Mother’s Day and Polka Music

When I was growing up, my Mom played polka music every Sunday before Mass. I lived in central New York State, and there were a number of ethnic radio programs from the various Syracuse, Utica and Rome stations. With a relatively large Polish-American populatiion, there were a few hours of polka programming each Sunday.

Mom used to wake me up to that way. Like clockwork, every Sunday at 8:30AM I’d be contentedly sleeping in my bed, and then WHAMMO!!!!, flung a few feet in the air to the riotous sounds of “In Heaven There is No Beer, That’s Why We Drink it Here,”  “Roll Out the Barrel,”  “I Don’t Want Her You Can Have Her, She’s too Fat for Me,” and various other classic polka tuneskis.

Needless to say I grew to dislike polka music. Until 2006, my first Mother’s Day without Mom. On that day, I did an odd thing. I felt compelled to hunt down a radio station that played polka music. I still lived in central New York, and many of the stations that Mom listened to were still on the air with polka programming. I found one and played it. 

I listened to polka music for the first time in over a quarter century. And…

…I liked it! It was nostalgic for me and also therapuetic. The healing process that I needed after her death in November 2005 was really helped along.

Polka music is routinely derided and dismissed by people. But, screw ’em. It is toe-tappin’ “happy music.” A great cure for depression. So, it all sounds the same. So does rap and  pop.

I think I’ll go to the living room, turn on the stereo, and blast a local polka station. As I now live in the Buffalo, New York area, with a larger Polish-American population than central New York has, it wasn’t hard. And there are online streaming polka stations, too! My wife is still sleeping, so it might wake her up! I’m sure she’ll appreciate the old family tradition. 😉



NOTE: This is a “retropost,” a post from an old blog I wrote on “The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven (& Purgatory) and Hell” that I shuttered a few years ago. Individual posts are being transferred to either In Exile or Sober Catholic, whichever seems appropriate. Some are backdated, others postdated, in case you’re confused as to why you never saw a particular post if you’re a diligent reader. The process should be completed by early 2022.


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One Comment

  1. I live in Wisconsin, German-American country. We have polka music every Sat, morning on the local radio station, which I listen to on the way home from Mass. Very up-lifting, as you said. We even have polka masses in the summer, something I am not fond of. Even though the wording of the songs is somewhat spiritual, the beat is there.

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