And now, for a most unhappy tale of Scandinavian-American woe. It wasn’t planned that way. It just … well, allow me to explain.
As summer reluctantly gave way to to season number three, The Swedish Cultural Society of Cleveland was preparing for the annual Kräftskiva. Limited to 30 participants, all seemed in order and ready to go. Program Chairman Ingemar Svala volunteered to order sufficient quantities of the miniature crustaceans, prepare them as done back home in the old country and bring a monster container filled with the tasty little morsels to the celebration. That was the plan.
Twenty-seven kilos of live crawdads were ordered from a favorite company located in Louisiana, with delivery to be made Friday, the day prior to the affair. Ingemar acquired the various accoutrements, and everything was ready.
At the home of Aina Lustig, the site of meeting, eating and perhaps a sampling of O.P. Anderson, all was also in readiness. Lanterns were hung. Tables and chairs arranged. Swedish meatballs cooked. Cheeses, salads, limpa and other goodies at the ready. We were set for the feast.
Friday, at the previously appointed hour, came nothing. Ingemar had a tracking number, so every four hours throughout Friday night he called the airline and airport to be informed: “No delivery from Louisiana.”
To shorten this fairly lengthy and convoluted scenario, no one knew of the fire in the Chicago Air Traffic Control Center which really wouldn’t have mattered as the shipment came not from Louisiana but from Seattle, Washington, and rather than shipping on Thursday, the shipper shipped on Friday. This got the subject of our collective cravings to Cleveland Saturday night — after we had cancelled.

By Arthur F. Lustig

P.S. On Sunday, Ingemar received a call from a somewhat unhappy worker at the cargo area of Southwest Airlines who wanted to know what they should do with a rather large, evil smelling container. There could be only one tearful reply. Dump it!

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