The header picture shows the organizers of Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club when they originally met on June 26, 2010 to organize THMDC. The organizers felt it was important to highlight “Music” as well as “Dance”; therefore both words are in the club’s name. The purpose the club was organized was to help keep the heritage dances and their music going for future generations – not on life support, but going strong. To achieve that, we need musicians and dancers of all ages to embrace this music and dancing as part of who they are as individuals, as having certain heritages, as wanting to use the music and dancing to improve their physical and mental well-being. Thanks go out to each organizer and to each club member! Pictured, from left are: Lee Roy Petersen, John Roberts, Donna Roberts, Rosina Christensen, Karl Micklitz, Catherine (Cat) Radziejewski, Gwen Petersen, Arlyn Visentin, Joyce & Willie Bohuslav. Not pictured: Tom Visentin
We formed the Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club in late June, 2010. Our purpose is to help ensure that couples dancing and their music continue for future generations to enjoy as we do. We need YOUR help! As you know, so many who dance the heritage dances and enjoy the music that goes with that dancing, are getting up in years and are not able to dance as often as they used to, if at all. We need to help the younger folks embrace these dances and music that were brought to Texas by our forefathers. We are talking about polka dancing (Czech, German, Polish, Slavic), country-western, Cajun, western swing, big band, Latin, etc. What a great heritage they are! What a shame it would be to have it die out! Those dances need dancers, bands and halls, and by joining our club and by actually going to dances you can help them continue for future generations! You know how much fun it is, and it certainly is good for your health, both physically and mentally. SO, join our club and help us be sure we leave that heritage alive and well, not on life support! For a mere $12 per person per year you can help, and we’ll do our best to keep you informed through our web site. From time to time we’ll “spotlight” a dance where we encourage club members to join other club members. We also teach dancing to anyone who wants to learn. And, of course, we sponsor our own dances. So far we’ve sponsored two dances. If we get enough members we’d like to be able to sponsor two dances a year. For a membership form, click on “Membership” under the header picture of this web site, then on “Join”, and you’ll be able to print out a form to send in to us with your dues. For more information, you can call us at 936-894-2804. Together we can help ensure that the kind of dancing and music that we love will not only survive, but flourish!
This is a new style of polka dancing that should bring new life to polka dancing. It is a style of polka dancing that will be enjoyed by the young kids and couples in the future. It is a combination of steps in the “one-step”, “two-step” and “four-step” polka dance pattern, but with a lot of Latin style hip and arm action. It can be done in a small space and on any type of floor.
You can do this dance by yourself, with a partner or with a small group. Singles can finally get out on the dance floor and enjoy life. It is unique, in that each person can bring their own creativity to the dance according to their feel of the beat of the polka music. If you will watch people standing in front of a group of bands doing a jam session, some will be doing this style of dancing in front of the band without realizing that they can enjoy this style of dancing regularly at the center, corners or ends of the dance floor away from the regular polka dancers.
Gwen and Lee Roy H. Petersen of Plantersville, Texas created this style of polka dancing on their Caribbean cruise in April, 2011, due the lack of adequate floor space like a regular dance hall. They performed this dance on ship cruises and at every polka dance since, with a lot of attention and pleasure of the audience.
Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxWqN1_cchE to watch Lee Roy do this new dance at a polka dance in Taiton, Tx
Also, click on http://www.funuc.com/?p=402 to see “the horniest man on the earth” illustrating this style of a dance.
So, give it a try the next time you go to a polka or country dance.
The sound of Accordion music is wonderful. If you are interested in buying a good used, refurbished accordion, please click on the “Other” caption and sub-caption “Want2Sell” and check out the accordions offered.
It’s always wonderful to get in two dances over a weekend. More is always great, too, but we’ll always be happy to have at least two. You, too, I’ll bet. This past weekend we enjoyed a special treat on Saturday night with the Happy Cousins Dance Club at the Rosenberg American Legion hall – a delicious dinner that was paid for with our annual dues to this club. I haven’t yet found out who prepared the food, but it was really quite delicious – fried chicken (yes, very hot and very crisp, as if it had just come from the fryer), green bean casserole (which was gone by the time we ate, after most members had already gotten their food), okra gumbo, mashed potatoes, white gravy and brown gravy, bread and tea. Members brought desserts, and the ones I tasted were quite yummy. The desserts were left on the table for non-members to enjoy, so we personally didn’t have to bring any of our dessert home. The band, Odessa, actually started playing their music at a quarter till eight. That was nice since most folks at that time were just visiting and waiting for the music so they could start dancing. This band plays mostly country, but did play a few polkas and waltzes (some of which were country also). Most of the time this band consists of three guitars and a drum set. Occasionally an accordion made a brief appearance, and it was certainly welcomed by us. Anyway, it was danceable music and most of the time the dance floor had quite a few dancers, so that is good. We left about half an hour early because we had to get up earlier than usual on Sunday and we didn’t want to be groggy.
Sunday when we headed to Shelby’s Harmonie Hall for a private dance, the car thermometer showed that it was 84 degrees (much too hot for October!), but by the time we got to the hall it was 75 degrees where it still was when we headed home about 7 PM. Charles & the Fabulous 4 played for us, and that band definitely has risen several notches on the scale where bands are rated. Where is this scale, you ask? Well, I think each of us has one in his or her own head – don’t we? This band mostly plays country, but they do it very well, and they also don’t necessarily play the same songs from gig to gig. They know how to play Czech and German songs as well, even though their repertoire is mostly country. Some of their polkas were really outstanding! It was a really enjoyable dance, and everyone seemed to be having a really good time. I know we did! Good music, wonderful dance floor, good company, and yummy food was shared. What more could you want? I know we were happy when we left. Very satisfied.
We hope you also had a good dancing weekend. If you didn’t, it’s your own fault, for there were certainly plenty of dances from which to choose. Oktoberfest season is in full swing. Anyone can find a dance at this time of year if they want to, so be sure to check the schedules for the halls and the bands and find something you’ll be sure to enjoy. See you soon, we hope.
Most of you know Rose Wilshire, whose significant other is Mike Gest, leader of Moonglow Orchestra and Night Session Band, and who also plays tuba and bass guitar and does great vocals with Texas Legacy Czech Band and with Mark Halata & Texavia. Well, sadly, Rose’s uterine cancer has returned. The prognosis is not good, at Stage 4, but we all know that prayer is a powerful tool, and miracles do happen if it is meant to be. So, if you would be so kind, please include Rose (and Mike) on your prayer list. It would surely be appreciated. Rose is a shining light at dances where she goes with Mike, always so happy to be at a dance, and always with a beautiful smile on her face and in her heart. Please be part of a prayer group for Rose to achieve success in her battle with this disease – and for peace in her heart or whatever you feel is needed at this time.
We took off for Fredericksburg on Thursday for its annual Oktoberfest, always the first weekend in October. It starts on Friday and runs through Sunday. Since we stay several nights we take our little travel trailer along so we can mostly eat food that is not typical festival food (which certainly gets old!). Maybe I should say boring, as well as not usually healthy for folks…..though I’ll surely admit that I like quite a few foods that are not healthy for me, like hot dogs, one of my faves. Friday’s dancing at the Marktplatz starts at 6 PM and stops at midnight. We were quite disappointed in a lot of the band and entertainment lineup this year. For starters, the first band up in the Adelsvereins Halle was one we had never heard, Alpine Village Band, and frankly we hope we never have to hear them again. The first bands in the other venues were not too appealing either, though we’ve always enjoyed Oma & the Oompahs who played in the Main Street Tent. We were unable to leave the Adelsvereins Halle because we were saving seats (and a table) for friends, so we suffered through the exceptionally fast and loud polkas of the Alpine Village Band. They played a few songs other than polkas, but even some of those they played in a very fast polka tempo. The female vocalist was good, but the music that went with her was NOT. What a relief it was when they were finished! The next band up was one of our very favorites, the Sound Connection, led by Gary Kunkel. This band does not have a heavy schedule because some of its musicians have retired from regular playing, and Gary has a very busy work schedule, which doesn’t always have the same hours each week. It’s always such a treat to be able to hear them and dance to their outstanding music. As always, they were kind enough to play one of my very favorite songs, the beautiful waltz, “Tulips From Amsterdam”. Truly, truly beautiful! After the Sound Connection, the Red Ravens set up, and it took quite awhile to get the sound right – lots of attention from the sound engineer – but when they did get started it was very enjoyable, and lots of folks danced.
Saturday we started off in the Kinder Halle, a smaller version of the Adelsvereins Halle. The first band to play was the Cloverleaf Orchestra from New Braunfels, followed by a very good Hermann Sons Mixed Choir which had a rather eccentric, but excellent, maestro. Next up was the always-excellent Jodie Mikula Orchestra from Ennis. At 2:30, rather staying in the smaller halle for the Czech Melody Masters from Austin, we went to the much larger venue (Adelsvereins) to hear and dance to Chris Rybak’s band. Our friend, Mason Nesvadba, who is halfway through his college career, majoring in music with the goal of becoming a school band leader, was playing tuba with Chris’ band. It’s always a pleasure to see this nice young man……and also a pleasure to dance to Chris’ music. Next up was a group called the Schuhplattlers, who perform what is supposed to be entertainment, but we were not impressed. Very little that they do requires any degree of talent. I took some time to leave that area to see if either of our friends we were expecting had arrived. Unfortunately, that did not take up much time, so I had to sit through more of this group. I did, however, happen across a school buddy of Lee Roy’s who now lives in Fredericksburg and who is, with his wife, involved in the volunteer organization that puts on this Oktoberfest. His name is Billy Treude, and he is a retired Methodist minister. Such a nice man, and I was so happy to see him. Lee Roy was so happy about it, too, and immediately came to visit a short while with him. We are talking about a friendship that goes back to first grade. Lee Roy is now 81, so you can do the math….. They were two buddies of a group of 5 or 6 boys who were close friends all through school and beyond. Friends. What a lovely addition to one’s life! After that we heard the Red Ravens again, but when the Walburg Boys came on, we tried to stay and listen, but it just was not appealing. That is definitely NOT a dance band. So, we went to the smaller venue and finished our evening with Czech & Then Some, a very good band from Ennis. Unfortunately, that meant we missed out totally on hearing/dancing to New Braunfels’ Seven Dutchmen, whom we consider good friends. Both Friday and Saturday we enjoyed visiting with, dancing with our friends from Clovis, NM, who had brought their 4 grandchildren who are siblings. These children are 3, 6, 11 and 13, and they all are very capable dancers and love to do it, thanks to Grandma Susie and Grandpa Frank Oborny. Their grandchildren are very well-behaved and pleasant. They always are a big hit with other people at dances, who are amazed to see children this young dancing so well and not only dancing well, but loving it. Isn’t that great??? We also got to visit with our German friend, Egon Spieker, who vacations in Texas each fall at the time Fredericksburg has its Oktoberfest. He has a Harley at home, so he rents a Harley near Houston’s Intercontinental Airport and drives mostly around the Hill Country enjoying both our Texas weather (if not too hot) and our scenery. It was interesting to hear him Saturday night saying about a particular song and the “dancing” that went with it, that “This is just like in Germany, except goes on until 5 or 6 in the morning.”
We had to leave for home on Sunday instead of staying for the final day of Oktoberfest, as we had agreed to teach dancing again this year at Bellville’s O’Bryant Primary School (grades K-3) as a part of their German Heritage Day, which last year and this was divided into two days, on Monday and Tuesday, with different classes each day. We hope that these efforts will result in at least some of the children embracing our heritage dancing as part of what they like to do. At least we try for that.
Now, have you decided what you’ll be doing in the next few days – or should I say where you’ll be dancing? Let’s hope we’ll all be dancing somewhere. If you’re a member of Rosenberg’s Happy Cousins Dance Club, don’t forget that Saturday the members, as part of their annual dues, will be treated to a nice dinner at 6 PM, and members are supposed to bring desserts to share. As always, non-members are welcome to come dance with the members at the American Legion hall at the usual dance time, 8 – 11:30 PM. Other dances will be happening this weekend, so we hope to see you somewhere.
We enjoyed dancing at the annual Hallettsville Kolache Fest at the KC Hall in Hallettsville on Saturday. We couldn’t get there in time for the parade in the AM or in time for the music and dancing to start, but we arrived about 12:30 and shortly went to the small dance floor where the Dujka Brothers were playing, as we had not heard them for too long. It’s always enjoyable to dance to the music of these talented brothers who also are such nice people and interact well with any crowd. On their final piece, Beer Barrel Polka, I danced with a very nice young man, Connor, who is in the 8th grade in Hallettsvile. What a beautiful example of a youngster having been reared right – such a nice young man who also was able to hold a good conversation, and yes, he knows how to polka. Learned it from his mother “in the kitchen”. Way to go, Mom! At the same time, Lee Roy was teaching a friend of Connor’s how to polka. Surely she was able to get at least the basics. Both youngsters had smiles on their faces. And, girls, this young man is going to be a terrific catch for someone. All American looks, clean-cut, great personality, and I’d be willing to bet he’s also a very good student. I’ll look forward to our next Hallettsville dancing to see if Connor is there. After the Dujkas finished their gig, we went back to the much larger dancing area (in the biergarten, they call it) where Mark Halata & Texavia had wound up their first gig, and the Red Ravens were about to play. Mark Halata & Texavia played again at 4 PM after the Ravens had finished, so we got some more of a much-needed “Halata-fix”. Many friends and acquaintances were there, incuding a young lady from Victoria, Cathy, whom we had met last year at Victoria’s Czech Heritage Fest. How lovely it was to see her again. Such a beautiful and friendly lady. Her husband was working that day (he’s a fireman and EMT), so we’ll have to wait to see them both at Wurstfest, where they will celebrate their 11th anniversary. That will be nice! We saw another couple there who had seen us at Wurstfest and who also see us on RFD-TV on the Mollie B Polka Show, and we saw so many other folks that we see quite frequently. I really don’t understand how any folks can enjoy their lives without the pleasure of dancing and the socializing with so many nice folks!
We left the KC grounds just about 6 PM and headed down the road another 14 miles to the Shiner Methodist Church for their annual free dance (their gift to the community) with the Red Ravens playing. They don’t charge any admission, but welcome dancers’ donations of canned goods for the food pantry to assist those in need. The church and its members always have a bounty of food available for everyone to eat, including homemade chicken noodle soup (always delicious), sandwiches, chips, sweets, and cold soda water. A couple of years ago I started bringing some sandwiches to put on the food table. After all, the church and their members are so generous it surely doesn’t hurt to bring something to add to what they’ve provided. It’s always a very nice treat at this event, and we love the folks who make it happen.
We had talked about going to Hostyn on Sunday for their church picnic, but Lee Roy wanted to get the mowing finished and I always seem to be behind in my various chores. So, we decided we needed to stay home. A good and sensible choice, even though we missed hearing the Incredible Music Makers and once more the Dujka Brothers. Maybe next year.
BTW, many thanks to all who offered up some prayers for Lee Roy’s safety when he was repairing our dining room ceiling from Hurricane Harvey rain that made its way onto the 14-foot ceiling from our concrete tile roof. He made the repairs from the top rung of an 8-foot somewhat wobbly ladder, which was on top of our dining room table, whose legs were resting on the equivalent of 2 x 8′s under both pairs of legs, which 2 x 8 equivalents were laying on top of 5-gallon paint buckets. Praise be to God for keeping Lee Roy safe!!! I would really miss that fella if anything were to happen to him. Well, where are we going to see you next? Will it be at Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest? Maybe it will be the next weekend at Rosenberg’s American Legion hall for the monthly dance of the Happy Cousins Dance Club (always open to the public). Well, whether we see you or not, be sure to keep on dancing! We’ll surely see you somewhere down the line.
You know, a battle dance, with two bands alternating time on the stage. It happened at the West KC Hall on Sunday. We had not been there in quite some time. It’s a wonderful place to dance – friendly people, always good music, and usually a delicious dinner ahead of time. We were disappointed this time, though, because in lieu of a dinner to purchase, they had hamburgers and steak sandwiches for sale starting at 2 PM. The hall had foregone their dinner Sunday because nearby, at Tours, they were having their church picnic, and they didn’t want to affect that event negatively. Since we had only had a little bit of fruit for breakfast in anticipation of the dinner we had expected, I munched out on some homemade trash, which held me until we could get burgers. They were good, and we made do with them, but we surely did miss their yummy dinner. Oh, well. Such is life. I do need to lose a little more weight. (Someone I share a home with makes sure I’m aware that I need to lose some more weight – AND exercise!) Actually, I do agree. Anyway, this was the only dance we had for this past weekend, but it was a good one. The dance opened with music by the Jodie Mikula Orchestra. I’ve only found one thing wrong with this band: They are located too far away (in Ennis) for us to get to hear and dance to them very often. It’s always such a pleasure to hear their music! When Lee Roy and I were dating, he told me his two favorite bands were this one and the Lee Roy Matocha Band……and when I heard each of them, I said I could definitely see why they were his faves. When we dance to the Jodic Mikula Orchestra we get a little bit of the Lee Roy Matocha Band because Lee Roy’s daughter, Janice, plays keyboard with the Mikulas. Her hubby, Mike Marek, plays tuba with the Mikulas, so that’s convenient. Janice was a part of her dad’s band that Lee Roy really liked, though back then she played on a piano (which I hope they didn’t have to haul around! :-) She also sang in her dad’s band.
The second band to battle was a genuine country band, Texas Heartbeat Band, led by the very talented (and very nice) Roger Kirby. He and wife Charlene (Charlie) live in Elm Mott, just above Waco, so they play a lot in that area. They also come to plenty of polka dances just to dance (though quite often the band asks him to come up on the stage to sing). He has a wonderful voice. Mostly during their first time on stage we did not dance, as we were munching out on our burgers. When we finished with that, we had to go check out the Texans-Patriots game on the TV in the bar. Lee Roy had checked on it a couple times earlier and the Texans were doing quite well. Unfortunately, in the last minute of the game the Patriots scored a touchdown and won the game 36-33. BUT, no one has a reason to be unhappy with the Texans’ showing, for sure. I do believe they may finally have an excellent quarterback, something they’ve always lacked. So, get behind them, Texans fans! Personally, I’m a real football fan. I think it would be nice if they played their games during the week so we wouldn’t have to miss football when we dance. Hmmm. I wonder how that would go over with the league…..
Just a little note to tell you about the flood damage from the swollen Colorado River that Joe & Pattie Zetka suffered from Hurricane Harvey. Their one-acre property whose back property line is the Colorado River was totally destroyed, with 5 feet of the river in it despite Joe’s having raised the house 20″ after rains from the last couple of years had come too close for comfort. Very, very sadly, Joe lost all of his instruments that were on the property in his studio. That included several accordions, a guitar, and other instruments. In case you aren’t aware, Joe is a very talented musician. He now plays regularly with the Jodie Mikula Orchestra, and Ken Mikula, when introducing the band members, likes to say they haven’t found anything Joe can’t play. I believe that statement is “right on”. He sings quite well, too. So, remember Joe and Pattie and all they’re having to deal with at this time. The best thing about it is that they were not there when it flooded, so they are still alive and well. Thanks be to God.
We hope we will get to see you at Hallettsville’s KC Hall this coming Saturday, the 30th. They’ll be having their annual Kolache Festival, a day-long event with lots of music. Dancing is outside in the covered pavilion, two different locations. It’s always a fun event. After that, the Shiner Methodist Church hosts a free-to-the-public dance with the Red Ravens playing. It’s from 7-11, so you can still get home about the regular time. Take along a can of food for your admission, which the church will donate to needy families in Shiner. It doesn’t hurt to bring some food to share with everyone. It’s not required, nor asked, but we’ve decided it’s something we can do since we help eat the food and drink the drinks (no liquor) that the church members provide. Seating is limited, as this is a popular dance. See you soon! And then it’s October, my favorite month of the year. It usually has a little bit of fall in the air, something I always welcome.
Saturday night we had several choices. It was the 3rd Saturday of the month, which means the Wallis Dance Club was having its monthly dance, and The Twilights were playing. This band is not well-known, as they aren’t able to have many bookings. Yes, a day job usually pays more than playing in a band. The annual Summer Fling held in late August had to be postponed thanks to Hurricane Harvey, and it was rescheduled for September 16. We usually go to that KC2917 off I-45 & Airline on the north side of Houston. It’s a nice evening of dinner, dancing, some drawings including a raffle for various amounts of cash up to $5,000. The Red Ravens play for that. Then there was the first of two Oktoberfest dances at Houston’s Liederkranz which drew a very nice crowd. Mike Gest’s Night Session Band played for that one, to everyone’s delight. We wanted to get a good night’s sleep (read: earlier to bed and later to arise) so that we could arrive at Sealy’s American Legion Hall the next day with plenty of rest to set up the hall for our first of three club dances this fiscal year. BUT, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, there was not a motel room in Sealy available to us, or probably in the entire Houston area. SO, we decided to go to Wallis for their dance and spend the night in our own bed. After all, it’s better to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed if possible, but it’s also usually better to spend the sleep hours in your own bed. The dance at Wallis was quite good. Because of the other dances going on, the crowd was a little light, but not too bad. The music was enjoyable and danceable, and there were plenty of folks with whom to visit. And we got a decent night’s sleep.
Sunday was a very important day, as our club dance, with Charles & the Fabulous 4 was that afternoon, the first dance of our new fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30. We plan to have two more dances this fiscal year, and the second one will be the afternoon of March 11 at the Sealy American Legion hall. We hardly had any seats vacant, and everyone was having a terrific time. Besides that, we put a little money in the bank, which helps to ensure that we can have more dances! How about that? So many folks, both members and non-members, brought items to put in the silent auction. Two Sealy-ites won $137 in the 50-50 pot. That would be Roy and Eugenia Liebscher, who are always willing workers at whatever event. I had passed out the last of our flyers for this dance the night before at Wallis, and lots of those folks came, even though prior to the Wallis dance they had not made plans to come to our dance. Roy even made sure our dance was announced at Wallis. Good things come to good people. Many of the Wallis dancers were swayed to come by the fact that they really like the band, and I must say Charles and his band have really gotten to be good. They mostly play country songs, but they are quite capable of playing waltzes, polkas, Czech songs, German songs, etc., and did so at our dance. I do believe everyone went home very happy. That’s our goal. Give folks more dances so that our dancing can continue in good health, not on life support. That way we help ourselves as well as future generations. Yes, I definitely call our dance a great success.
Looking forward to next weekend, since the Czech Heritage Festival at Victoria was cancelled (once more it was Hurricane Harvey messing things up), it left our dancing plans sort of lean. There is a dance on Sunday at the West KC Hall that sounds very appealing. It’s a battle between a country band (Roger Kirby’s Texas Heartbeat) and a polka band (the Jodie Mikula Orchestra), which are two outstanding bands. The hall always serves a delicious meal as part of their dances, especially the battle dances. The doors will open at 11 AM. Make a note of that, as you don’t want to miss the meal or any other part of it. It’s possibly a little farther than you usually travel to dances, but I’ll assure you it’ll be worth it. Don’t forget that the following weekend Hallettsville’s KC hall has its annual Kolache Festival, followed immediately by the free dance that the Shiner United Methodist Church puts on as its gift to the public, and the Red Ravens will be playing. Isn’t that nice??? They do ask dancers to bring a food item that will help the folks who are struggling. What a deal for everyone! That will happen on Saturday, September 30……so, get ready for more fun! I hope to see you at a dance soon!
Joe Blackmon. Remember that name. If you don’t know Joe and his lovely wife Leona, you need to get to know them. They are very loving people. Not only do they love each other, they also love everyone else. Yes, they genuinely do love other people – AND they don’t mind showing it. We are lucky that these two wonderful friends also are in Lee Roy’s extended family, and it makes me happy to know them and to call them friends. This couple quite often stops off at either Elgin to buy some sausage at Meyer’s or at La Grange to buy kolaches at Weikel’s, to bring to dances where they’ve been invited, because they want to share with others. How generous and loving is that? Now, on Sunday, at Elgin, Joe came and sat beside me and said he was there “on business” and explained that they want to help keep our dancing strong and so they are giving personal checks to dance clubs in our area. With that, Joe handed me a check for $125. I was stunned, but knowing these two lovely people, I should not have been surprised. So, our club’s bank account grew on Monday by $125. Thank you, Joe and Leona!!!!! (Joe and Leona, by the way, are 10-year members of THMDC.) You continue to amaze us and to endear yourselves to everyone!!! God bless, and thank you for your generous, kind, and loving hearts. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in the world were as loving as Joe and Leona? What a beautiful thing that would be! The world would be so much better. One by one, we can do it! Remember to work at helping this world to be more like Joe and Leona! I feel blessed just knowing that I can call them both “friend”.
Sorry to be late getting this missive done, but it seems like I always have more “to do’s” than available time. Does that happen to you? Maybe it’s because I’m getting older??? That’s a good thing, and something I embrace. Who wants the alternative? I’m not ready for it. Yes, I know. It really doesn’t matter if I am ready for it. The One who decides these things will decide it for me when He determines it’s time…..as He does for everyone. Well, the title of this little posting lets you know where we were this past weekend – and it was SO VERY wonderful to be dancing again, and I’ll never complain about 2 dances in a weekend. That’s quite normal for us, and I hope it’s normal for you, too. I was sad to learn just today, though, that Houston’s SPJST #88 has cancelled their annual Czech Day, which we were looking forward to on October 1. It’s my guess they had some damage that will not be repaired in time for this event. It will settle down, in due time. Meantime, we’ll pray for the folks who were so negatively affected by Harvey and also for those who were in the line of destruction wreaked by Irma.
So, on to our dancing. Saturday we enjoyed Al Sulak’s Country Sounds which played at the Rosenberg American Legion for the monthly dance of the Happy Cousins Dance Club. I don’t know who all are cousins. None of them are our cousins, although sometimes one or two of Lee Roy’s second cousins go to that dance with their wives. It’s always nice to see them there. Al Sulak’s band does a very good job, and they don’t waste any time between songs, going quickly from one to the next all night long. Al and his sister, Marie, have excellent voices, by far the best voices in any bands we know. Al’s voice is a deep bass, and Marie reminds a lot of folks of the late Patsy Cilne. It’s always a pleasure to go to a dance when this band is playing, and Saturday was no exception. Next month this club will hold its dance on October 14, and for members they will be having a dinner starting at 6 PM. Members are asked to bring a dessert to share, whatever your little heart desires (and whatever you have time to prepare). I don’t have information at hand regarding which band will be playing, but I’m certain you will like it. Now, if you’re NOT a member of this club, don’t arrive in time for dinner. Only members will be allowed in at that time, one of the benefits of being a member.
Sunday we took off for Elgin’s SPJST #18, to hear Mark Halata & Texavia. Mark has been a member of our club (Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club) for several years, along with Mike Gest, who was the first musician to come to us and want to join our club, and we really appreciated that. Mike, as you may know, plays tuba and bass guitar and does some vocals for Texavia. He also has a “big band”, Moonglow Orchestra, and several smaller bands called Night Session and variations of that name, as well as playing with Texas Legacy Czech Band. That’s another example of how the dancers need the bands and the individual musicians, the halls need the dancers, the bands need dancers and halls in which to play, etc. - SO, if you want to keep on enjoying our dancing, make it a point to support the bands, the halls, and the other dancers, and know that by doing so you’ll not only be able to continue your own dancing, but future generations will also be able to enjoy dancing like we do. It was really wonderful to enjoy the music offered by Texavia, as we don’t get to hear them enough, and they are quite good. It was a pretty good crowd. The dances at Elgin are always 3-7 on Sundays, and of course sometimes they rent out the hall for private parties. It’s a great parquet wood floor at Elgin, easy to dance on, and the people who run the hall and those who go to the hall are always so friendly and welcoming. It’s always a pleasure to be there and to see folks we don’t see too often. Several of our club members were there, including Mark Halata, Mike Gest, Mike’s lady friend Rose Wilshire, Norman Smoot, Linda Maiorana, Patsy Polasek, JoAn Slafka, Joe and Leona Blackmon, and of course Lee Roy and me. I hope I didn’t leave out any of our members who were there. It was SO GOOD also to see new bride (since early May) Jennifer Weber Kaluza and her husband, Brandon, and we also got to wish “Happy Birthday” to our friend from Granger, Glynis Harfmann. Glynis’ husband, Walt, has taught her to play the accordion and also taught the aforementioned Patsy Polasek. It was with great pleasure that we heard (and saw) them all three play with the band for two or three songs.
One thing I don’t want to fail to mention is that Rose Wilshire who was mentioned in the preceding paragraph, and who is a member of our club, has been diagnosed recently with uterine cancer for the second time in less than a year. SO, please keep her in your prayers both for going through chemo again and for having a positive outcome. If you don’t have her address and would like to send her a card, I’ll be glad to send her address to you if you’ll send me an email asking for it. I haven’t met a single person yet who can’t benefit from prayers, and I believe most people appreciate that other folks care enough to want to pray for them. For sure, it doesn’t hurt to offer up prayers, whether for yourself or for someone else. I thank you for caring.
Now, don’t forget that we have our next club dance on Sunday, September 17. Yes, that’s this coming Sunday. The doors at the Sealy American Legion hall will open to the public at 1 PM, and the dance iss from 2-5:30 PM. The very popular Charles & the Fabulous 4 will be playing for us. They mostly play country music, but have agreed to play 6-8 waltzes, 6-8 polkas, and some Czech songs, sung in Czech. They are quite capable of doing this, so whatever your favorite type of music is, they can do it. Maybe not rhumbas and other Latin music, but most anything you’ll hear at a “polka dance”. The American Legion hall is right next door to McDonald’s on Hwy. 36 (the main drag through Sealy), and across the street from the very popular Tony’s Restaurant. We hope to see you there! AND…..I’ve already made some dewberry jelly and peach, pecan & amaretto jam for the silent auction, and will be making a poppyseed cake as well as one or two batches of candy – Pecan Candy To-Die-For and/or pecan pralines. Yum!!! I’ll try not to bribe Lee Roy into bidding on them to bring them home. Still need to lose several more pounds! BUT – YOU could make the winning bid and take something home with you! See you Sunday, I hope!!!
For dancers, Harvey came at a very bad time. Hey, who wants to dance not even ONE time during a week or weekend??? Surely not us, and most likely not you either! Then along comes September and although we planned to go to the dance at Eagle Lake’s Community Center (always the first Friday of the month), the Supaks, who have made sure this dance continues for the past 25 years, decided the wise thing would be to cancel the dance, and I certainly concur. They wanted to be sure none of the dancers encountered any flood problems en route to or from the dance, and as we’ve seen on TV several more times in recent days, driving in the dark when flood waters could be around is a quick way to leave this earth. For myself, I’m not feeling ready for that – though I definitely recognize that I am not the one who will be making that decision when the time does come! Anyway, we had been looking forward to dancing to the music of Lost Cause once again, but it was not to be this time. That disappointment came on the heels of the prior weekend when both dances we had planned to enjoy were canceled, thanks to the now-infamous Harvey! That was Saturday’s (August 26) annual Summer Fling fundraising event (dinner/dance/raffle) at KC2917 on the north side of Houston, just off I-45 and Airline. It’s always such a fun event, and the Red Ravens always play for it. It’s been going on for many years. Then the dance we had planned to attend on Sunday was also canceled, a dance at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall that we had been invited to. We had been looking forward to that partly because the dance floor at Shelby is such a wonderful one, and partly because we had not danced to the music of Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5 in quite some time, and of course because we could visit again with friends we don’t see as often as some others……but, clearly, it was not meant to be. The flood waters had closed many roads, as you know, including the road we take from Brenham to Shelby. No, I’m not ready to leave this earth yet, and hope it’s not that way when it does happen.
Because we had missed so much dancing we were really eager to get to Sealy’s American Legion hall on Saturday (September 2). It was a lightly attended dance, but we are happy that some folks did make it there. After what seemed like far too many days inside, we and some others were glad to get out of the house and back onto a dance floor. Some of our friends who were there also were planning to attend the church picnic today at Hallettsville and possibly the one at Fayetteville. For our part, Lee Roy wanted to get some more work done in the yard (picking up after you-know-who, whose name starts with an “H”…., and hopefully getting a little mowing done before the next rain arrives). And for myself, I find I am really late in getting some more dances on the schedule, so no dancing for us today! The dance was a good one, and everyone there seemed to have a good time. The Country Knights played for us, and most of the music sounded good to our ears, especially Craig Schmidt’s steel guitar playing and his vocals. With this band, there were some exceptions, but mostly the music was appealing, and after all, each of us has our own ideas about what’s good and what’s not. Keep an eye on the dance schedule, as some of this weekend’s church picnics had to be either canceled or rescheduled. It would be a shame to drive some distance to go to one and find it isn’t happening when you thought it would.
Don’t forget that our own club dance will be in two weeks. It’ll be on Sunday, September 17, at the Sealy American Legion hall from 2-5:30 PM (so you can get home before dark, or at least be in familiar territory when dark-thirty comes). The band will be the very popular Charles & the Fabulous 4, so be sure to come! Naturally, members are free. Non-members will be paying only $5 each. It’s definitely better to be a member! For one thing, your dues help keep our dancing alive and well, and for another thing we are planning to have THREE DANCES this fiscal year! We are stretching your “dues dollars”! If you haven’t paid your dues yet, you can pay them at the dance. If you’re not already a member, you are certainly welcome to join! God bless! See you soon.
I never was a fan of the name Harvey, and now I have a darn good reason not to like it. That storm caused us NOT to be able to dance this past weekend. Well, I guess we were actually ABLE, but where we had planned to dance it was not available. Cancelled. No music, no halls, no fellow dancers – but at least we stayed safe and hope you did, too. The dance we had planned on going to actually was a dinner and a dance (and more), but with the expected arrival of Hurricane Harvey into our immediate area, the folks in charge at KC 2917 in Houston’s north side were wise enough to reschedule that annual fundraiser for Saturday, September 16. How fortunate they were to be able to book the Red Ravens for that date! The Ravens play for that event every year, so another band just wouldn’t do! That darn hurricane shows no signs of going away; let’s hope it doesn’t cause a repeat of the rescheduling! That’s nearly 3 weeks away – technically, I guess it’s 2-1/2 weeks away, so it’s pretty unlikely that Harvey will cause another reset of that event. We hated that we had to miss out on the free dance the Jodie Mikula Orchestra held up in Ennis, celebrating their 5oth anniversary as a band. They are an excellent band, and very nice folks, and it would have been really nice to help them celebrate. We heard that it went off well, so congratulations are in order!
I called Saturday evening to find out if the private dance scheduled for Sunday at Shelby was still on, and at that point it was. But, again thanks to Harvey, I got a call at 8 AM on Sunday saying that the dance had been cancelled. In fact, the road we take from Brenham to Harmonie Hall (FM 389) was closed to traffic. Lee Roy and I had discussed that very possibility on Saturday night because it’s a curvy road with lots of ups and downs. We had decided that it was very unlikely that we would want to take a chance on trying to get there. With Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5 scheduled to play, we were looking forward to it, as I’m sure others were. As always, better safe than sorry. So, that is the sad tale this week. We hope you were not too adversely affected by the hurricane and its aftermath. More is still to come as of this writing, but maybe our area has seen the worst of it.
Friday is the start of a new month – so soon! Yes, September will be here very shortly. You’ll have one last chance for dancing in August, which is at the American Legion Hall in El Campo on Thursday from 7:30-10 PM, with Charles & the Fabulous 4 playing. Also on Thursday you can dance in Waco at the Sul Ross Center to the excellent music of Roger Kirby & Texas Heartbeat from 7-10 PM. Then Friday, September 1, Eagle Lake will host a dance, and Lost Cause will be playing variety music from 8-11 PM at the Community Center, directly across the street from the library. Also Friday you can dance to Brave Combo at Arlington’s Levitt Pavilion or in Bandera Jeff Woolsey’s band will entertain; in Boerne Billy Mata will be at the Kendall County Fair; in La Grange the Fayette County Fair will have various bands starting at 4 PM. More dancing and music will be going on at Granger’s Cotton Club, and there’s a bluegrass festival at Salmon Lake Park in Grapeland. And, of course, Friday will be day 1 of the annual Westfest at the Fair & Rodeo Grounds in West. Lots of choices!