A Lighter View. . .Summerfest

A Lighter View. . .Summerfest

By Karen Morris

By Karen M. Morris

Freelance Writer

We’ve lost just about anything you can imagine…our hair, gallbladders, each other, at the mall. Wayne even lost his mind, once. Or at least that’s what he claimed when he took the van to get it washed and returned with a sports car.

And now, something else is missing. Our spark disappeared. We’ve morphed into a couple whose idea of a walk on the wild side is spray painting the shutters and edging the lawn. Maybe it was our diet of soft cheeses, complete lack of exercise, or our poor taste in casual clothing. Whatever it was, we were in a rut deep enough to require passports.

Our daughter discovered our glow was gone when she found us planning a glaucoma exam like it was a vacation trip to the Bahamas. Worried that we were spiraling down the insidious path of stool softeners and arch supports, she took us on as a charity case. To get our groove back, she insisted we go to a little festival in Milwaukee called “Summerfest.”

I got all dolled up, fixed my hair, and put on sensible shoes. Wayne threw on something without paint stains and a baseball cap. Packn’ bug spray, umbrellas and ATM cards, we were ready to party.

Once we hit Milwaukee, Wayne became a man on a mission. He scoured the streets until he found the absolutely cheapest parking available…a sod farm. We padlocked the car and left the rain gear behind…because it was “too sunny to rain.” Armed with this misconception, we hiked to party central.

“Look! It’s HOG Day,” Wayne shouted, pointing at a banner draped across the entrance.

“Well, that’s not very PC to label people struggling with body images,” I grunted.

While I was giving my dissertation on how the government is secretly adding calories to the air we breathe, Wayne sprinted past me, yelling, “It’s the Harley Owners Group.” He stopped at a ’57 Sportster with a 55-cubic inch overhead valve engine, dropped to the ground, and sobbed like a baby.

After being dragged from the HOG lot, Wayne decided to scope out the park on the sky tram. As our chair lifted off, my fear of heights kicked in, and I squeezed my eyes shut. At the end of the ride, Wayne yelled “jump” and shoved me off the tram. He said it was inhumane to make the crowd listen to another 10 minutes of my screaming on a return trip.

Nature called, and I wound my way through the masses to find a bathroom without wheels. A girl in line behind me started sharing her life story. “I’m doing an Australian thingy. Then on to see Dave Mathews, in Chicago. And next Tuesday, I’m seeing Tim McGraw.”

“Tuesday is a heavy day for me, too,” I replied. “I’m seeing the orthodontist.”

Suddenly, something hit my forehead… like bird doo. But before I could comment on the phenomena, rain started falling. This was no ordinary cloudburst. It was the sequel to Noah’s Ark. The place resembled one of those breaking news bulletins. The kind where some poor dolt is reporting on a hurricane’s path while road signs are blowing across the freeway behind him. In 30 seconds, we went from adequately groomed to looking like we’d been shot out of a water cannon.

There was nothing else to do but find solace in food. This wasn’t hard. There were booths every five feet. To prevent bloating, Wayne suggested we limit ourselves only to foods that started with a letter from the alphabet.

I noticed Wisconsin people were extremely polite. Every time someone spilled a beer on me, they apologized. And they’re diverse. One guy had more piercings and holes than a pound of Swiss cheese. His girlfriend wore plastic, see-through underwear to accent her tattoos. In our waterlogged clothes, we really blended.

Music blared from every corner of the park. Our first stop was to listen to a 13-year-old multimillionaire sing about the heartbreak of love. The only thing that went out on me at 13 were the brakes on my bike…which explains why I’m not a multimillionaire today. We moved on to hard rock, techno, hip hop, alternative and then James Brown, the godfather of soul.

We missed James’ start because Wayne stopped for a bean burrito. But you could still hear him belt out the tunes (Wayne and James). After watching a dot bouncing around the stage for an hour, I discovered it was some kid’s balloon and not the godfather of soul.

We closed the place down, and driving home, Wayne looked at me with a glint in his eyes. “Want to go tripping out tomorrow?”

Almost breathless, I whispered, “You mean, double coupon day at the grocery store?”


“Oh, baby, our snap is back!”

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