 12 hours, began with the bride and groom taking simultaneous shots of vodka and scrounging for pennies on the floor, and had enough food and booze to outfit a small continent (hmmmmm.....I guess there are some benefits).
I do think we ought to talk before sending the boys to Polish school. It's where I um, learned all that great stuff you loved about me when we first met.....
So thanks honey.
I appreciate your embracing my culture as your own.
And for loving cabbage almost as much as the purebreds do.
Posted by Jo Ashline at 5:59 PM