So the Serb Hall show back on October 21 turned out to be a real nice show. We had a nice crowd early on and I had some decent sales. But the thing I liked most about the show was the polka music. Yes, polka music. Around noon, a polka band started playing German and American polka songs in the room next door. I really like polka music. Before the days of digital music, I purchased quite a few vinyl polka records. I love all the classics like "Who Ate The Keishka" and "I don't want her, you can have her, she's too fat for me."
Polka music is the happiest music on the planet. When you hear it, you can't help but smile. I've seen quite a few live polka bands over the years and what always strikes me is the incredible musicianship. Some of these guys can turn a basic polka line into a free-form jazz sound. I love hearing a polka trumpeter or clarinetist who can really fly. To me, those kind of guys are like Charlie Parker or John Coltrane.
Then there's polka punk rock. In the 1980s, I discovered punk rock polka bands like Polkacide, that take polka to another level. My favorite punk rock polka band is the Polkaholics, a Chicago band that's a lot less hard-edge than Polkacide and much more fun. The Polkaholics regularly play in Chicago nightclubs and always bring a good time. Through the Polkaholics, I learned about Li'l Wally, a Chicago polka legend. Li'l Wally wrote the song for the "Go-Go" Chicago White Sox of 1959, the team that lost to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in the World Series. Originally from Chicago, Li'l Wally had retired to Florida when the Polkaholics brought him back to the city for a concert in the late 1990s. That concert was AMAZING! Li'l Wally, who died in 2006, was the most unique polka singer. He sang with a heart and soul that will never be duplicated.
An incredibly nice guy, I became friends with Li'l Wally after the concert and he used to regularly call me from Florida. I always knew it was Li'l Wally when he called because I'd answer the phone and on the other end I would hear a booming "Happy Birthday!!" Every single time he called there was an earthquake decibel "Happy Birthday!"
I was also friends with L'il Richard before he died in the late 1990s. Not to be confused with the 1950's rock and roll star, this Li'l Richard was all polka and performed Chicago polka all over the world. Old Chicago mayor Richard Daley, from the 1968 Democratic Convention fame, dubbed L'll Richard "Chicago's Polka General." I'm usually the only person named "Tony" when I go see polka bands. Li'l Richard loved that fact and would always play for me the "Pasta Polka."
So, I was pumped up when a polka band started burning it up in the adjoining room today at the Serb Hall baseball card show. These guys were really good. They had a saxophone player, which I haven't seen before in a polka band. They played all the American and German standards. They didn't cover any of the Polish polka I'm used to hearing in Chicago. They had quite an audience and I was amazed that so many people were skipping the Packers game to dance a little polka. Viewing that polka crowd brought to mind another reason I like polka -- I'm usually the youngest person by 20 years at a polka dance/concert. The polka band at Serb Hall didn't draw anyone under age 60. Awesome!
Before the polka band started playing, things were busy at the card show. Jeff got things going with a large pile of 1957 Topps baseball and 1969 Topps baseball. Mark pulled out a large pile of 1960's baseball and football from my binders. A regular customer found some mid-1970's hockey. Another regular pulled some 1970's baseball and football cards. I sold my 1964 Topps Hank Aaron to another regular.
My pal mike picked up some 1969, 1970 and 1971 Topps baseball. Mike sent me a list prior to the show and I brought the cards he needed. Please feel free to email a list and I'll be happy to pull cards for you and bring them to the show. Mike has some disabilities and is usually accompanied by a care-taker. He's intelligent and incredibly nice, he just can't communicate very well. It's really nice when he sends me an email. Well, at this show, he didn't have his regular care-taker. Instead he had an old friend with him who told me Mike had a large amount of cards stolen over the summer. Only the worst scum are thieves. I've been victimized by thieves many times. I'm trying to get Mike to let me know what sets he had stolen and I thought I'd donate some cards to him to get him on his way to replacing the sets he had stolen. Unfortunately, he won't let me help or tell me exactly what was stolen. I'm going to work on it and maybe we all can donate some cards. Mike is truly great guy and even though it's tough sometimes to communicate we all share the same passion for cards. I already have a new list to work on for the Nov. 11 Serb Hall show.
I made a few more sales at the show before it cleared out and folks went off to watch the Packer game. A regular purchased some 1970s basketball. A new customer, also named Mike, picked up some 1972s and 1973 Topps baseball. This Mike grew up in Niles, Illinois. He went to Marquette University in Milwaukee and stayed in the city after college. He really enjoys living in Milwaukee. I love Milwaukee and think it is a great place. I could easily live in Milwaukee. If I was to live in Milwaukee, I think I'd chose the western suburbs. I love Milwaukee's lakefront area, especially the northern portion, but I prefer the open space, large lots, and trees of the western 'burbs. I know there are lots of towns around Milwaukee that people always mention at the shows. I need to explore these sometime.
I didn't do much buying today. I picked up a 1959 Topps Aaron/Mathews card. I also bought a few packs of new cards. I don't really collect new cards but I do like opening packs on occasion. I pulled an RGIII out of a pack of 2012 Topps football. There was a guy who came to my table with four or five binders of 1980s football that I wasn't interested in. I wasn't offered anything else and I didn't get a chance to walk around the room much. The dealer across from me had a nice selection of vintage. He had some 1970s Kellogg's baseball that I was considering but didn't pull the trigger.
I was pleasantly surprised at the turn-out today. Serb Hall can by iffy at times. Today was good. I'm looking forward to coming back on Nov. 11. Last Sunday, I was in Orland. I still have to write that blog. This Sunday, Nov. 4, I'll be at the Best Western Plus in Schaumburg. I am looking forward to the breakfast buffet. Orland blog coming soon!
Pictured above is Li'l Wally. Pictured below are some photos of the band in the other room at Serb Hall. I took the photos while standing at the door through a little window. The quality isn't very good.