Beggars and Champagne

Milwaukee seagulls

Once upon a time, there was a magical land far, far away named Milwaukee. It was a land filled with beggars and champagne…

…at least in my eyes, the starry eyes of a non-native.

Before I moved here I led a previous life in Dallas, and a previous-previous life in SoCal. At a young age, Wayne’s World taught me that Milwaukee was Algonquin for “The Good Land”.

Hey, I thought it must be an alright place if Alice Cooper and the Native Americans said so.

Other than that, people told me it was a land of cheese and beer. Seriously, this is all I once knew.

When I first met my Milwaukeean paramour in Dallas, we interrogated each other – as we all do during the dating phase – and naturally we confessed our first dreadful jobs.

Quite casually, he said, “I used to be a beggar.”

Red flag!

“A beggar?” I asked, batting my eyelashes and trying my darnedest to stay open-minded, because man oh man was I smitten!

“You know…at the grocery store.”

Light bulb.

“Oh, a BAGger! You bagged groceries.”

Phew!

“That’s what I said.”

No you didn’t.

It turns out the letter “a” is pronounced a little differently in the Midwest.

We had a good laugh over that…obviously. And, me and my far-from-bumming beau got hitched and moved to Milwaukee, the good land.

*Read the rest of the story over at OnMilwaukee.com (I was invited to write a “Readers Blog” at On Milwaukee, so it would be awesome if you guys could stop by their place…I promise there are more laughs with this kooky tale.)

15 thoughts on “Beggars and Champagne

  1. T. W. Dittmer says:

    Look at you go! Nicely done.
    Champagne drinking fountains. The stuff dreams are made of. 🙂
    Milwaukee has a lot more than beer and cheese, you know. Milwaukee has Britt Skrabanek… and the Bucks. 😉
    It’s also where I raised my right hand and joined the army.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Ha, thanks! And, that was very sweet of you to include me with the Bucks. : )

      And, interesting tidbit about you! Also, I’m halfway through The Valley…it’s really awesome, Tim. Really.

      • T. W. Dittmer says:

        Yep. Milwaukee is where I joined up. Signed the papers in Beloit, WI and went through in the big city.

        Halfway through Walker already? Glad you’re liking it, Britt.

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Visions of Big Rock Candy Mountain from my youth there, with the soda water fountains. And my knowledge of Milwaukee is now expanded beyond the Rod Stewart record, thank you Britt.

  3. Zen A. says:

    Ahahaha, red flag indeed. I can’t blame you for your relief! I would’ve been taken aback too. That’s a priceless story; thank you for sharing, Britt!

  4. 4amWriter says:

    Oh boy, do I know what you mean about the differences in pronunciations from state to state. My husband and his family pronounce ‘across’ as ‘acrosst’. I can’t stand it!

    Your story is precious, it made me smile.

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