Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Marienstadt has a Mayor!!!

In my last post I said that my Pennsylvania Dutch town of Marienstadt needed a mayor and I was open to suggestions. I did not get much feedback on the blog (thanks, Tony Schreiber) but I did get some emails, several suggestions, and we have a winner! The new mayor of Marienstadt is Gilbert "Gibby" Stauffer. He is a forty-something machinist married to Maxine and the father of five grown kids. 

Some of the other characters suggested were so interesting that they may well show up in future stories but right now you are invited to meet Mayor Gibby Stauffer:

There were a lot of days when Gilbert Stauffer—known to everyone in Marienstadt as Gibby—woke up wondering how in the hell he wound up as the town’s mayor. Actually, if he was honest with himself he knew how. He was mayor because of his weakness for pork roast cooked with Mulligan Wolfe’s thick cut sauerkraut and Lola Eckert’s delicious Butterkn√∂dels, all washed down with a frosty bottle of Straub beer—or three, or four. As a young man, Gibby dreamed of a career in sports. He might not have been the smartest guy to graduate from Central Catholic High School but he was the tallest. At six foot five he was the star of the basketball team and was quite sure he was destined for greatness. The problem turned out to be that, while six foot five was towering three decades earlier in Marienstadt, it was not particularly tall in the world of professional basketball.
Gibby made the best of the situation. He went to work in a local machine shop and turned out to be even better at turning, cutting, milling, and grinding than he had been at sinking baskets. He married his high school sweetheart, Maxine, and together they raised five kids. By local standards, they had a better than average life. Once all the kids were grown and flown the coop, Maxine assumed the role of grandmother-at-large, devoting as much time as she could to their growing collection of grandkids, as well as to any other little ones in need of extra attention. She volunteered at the local parks teaching crafts and at St. Walburga’s reading to the pre-school and kindergarten kids. Gibby didn’t mind. It kept her happy and he was equally happy stopping at Fred Sarginger’s Snuff Box or the Moose Club for dinner.
It was the Moose’s weekly Tuesday night pork and sauerkraut dinner that cooked his goose. He had been sitting at the bar with Mulligan Wolfe, off-duty patrolman Dean Ginther, and Mulligan’s brother, Augie, as the coming mayoral elections were being discussed.
“Something’s gotta change,” Augie said, “this town has been run by the same bunch of bullheaded old Dutchmen for way too long. We need a candidate to boot their fat, old asses out.”
“No kidding,” Dean agreed. “The police department can’t do anything without getting called on the carpet. It’s got to change.”
Gibby, who was busy signaling to the bartender for another beer, didn’t notice they were all looking at him.
“What?” he said when he realized no one was talking.
“Perfect,” Mulligan said.
The next thing Gibby knew his name was on the ballot. When election day rolled around, despite the fact that he had done virtually nothing to campaign, he was elected in a landslide. If it could be called a landslide when less than a third of registered voters even bothered to turn out. The few votes his opponent got were exactly the same as the number of adults in his family. Since then, between local fear that the old timers might get back in office and, more significantly, voter apathy, he’d won reelection twice and was beginning to fear he may be condemned to serve as Mayor-for-Life.
“Candy Dippold called three times yesterday,” Max said as she slid eggs onto two plates and arranged buttered toast beside it. His wife, like most woman in Marienstadt was a good down-home cook but he considered her “dippy eggs” to be her finest creation.
“Did he say why?” He picked up a piece of toast and used the corner of it to break through the plump pink yolk unleashing a tiny eruption of glorious, hot, creamy yellow goodness. He stirred the toast around until it was well-coated then closed his eyes and let the delicious flavors fill his mouth with pleasure.
“I’m not sure. He said he’ll be in his store all day if you happen to go by. I’m going over to St. Walburga’s to help in the nursery during ten o’clock Mass.”
“Okay,” Gibby said. “I’ll go see him.”

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