A Christmas conversation with Rick Bednarz
ALPENA — Rick Bednarz, of Alpena, was in front of his house on 3rd Avenue on Saturday, preparing his yard for winter.
An eight-year Alpena resident, who moved to the area after many years in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Bednarz took a few minutes away from his afternoon chores to answer a few questions from The News:
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON?
Food. I bake a lot of Christmas cookies. We do the traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner. That sort of thing. There’s a lot of food traditions.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN
PARTICULAR THAT YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS CHRISTMAS?
Staying healthy. It’s something that’s always in the back of your mind. You try not to let it dictate your life too much. But you’re always thinking, “Avoid this, avoid that, wear a mask here.” Just something to be aware of. Hopefully the vaccine is not too far down the road.
HOW DID YOU SPEND
Quiet. We usually go downstate to my brother’s house, but we didn’t do that this year. So I cooked dinner for my mom and we just had a quiet, but nice, very nice, food-centric Thanksgiving. It was good. I was happy.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE
TRADITION THAT WAS PASSED ON TO YOU FROM YOUR FAMILY?
I guess the Christmas Eve dinner. That goes back to my grandparents. They brought all those traditions from the old country. All four grandparents were born in Poland.
Christmas Eve is usually supposed to be fasting and meat fasting. We’re a little bit loose on that. But the traditional meal is pierogies and sauerkraut. My mom and I, we make codfish patties that are kind of like crab cakes but with codfish, deep fried. We usually have those on Christmas Eve. There’s ham baking, but usually we don’t eat the ham. I may sneak a little. And then fresh kielbasa Christmas morning.
IN THIS CRAZY YEAR, WHAT MAKES YOU HOPEFUL?
That next year will be a better year. It certainly can’t get any worse. One good thing is it probably won’t be such a bad flu season because of all the precautions. Hopefully it won’t be such a newsworthy year. It’d be nice if Alpena returns to its quiet, usual self.