If you live in the Twin Cities and can possibly swing by and throw some cash down at this event you would be doing a very good thing. Danny is an old friend and a great human being. We met at the bookstore we both worked at in the 90s. Shortly after we both started we were hauling boxes of books in and out of this bookfair and sitting down for a break Danny motioned his flask towards me as if to ask if I wanted a swig. Needless to say we hit it off.
So Danny has blood cancer now and needs help. Danny's mom is not in the best of health and Danny has been taking care of her in recent years. Danny and his mom live 9 houses down from Danny's sister and her 3 kids in an old Minneapolis neighborhood. Reasons to love Danny - he's half Luxembourgian; his Christmas parties held at Paddy's apartment were the most famous and best ever in the history of the city of Minneapolis - literally hundreds of people showed up over the 16 or so hours the party would go on; Danny taught me how to drink (things other than Keystone and Jim Beam), to smoke (Canadian cigs as well as Drummies back when they were still good) and to eat (the man insisted on a proper breakfast of bread baked that morning, cheese, and meat - sometimes it seemed like our old boss Tom didn't appreciate us having breakfast at the bookstore every 9:30am); he used to drag me all over MN in the old VW he was always working on - my job was to hold the heater near the window so as to make a small patch that could be seen through; he is a great polka dancer, or so says my wife; Danny's mom Shirley is one of the sweetest women you will ever meet and watching Danny make her hot Jameson with honey when her cough is bad in winter is downright Dickensian; Danny is the consummate working man's working man - he's spent the last decade cooking in a college cafeteria (he always wanted to be a chef, and is a fantastic cook, but never got to culinary school), worked at a bookstore before that, did some maintenance work, that sort of thing - but beyond that he is just that sort of man Belloc imagined but could never himself really understand, Danny is one of the last true working class blokes - not so keen on aspiration but having nothing against it - I don't know that I know of any other human being whose life is less "My Life: The Movie" than Danny - he is a man with no guile; how many other people do you know who spent a week each January winter camping in self-made igloos on MN's boundary waters, ending that week with a party which would draw 75-100 people coming up from the Cities to drink at the bar Danny and friends made of snow and ice? The man is one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. The link notes him as a "behind the scenes" guy, which is definitely true of Danny, but I have never in my life known a "behind the scenes" sort of person who had endeared himself to so many people and who had so many friendships that rose above the superficial. Danny is a gem.
So please, if you are in the Cities and can make it, go and buy a few drinks at St. Helena's for Danny. If you can't do that, but are feeling especially charitable, email email@example.com and ask her how to donate some cash straight to Danny's cancer fund. Thanks.