Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A rabbi, a sculpture, & some Weasels walk into a bar

How cold was it this morning in Cleveland?  Cold enough that it was snowing when we left the coffee shop and opted not to go see the shoe tree in a cemetery that we'd read about. We're just not that tough!  So we took our act indoors to the home of Rabbi Sidney Rackoff, an 89 year old who took up sculpting twenty five years ago.  Sidney greeted us warmly and invited us in, though his 91 year-old wife Regina wasn't quite so sure.  "How do I know you're not going to kidnap him," she asked.  We volunteered to show her how cramped the van is, and convinced her that we may be a pain, but we're hardly a threat.
Sid's made some fabulous metal pieces over the years, some quite large.  He displays them in front of office buildings and schools, gas stations and gardens.  People see them that way, he figures, many more than would see them in museums or high dollar galleries.  It's not about the money, clearly.  It's the joy of making and sharing his art, the person to person experience he's had with a wide swath of Clevelanders who in one way or another have helped make it possible.  Regina apologized profusely for not feeding us, but the time was needed for chasing the two of them all over town to see his handiwork.  Sure enough, as promised, people at the sculpture sites came out to hug the artist and say hello.  Very cool, very good for the soul.
We left Cleveland thinking that overall the town's had a bad rap.  There's some amazing architecture, cool, funky neighborhoods and nowhere near the desolation of say, Detroit.   Our route out took us down the Ohio Turnpike to Toledo.  Destination Tony Packo's.  If that sounds familiar, it might make you a Mash-a-phile.  Corporal Klinger mentioned it on the show eight different times.  That's fine, but the lure for us can be attributed to Burt Reynolds.  Back in the late 70's he signed a Packo hot dog bun, and launched a tradition.  Celebs as varied as Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Dole, Frank Zappa and Joan Rivers (along with 500 or so others) have inked one of the fake buns that decorate the old restaurant's walls.  Apparently their standards of "celebrity" are slipping.  Caleb, the most agreeable manager ever, offered to let us into the club too.  He's now the proud owner of a Big Ball T-Shirt, and we took home plenty of Packo-bilia...

Music In the Van--John Hiatt's new one (can't remember the name)
Don had a nice run finding money in inner-city Cleveland, but he never told me eactly how much.  Must be getting close to $3.00 for the trip by now.

1 comment:

Brian - Sidney's Great Nephew said...

Love it, thank and check out