Let's Make it Official
by David Trumbull
February 22, 2001
Did Lenny Gomulka finally win his Grammy Award? You know by now. But as I write, the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony is still a few days away, and I can only speculate and wait. This year Ludlow, Massachusetts entertainer Lenny Gomulka and his band Chicago Push garnered a tenth Grammy nomination for his latest album "Mi Lenny Um." This nomination, as the prior nine, was in the Grammy polka category. Yes, the polka category. Hey folks, I don't--can't--make this stuff up!
Personally, I'd like to see them add more categories of Grammy Awards. How about a new fusion category for best punk polka? It would be custom-made for the Hamtramck, Michigan band the Polish Muslims and their big mid-1980s hit--big and hit both being relative terms--"Love Polka Number Nine."
Or how about best state polka anthem? You've heard of the "Pennsylvania Polka", but how about "Say Hello To Someone In Massachusetts", the official polka of the commonwealth (see Mass. General Laws Chapter 2 Section 44). For the lyrics and a downloadable wave recording of "Say Hello To Someone In Massachusetts", visit Gomulka's website www.chicagopush.com.
"Say Hello" was one of the most recent additions to the list of official state emblems, a list that includes "All Hail to Massachusetts", the song of the commonwealth. Bay Staters (the official designation of citizens of the commonwealth, see MGL Chap. 2 Sec. 35) are a musical lot judging by the range of state songs. We have an official ceremonial march, "The Road to Boston"; an official patriotic song, "Massachusetts (Because of You Our Land Is Free)"; and an official glee club song, "The Great State of Massachusetts."
Our official state folk song, "Massachusetts", was written by Arlo Guthrie. Remember Guthrie? That's OK, no one but a few National Public Radio-type wimps remember him. They like to remind us that he was a very controversial person due to his beliefs in unpopular causes such as peace and justice. Bonus points to anyone who knows the tune and words to even one of these official songs. Oh, we are also dancers, the square dance being the official folk dance of Massachusetts.
Bay Staters, when making merry with music, also like to eat and drink.
With our cod, the official fish emblem and symbol of the commonwealth, we eat corn muffins (official muffin) and baked navy beans (official bean). We finish the meal with Boston cream pie (official dessert) or with cookies, chocolate chip being the official variety. Wild turkey is not, I discovered, the official amber-colored liquid, served on rocks with a splash. It is, in fact, our official state game bird, served with our official berry.
The cranberry, by the way, is doubly honored--in its berry state, and as the official beverage of the commonwealth. But what about apple juice? After all, Johnny Appleseed is the official folk hero of the commonwealth. He joins Deborah Samson, who fought in the War of Independence, and who is the official heroine of the state.
Official Beverage indeed! What about Moxie? Or Sam Adams! Pass me a cold one. And while your at it, put on the "Beer Barrel Polka."
[David Trumbull is Chairman of the Cambridge Republican City Committee.]