Karaoke and Pasties

Like most Americans, my family comes from all over. They were immigrants, unwanted by both the countries they came from and the one they settled in. The only ones I know who were actually invited were Cornish, brought over to work the copper mines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In Forever Wolf, Eyulf works at a bar in the Upper Peninsula called The Last Place on Earth. There is actually such a place near Calumet, but it sells bric-a-brac, not beer. But not so far away there is—at least, was—a bar with a Pasties and Karaoke night.

My grandmother (née Pascoe) made pasties, not fancy ones with lots of meat and a little vegetable. More like this one: a little meat for flavoring and a lot of potato and a bit of onion. I never saw a carrot in a pasty and think it’s an abomination. Ketchup was the only color allowed near it.

She was a silent woman who had known a great deal of poverty, but by the time I was on the scene she was able to afford the things she loved: books, the Detroit Tigers, a bottomless quart of daiquiri kept cooling in the fridge and the endless packs of cigarettes in her sweater pocket.

She indulged in the latter while playing a board game called “Pass Out” that apparently still exists to the chagrin of parents of teenagers. It is a drinking game requiring players to tipple or smoke until they were no longer able to read the tongue-twisters required to advance.

I played with orange juice and pretzel sticks. She played with an adamantine liver and lungs that turned out to be more fragile.

I miss her.

And I miss her pasties. Anyone with a good recipe, would you consider passing it along? No carrots, please.

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