Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Correspondent

Hi All!

This post is headed back to the shop for retooling after getting concerned feedback from parties that inspired it. Will leave it up for awhile though.

I’m tickled pink to introduce you to a fellow I met at the All Ford Nationals at Carlisle last Spring. I enjoyed his tall tales, so I tracked him down and asked if he would do some writing for Wogsblog. He gladly accepted and emailed his first item. So without further ado, allow me to introduce my pal. Rowdy the Polack Redneck.

Hey y’all. I’m no writer. I’m a good story teller, so I’m told. So Wog is trying me out and I hope I get this right. I reckon he’ll kick off the dust, sand off the burrs and throw in a few New York Times cross words,

My given name is Ralph Synzdrojski. Got the nickname in grade school, like Wog. Mom and dad are third generation immigrants with big old Catholic families and a rock solid work ethic. A bit dour and square, but good people by and large. Guess I'm the bad acorn.

My dad, Carol, is 100% Polish. My mom, Carol, is 100% German. Seems an odd pairing what with the Germans and Poles not seeing eye to eye on things for a few hundred years, but when you think about it, parts of Germany and Poland went back in forth over the years. I think Poland ended up with the better half of the bargain after WWII.

Come to find out , both families came from that area that went back and forth so in a way they share some geographical history.

Dad was the youngest of 9, 7 guys and two gals. By dint of his the his family’s hard working example, Carol wound up pretty well off, being the first in his family to graduate college (Detroit University, BS in Mechanical Engineering).

Like all the Synzdrojski men, he started his career at the Bay City Steering Wheel Works which supplies GM to this very day. Old family joke regarding GM started up in the bad old 70’s was “Don’t Blame Us! We can’t screw up a steering wheel. Actually there WERE incidents, like the batch of oblongs that got into the ’48 Chevy Special, and the batch of new plastic wheels that absorbed heat and burned fingers. That was in the day before trial lawyers, so it was no big deal. In fact, it became somewhat famous and collectable. GM never recalled them (I don't think they had recalls in them days).

Other than that, they have garnered many awards and recognitions and are quite well respected in the industry.

Strikes and layoffs were part of life and naturally all the men were big time union guys. Carol yd started in shipping and moved up to the corporate offices in record time. A white collar, non (even anti, I think) union pencil pushing drone up on the top floor of the Works. He got teased a lot, but the family was mutedly proud of him.

After Carol came up with the money-saving idea of a plain wheel with just two simple finger locating bumps at 10 and 2, he drew the attention of Austin Meatpacking (don’t ask why, even he doesn’t know).

Well sir, them boys hired him and he made the big jump, moving Carol and we little ones to strange and mysterious Minnesota. During his short time in Austin, he came up with the Carol Carver, a nifty new kind of knife that could tell the difference between fat and lean. Saved a lot of waste and money. He also invented a process to “pre-render” the rest of the carcass for easier and more compact shipping to the rendering plant in 50 gallon drums instead of trucking a bunch of rotting pig heads on in open trucks up to Van Hoven in South Saint Paul (here to this day, and you’ll still se a truck bed overloaded with horse heads and such) . If you can stand the smell it‘s an interesting place to tour. Hell, they are the original recyclers!

How his resume’ caught the attention of Sam Walton we will never know, but to make a long story short, we took up residence in Bentonville. Carol was in on the big change from the G.C. Murphy sort of retailer to the new “Walmart” conception.. Floyd had been up to what we in Austin called The Cities, but are better known as St. Paul and Minneapolis.

He shopped the new Target out there in Roseville and got an idea. He got kicked out of Sam’s office many times and nearly got fired. But Sam’s wife liked the idea and that there is how Wal*Mart got started (it was Carol’s idea to put that star thing between the Wal and the Mart).

You can say this for old Carol. Big business didn’t let no moss gather on that rolling stone. We were soon back in Minnesota, Twin Cities. Daytons had hired him away but Sam soon saw to it that an obscure insertion into Carol’s employment agreement (worked out on a placemat with Sam over longhorn bottles of Lone Star at the Crooked Steer which always reminded dad of his first job. "Crooked Steer? Steering wheel? Get it?).

Carol was sure that clumsy clause wasn’t in there when he signed it. Hell, it wasn’t even the same ink. But Carol knew Sam, and one was best served by not crossing the wily and temperamental old coot who had the last word on everything.

Having just moved the family to a nice Catholic St. Paul area, what with we kids in grade and high school, Carol was bound to put down stakes.

He got a job at a non-profit that came up with a big profit plan to build the City of the Future right down there by the old rail yard. Big deal, big bust and Carol took the fall, even though he was the only guy who did things right. He proved out in the end as that whole Choo Choo Train Park concept has ultimately worked out real good, not that Carol gets a penny off it.

By now were married off, so when a call came from an old Italian feller from Ohio, the Carols pulled up stakes again and headed for the Quad Cities between Pittsburg and Philly. Guido Bartolomo was an old convenience store and apartment developer. He’d made a few bucks and had a pretty good thing going. Still lived in the ‘50’s Rambler he built for his family. Carol got put in charge of checking on construction and bust’n supplier's and contractor's heads.

In a tightly held family business, Carol fit right in. Tough, Hardworking, Loyal. Guido’s type of Polack,

Guido had a kid, Sonny, who was something of a wild one, comparatively speaking, so the Old Man weren’t too upset when he left the family business and bought a sports franchise, which, due to legal reasons, I cannot reveal. I think it’s still in the family, last I read the Sports Pages, but Sonny got all mixed up in some shady business with the Governor of Louisiana and he had to turn over the team to his brother and The Old Man’s best lawyer and policy maker.

When the old man passed at a ripe old age (in his office at 5am as I'm told, Sonny and Vicktoria took over and suddenly dad's way of thinking didn't fit in anymore.

Carol and Carol moved back to St. Paul and dad got a great VP of construction job at a former short term employer. Got his pension and benefits besides a decent wage, but retirement beckoned and he let when he was vested,

When Carol retired, he and Carol bought a nice solid 50's rambler up Nordeast way in Saint Anthony Village. Neat as a pin in a community that is mostly retired, wealthy blue collar. I think it makes Dad comfortable, as he's still a hardworking working blue-collar kid made good.

Did some consulting for a big bait shop outlet in Detroit, and later another one in close to home down Owatonna way.

Same type of job, making sure things were done right, finished on deadline and under budget. Stores are pretty darn fancy though and the place is going great guns...theyve expanded their offerings to include related gear -- like Joe's Sporting goods on a grander scale. Lots of stuffed game stewn around if you just want to look and not buy.

Stuffed dead animals. Now THAT is what I call "wildlife preservation."

Now he's watching his investments and pensions and so forth. Owns a rental house down there in St. Paul, but with real estate the way it is, not sure if he's making any money and it isn't my place to ask.

Grand Knight, Legionairre, Lion and grandpa for a corral of smart, good look'n grand kids (even mine). that's Carol today. Just don't ask him for money and you'll get along fine.

Ride ‘em Cowboys!


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