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.
Well, that’s not a great statement.l They’re all lovely for dancing, aren’t they? No matter the weather or whatever, it’s always a good time to dance! We started our week’s dancing a tad earlier than usual this past week, on Thursday, as it was the polka show at the Bluebonnet Opry in Brenham. First, we treated ourselves to the absolutely delicious hamburgers they serve before the program. Then we went to sit in our seats (and visit with folks – like JoAn Slafka, one of our club members). It was nice to see her there, as well as one of her sons, and a nice gentleman from College Station, Arnold. The guest artists for this polka program (the other one is their May program) were Al Sulak, Danny Zapletal (who was accompanied by David Czarnek, who leads the Texas Dutchmen band and also plays in the band Danny leads, Czech and Then Some), and Tim & Alicia Kulhanek. Tim formed the band Lost Cause and he also plays with Central Texas Sounds. If was a very enjoyable program, and we also very much enjoyed visiting with folks we had never met as well as people we know quite well. Lots of couples were dancing this evening. That was nice to see. We always try to be sure to make the opry’s polka programs, and since this is one opry where they don’t mind if you dance, that certainly makes it attractive to us! You should try to make it sometime. Even if it’s not a month for them to feature polka, they have a very good show, and it helps to benefit the hospice in Brenham.
Have to go to a doctor’s appointment, but I’ll be back with more dancing fun!
The scientists have been promising us cloning for several years now. We’re still waiting with bated breath. Without it, we simply cannot make it to more than one dance at any given time – and there are so many dances to choose from that we really do need cloning. Let me know if you learn that it’s actually here. Some of the dancing and music we didn’t get to enjoy this weekend included the Friday and Saturday goings-on at the La Grange Fairgrounds, organized by the Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center. Friday night included performances by the always-wonderful Dujka Brothers, and on Saturday was the “grand finale” (retirement) performance of the Donnie Wavra Orchestra, which we heard was absolutely the best ever! I was told that band really went out in style. We all will miss them terribly. I even heard that John Dujka was having such a great time that he was “conducting” their performance from out in the audience! There were not enough exclamations of excellence to describe the music – and the emotions that surely went with it, both for the musicians and for the audience. Wish we could have included that in our weekend activities. We also did not get to enjoy Needville’s Harvest Fest, which we’ve gone to several times in the past. They had two polka bands, Al Sulak’s Country Sounds (and polka, etc.) and Texas Sound Check.
We did have a full weekend (there never seems to be enough time to do all that we need and/or want to do), and I spent a great deal of my time in the kitchen. I usually don’t mind cooking, etc., but it was more than I would want to do in most weekends. It was worth it, though, making some yummy chicken salad (and later, chicken salad sandwiches), a poppyseed cake, and a fresh apple cake. We took some of the sandwiches (and potato chips) to the club dance at the Wallis American Legion hall on Saturday and shared it with friends. Central Texas Sounds played there, and we thought they started off somewhat slow, which is atypical for them – but they really got it together quite well in the latter part of the dance, even playing a very peppy “Buck’s Polka” (which is Lee Roy’s ring tone). Only about 3 couples danced to that, but we certainly enjoyed it! We also enjoyed seeing a family there that we’ve seen several times before, parents and two young boys. The older boy, Casey, is in 5th grade, so that would mean he’s 10 or 11. He danced with various women, going to ask them to dance, dancing, and returning them to their seat. Very gentlemanly! What a pleasure it was to see him fully embracing this thing called dancing! He readily got into line for the mixer. Late in the dance, after Lee Roy had prompted him to ask me to dance, he did come and ask me and I happily did so. With great enthusiasm he told me that he “loves to dance”. That made me SO happy! What a treasure he is. Let’s all encourage him to continue loving to dance. We need all the youngsters we can get. You may recall that our club, Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club, gives free memberships to full-time students from kindergarten through their senior year of college. We all need to encourage the youngsters to embrace this heritage! It’s much too good to be lost after our generation.
We got into bed about 1:30 (typical for a Saturday night dance), and got up eagerly Sunday morning for the sponsored dance at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall, where Charles & the Fabulous 4 had been hired to play. Lee Roy and I didn’t used to like this band, as they are definitely a country band with very few polkas & waltzes of the Czech genre, but this band has improved greatly with the addition of Martha, who plays guitar and does wonderful vocals. In all honesty I must say the music was really wonderful and we and all our friends had a terrific time. It was kind of sad when the party came to an end……but we did have one more thing on our agenda for Sunday: football. The Texans were playing to a national audience. We missed out on the beginning of the game, and the Texans quickly fell behind, then farther behind. They actually did finally make a touchdown, but the kicker failed to make the point after, never a good thing. Late in the 4th quarter the Texans seemed to wake up (although a fellow on the Texans’ offense, named Miller, was having a very good day). Before the Texans woke up, they were down 23-9, and there were only about 3 minutes left in the game. No hope, right? Wrong!!! The Texans really did wake up – made two more touchdowns (including the points after) and tied the game with about 34 seconds left. The opponents (the Colts) were unable to score in that time frame, so it went into overtime. In pro football that means whichever team scores first wins the game. Uh-oh. The Colts won the toss and naturally chose to receive the ball. Fortunately, they were unable to score, so it was time for the Texans to try to beat the odds. Well, the Texans’ quarterback, Osweiler, threw a long pass WAY downfield, right near the sideline, and it was caught by the Texans player (with a defender right there, too – and I do mean right there!). Bottom line: The Texans kicked a field goal, winning 27-24 in OT. What a way to end the game – and our day! Successful all around!
Do you know that we really lucked out in 2016 and have an October with 5 weekends in it? Yes, a full 5 weekends in October this year. That means we have already used three of those weekends, but it also means we have two full weekends left this month. SO, you have plenty of chances to enjoy our music and dancing. Check the dance calendar (yes, I plan to add more October dances this week) and decide where you will be enjoying dancing this coming weekend. Then, the last weekend of October, on Sunday the 30th, we have our next club dance at the Sealy American Legion hall. It’ll be from 2-5:30 (but the doors open at 1 o’clock), and we will be featuring the outstanding music of the very popular Dujka Brothers. That’s definitely something you don’t want to miss! Members get in free; nonmembers will pay a very nominal $5 per person, AND those under 18 years of age, when accompanied by their parents and/or grandparents are admitted FREE. Hey, if you know Casey, be sure to bring him along!!! His brother, too. See you soon, God willing.
Did you take advantage of the fallish weather we had over the weekend? It’s been nice, and we’ll happily take it when it’s given. I saw the weather forecast last night, though, and they say we have a heat wave coming today that we’ll have for about 10 days. So much for a lovely October, which usually is my favorite month of the year.
We considered going to Eagle Lake’s Community Center Friday evening for their “first Friday” dance, but we had so many things that have fallen behind here at home that we decided to stay home and get at least some of them done. We heard that the music by This Is It was excellent. That’s good. I hope they had a good attendance.
We did get to Rosenberg’s American Legion Hall on Saturday evening for the monthly dance of the Happy Cousins Dance Club, which is always welcoming to members of the public. Odessa played for us, but they had two new band members, plus a couple of amp problems, and the music was very lacking. Had it not been for Richard Stade doing plenty of vocals we may have left much earlier than we did. We hope they get their problems resolved so we AND they can enjoy their music next time. By the way, this club recently elected new officers and enlisted the help of 4 couples to “run the show” at the dances. They could use more members, so consider joining when you go to their dance. Memberships run from September through August, and they will pro rate your dues since you’ll be joining later than the beginning of the year. Of course, members of the public are certainly welcome, but if you think you’ll be at this dance fairly often it will definitely make sense for you to become a member.
Thanks to friends for offering to let us sleep in an extra bedroom on Saturday night, as we were planning to go to East Bernard’s church picnic Sunday. Much better than going all the way home to Plantersville and then turning around and going to the same direction and approximately the same distance the next day. Lots and lots of folks make this church picnic, and it didn’t hurt at all that they had hired two wonderful bands to play music in the afternoon, the Dujka Brothers (remember, they’ll be playing at our next club dance on Sunday afternoon, October 30) and the Red Ravens. We were fortunate enough to get there before almost everyone and were able to save an entire table. Of course, this didn’t mean that all our friends could sit there, as we have more friends than that……and of course some had arrived with other friends at a time that our table had limited space remaining. But, I think everyone had a good time there. We definitely did. Mid-October is here, so be sure to get in your fair share of dancing! Plenty of options are available.
We’re having a different type of dance experience this week, participating in the German Heritage Day that is planned each fall at the O’Bryant Primary School in Bellville. The music teacher makes elaborate plans for the entire school for this event, and invites various folks to participate in helping the students learn a few things about German heritage. We’ve participated for about 6 years now, demonstrating dancing (wearing some of our German attire) and also doing some teaching. Of course, the students at this school are in grades K-3, so we have to keep the teaching simple. It’s great to see how eager they are to participate! Maybe in a small way some of the students will grow to embrace the heritage dancing and music as a part of “who they are”. That would be nice for them as well as for helping carry the heritage forward to future generations! That’s all for now. We hope to see you at a dance or two later this week.
During the recent Oktoberfest at Fredericksburg, because a friend who is on blood thinner cut himself, and because another friend who is a dentist was at the festival, we learned of a very important first aid tip. Any time you cut yourself, especially if you have a hard time stopping the blood flow, take a tea bag, wet it, and place it directly onto the cut. The water that you use to wet the tea bag will activate the tannic acid in the tea and will stop the bleeding. How about that? Thanks, Dr. Debbie! (She suggests carrying a tea bag – or maybe more than one – in your first aid kit.) Maybe in your first aid kit, in your purse, in your dance bag, in the glove compartment, etc. You don’t have to thank me for passing along this excellent information. Just be sure to get some tea bags into places where they will do you some good if they are needed.
Glorious, glorious autumn!!! Of course, we still have plenty of summer-type weather ahead of us. Enjoy all the cooler temps we get – and all the dancing we can get. We really lucked out with Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest this year. Of course, all the dancing is done without any air conditioning – but the weather was almost perfect for that. A little warm, but not too bad. At one point on Saturday I decided it was not cool enough to dance in open air facilities yet, so I did the best I could and shed my pantyhose. Much better! We actually left for Fredericksburg on Thursday, pulling our little travel trailer along. As we have in the past, we camped out at the municipal campground on Hwy. 16. Several couples of dancing friends camped with us, Norbert & Carolyn Janik, Rudy & Lucille Antrich, Joe & Flo Mozisek, and Bernard & Pearl Greener. They are good camping friends, along with some others we’ve all camped with in the past. We were fortunate and were able to get an entire table (two tables end-to-end, actually), all three days! Besides the aforementioned friends and ourselves, Bennie & Kathy Bronikowski shared our table, and also Norman Smoot, and we were happy to see our new friend from last year’s Oktoberfest come along all three days and share our table also. That would be Egon Spieker from Hovelhof, Germany. He has been to Texas 6 or 7 times now, and plans it so that he is here during Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest. He has a Harley at home and rents one in Houston for his vacation here, enjoying much of the countryside and learning a lot about Texas during his visits. He likes to visit museums among other things, and has learned about Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico and the Texans’ brave stand at our revered Alamo. He has visited the Alamo probably more than most Texans, 10 times. He considers the Texas contingent at the Alamo as true heroes. I think Egon is qualified to be called, at minimum, a Texan at heart. Don’t let me forget to send him some pictures we took at this year’s Oktoberfest. He took quite a few pictures also, and video of some of the bands.
Opening night of the festival was Friday, from 6 PM-12 AM. We spent all of our time that evening in the Adelsverein Halle, starting with Oma & the Oompahs, followed by the Sound Connection (excellent music led by Gary Kunkel), and closed out by the Red Ravens.
We had to do without A/C in our camper this weekend. The compressor ran, but the fan did not. Lee Roy thought it was probably dirt dauber “nurseries” (or perhaps they should be called “incubators”?) keeping the fan from running. He was right, as usual, and cleaned them out when we got home Monday, when a ladder was available. At least we should have working A/C when we next use the trailer. So, we slept with a few open windows Friday night and still had to use the heater during the wee hours. It was nice and cozy. Saturday was the longest day of the festival, from 10 AM until midnight. We started in the Adelsverein Halle where the Jodie Mikula Orchestra played for our enjoyment. They were followed by a group of entertainers (not musicians) called the Schuhplattlers. It was a unique type of entertaining incorporating the use of 3 benches. I also saw a “log” of some type, but did not see it in use. I think that was when I went to the ladies’ room to take off my then-too-warm-to-wear pantyhose. The guys were slapping their thighs, the sides of their shoes, and jumping onto the benches while changing direction. The gals did other entertaining things, including shaking their lady parts. It was all cute, and they had some young boys in training, too, who seemed to be having a great time. After their show we heard the Red Ravens again. We reluctantly sat through the Walburg Boys, who are NOT a dance band, but more of an entertaining band. Not our favorite, but I know some of the (mostly younger) crowd who had probably had too much to drink got really revved up by their music. We wanted to hear and dance to the first half of the Seven Dutchmen (from New Braunfels) and the second half of Czech & Then Some. Well, the young folks who had had too much to drink made the dancing next to impossible, certainly ruined the fun for us, so we left that halle to go to the Kinder Halle where CATS was playing. Well, the same thing was happening at that halle as at the larger hall, just in a smaller space. So, we ended up dancing to only 2 or 3 songs by the Seven Dutchmen and only 2 songs by Czech & Then Some. We got home probably an hour earlier than we would have had our original plan panned out.
We got a pretty good night’s sleep that night, and Sunday started later, at 11 AM in two venues, and at noon in Adelsverein and Kinder Halles. After saving a table at Adelsverein, we went to the Main Street Tent for the tail end of Chris Rybak’s performance there. Chris is always enjoyable and clearly loves to entertain. After that we went to Kinder Halle to enjoy the music of the Jodie Mikula Orchestra once more, then back to Adelsverein Halle for the Red Ravens’ final performance at this year’s Oktoberfest. The last band at that halle was the Polkamatics. I remembered that we didn’t like them, but after hearing them a very short time I remembered how MUCH we didn’t like them, so we joined our friends (22 of us in all) at a German restaurant. I thought the food was just so-so, although they are really proud of their food. Lee Roy was happy to see escargot on the menu, as well as fried shrimp. I made the mistake of not asking them to exchange the red sauce for ketchup. Definitely a mistake, which I paid for later that night. Before bedtime, all of the camper couples plus 5 more couples gathered at the Janiks’ camper for some strawberry cake Carolyn had made, and for Blue Bell’s homemade vanilla ice cream and HEB’s peaches with homemade vanilla ice cream. A nice way to end the evening……and the weekend.
We were not in a hurry to leave the campground, as we were not interested in going through lunch hour traffic in Austin, so we delayed leaving until 11:30 or so. That helped, though it was a fairly slow trip anyway – 5 hours instead of 4-1/2 hours. A couple of hours after getting home, we were through unloading the camper, and today I did 5 loads of laundry. It seemed like I hardly did anything else! We’d like to hear how your weekend went. Hope it was fun! Have you made your dancing plans for this week? And next? Don’t forget to put our next club dance on your calendar. It’ll happen on Sunday afternoon, October 30, from 2-5:30 PM. If you’d like to bring something along for our silent auction, we’d appreciate it. It can be whatever you like, something new, something in like-new condition, a plant, Christmas decor, baked goodies, other homemade goodies, such as salsa, BBQ sauce, etc. Whatever suits you. Of course, if you don’t have a donation for the silent auction, we’ll still be very happy to see you there. You know, the Dujka Brothers will be playing their wonderful music for us, so don’t miss it! We also have a 50-50 auction. At our last dance, Al Sulak, the band leader for that dance, won……I believe it was $110, or perhaps even more. We hope to see you then, and even sooner at another dance!
Saturday, September 24 was a busy day for us, but since it was mostly about dancing, that’s okay. We started our dancing day out at Hallettsville’s KC Hall where they were having their annual Kolache Festival, always a very popular festival. We danced from 11:30-12:30 to the wonderful music of the Dujka Brothers. Dancing was outside on concrete, but it still was a good floor – smooth for sliding your feet. We needed to take additional flyers to Mark and John since they are playing at our next club dance on October 30, a Sunday afternoon, at the Sealy American Legion hall. We had to leave before the Red Ravens started playing, as we were helping to host a dance at the La Grange KC Hall.
The dance we helped to host was in the afternoon, from 3-6:30, and featured Moonglow Orchestra, led by our club member, Mike Gest. This band plays a very wide selection of musical styles, all very well. Many of our invited guests stayed at Hallettsville, another couple had a family reunion that day (can’t very well miss that, huh?), etc., but we had a great time anyway and enjoyed the company of our invited guests who were able to be there. We left that dance 45 minutes early so that we could get to the dance that the Shiner Methodist Church holds each year as a gift to the public. They really do treat us well – music by the Red Ravens, food and drink for us to which we help ourselves, and all they ask in return is to donate canned goods to the food pantry so they can help others. It’s a well-attended dance, very popular with the folks who are like us – loving polka dances. We took some delicious chicken salad sandwiches. I had made some sandwiches and brownies for the afternoon dance, so I thought it wold be nice to also take sandwiches to the church dance. Some of the folks who were there also were at our dance that afternoon. Others went from Hallettsville to the church, and of course there still were more folks that came to enjoy this gift from the church.
When the dance was over we drove to Victoria to spend the night. We got a good night’s rest (at a reasonable price, I might say), and got up on Sunday morning eager to (1) fill up with gas and (2) get to the Victoria Community Center (or is it the convention center?). Anyway, it was the day for their annual Czech Heritage Festival, a very good festival that got even better this year. When we arrived about ten minutes before the starting time of 10 AM, we heard some wonderful accordion music by a lady who teaches accordion. Her fingers really flew! The music really put us in a mood for dancing, for sure. Later that lady taught accordion to folks who had pre-registered for the lessons. If under 35, the pre-registrants got into the festival for free. Now that’s a good way to attract younger folks to your festival! In another room they also taught how to play the Czech card game of Taroky, commonly called Tarocks. In addition, Elaine and Louis taught dancing lessons (in another room) to any who were interested (also if under 35 and pre-registered, admission was free). The Shiner Hobo Band was the first band to play. Our friend and club member, Patsy Polasek, was in that band, a new member for them. She does a very admirable job of playing the button accordion, thanks to the tutelage of another friend, Walt Harfmann. The next band to play was Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six, who are always enjoyable, and the final band was the Red Ravens. Everyone knows how popular that band is! They sold a meal from 11 AM-1 PM and even a little later. There were many booths selling various items, but I refrained from buying anything. I don’t need anything, and I have decided that I won’t buy any more clothes until I lose more weight. Maybe then I’ll celebrate with a new dancing outfit.
Lots of dances were on the calendar for this past weekend, including a delayed September dance at the Sealy American Legion, sponsored by the Sealy Dance Club. Remember, folks, their October dance is on the regular day of the month, the first Saturday. That’s this weekend, on October 1. Don’t forget that they are having a silent auction to help strengthen their financial health. We hope you got to dance this past weekend and that you’ll also be dancing this weekend, which is supposed to be (finally!) a cool one. Enjoy!
Our mid-September weekend started off very nicely, with a delightful, beautiful 50th wedding anniversary the afternoon of the 17th. Bernard and Pearl Greener really know how to throw a party!!!! Lots of planning clearly went into this one. Everything was absolutely perfect! It was at Industry’s Fireman’s Hall, which is rarely used any more. That’s such a shame as it is a wonderful, large hall with an excellent dance floor. When the people who used to rent out the hall died in a tragic car accident, another couple took over that job and very quickly decided that they needed to raise the rent. They nearly doubled the rent in one fell swoop!!!! It seems they have not recognized the error of being so greedy. Any person who has been in the business of selling a product (in this case, a terrific dance hall), knows that if the price is reasonable they will make many more sales than if the price is too high. At “too high”, they will make very few sales, but at “reasonable” the number of sales (rentals) will be dramatically more numerous, and the bottom line will be more money in the organization’s coffers. Anyway, that is a problem they clearly have not resolved. It was a super party, starting with excellent snacks for a socializing time, followed by the Grand March, which went on and on, then the dance (and they included a good old-fashioned Paul Jones that everyone seemed to enjoy), and finally a delicious dinner of roast beef & gravy, mashed potatoes (more gravy), green bean casserole, broccoli salad (yum!), canned peaches, dinner rolls and tea. And of course, a lovely wedding cake and groom’s cake which they cut before dinner……so my piece of wedding cake was gone before I even got my dinner! (Yes, I’m still losing weight, albeit slowly, despite munching out on “no-no’s”).
From Industry we went to Wallis to enjoy the Wallis Dance Club’s “third Saturday of the month” club dance. We had not heard The Twilights band in a long time, but they did a great job. It was very good music, and full-bodied. When we arrived, even though there were plenty of vehicles parked at the American Legion hall, there were not many folks in the hall. After we came in, though, more people arrived, and they ended up with a nice attendance. We actually got there about 8:10, so the dance had only been going on for about 10 minutes, so maybe that’s how the attendance typically arrives, not always “on time or earlier”. This is a dance where dancers bring door prizes to be given away at intermission – but they’ll still let you in the door if you arrive without a door prize! It’s a friendly group there every time there’s a dance. This hall is where we will help host a Christmas dance, which we’ve done the past 6 or so years, maybe longer. Folks really do enjoy that dance, which is by invitation only. Well, I’ll finish up this week’s missive after we return from our annual trek to Round Top for the Schutzenfest, a tradition brought over from Germany. It’s a fun event, definitely a one-of-a-kind occasion. You really do need to make it one year. It’s always the 3rd Sunday of September. We made it one year and we’re still doing it. I’ll finish this writing as soon as I can……. Then all I’ll have to do for this club this week is put some October dances on the dance schedule.
Okay! We had a great time at the 144th Schutzenfest at Rifle Association Hall in Round Top. The Donnie Wavra Orchestra played one more time. They have two more gigs before they totally call it quits. We’ll miss them, for sure! BTW, I don’t have a key on my keyboard that would allow me to correctly spell the name of this festival. The “u” should have two dots over it. I always pronounce it “Shoots-n-fest”; the folks who belong to the Rifle Association (and have the shooting contest the morning of the festival) pronounce it “Shits-n-fest”. Take your pick. I’m sure my pronunciation is not actually correct, but I prefer it. The shooting contest really does test the riflemen’s ability. They use .22 rifles without a scope of any kind, and the target is quite a distance away. They shoot 3 bullets, I believe, and after the first round, those who qualify for another round shoot 3 more bullets. This year quite a few of the contestants qualified for the second round. The winner is a young man, perhaps only 2 or 3 years older than last year’s 18-year-old winner, who was a first-time contender who had observed the contest for many years, as the son of a member. His entire life he was eager for the time when he could join the association and participate in the contest. Members must be 18 or older. The prior year’s winner crowns the new Schutzenkoenig (shooting king) with a crown of cedar branches, placed on the rim of his hat. Last year’s king also has to make the crown. This year the winner had a perfect score in the second round, a 36. It would seem that a bullseye gets a score of 12, and the score reduces the farther away from the bullseye it is. After the members gather in the afternoon, they enter the hall two-by-two, first bearing the American and Texas flags, followed by two members bearing an association banner. Next come the band members with a small drum, a larger drum, and some brass horns including the tuba. Behind them are the other association members who wish to participate. They form a circle around a keg of beer that was flown in from Germany. After announcing the winner and any other important business including recognizing deceased members since the last time (this year one died in December and one 3 days before this festival), the prior king crowns the new king and two members lift him onto their shoulders while a third member is behind making sure the king doesn’t fall backwards. After all, they only do this once a year. It’s not like they practice it! Once the king is on their shoulders, they then lift him three times while reciting a sentence in German (three times because the German king “lives” three times), then once more they lift him three times while reciting a different sentence in German. They said what the words mean, but I couldn’t hear it that well and it’s doubtful that I would be able to place those words into my memory with only one recitation anyway! Now it is time for the new king to tap the keg of beer so that he can give beer to his guests (who are all the people who came to the festival). So, the beer flowed freely and the people who filled the hall (yes, it was full!!!) were happy. The fellow who presented the new king to us said that the new king, when he became a member, took it upon himself to be the janitor and maintenance man for the hall. What a dedication that is! The music and dancing resumed after the official business (including tapping the keg and providing the folks with beer) was completed. The band started playing at 5 o’clock, and at 6 o’clock the festivities took place; afterward the music resumed and continued until 8:30 except for a break when they drew the winners of three rifles from a raffle they held. They sold only 350 tickets. The big winner won a very special rifle which is engraved with the occasion and date, a one-of-a-kind rifle encased in a beautiful cedar box with a top of glass framed with cedar. The other two rifles had gold-on-black medallions commemorating the occasion. The man who won the second rifle had won a rifle a couple of weeks prior. The association is using the raffle money to fund new pilings for the hall, which cost $1,000 each. We are glad they are doing that, as we don’t want to fall through into the ground when we are there! Besides, it’s such a historic hall that it definitely needs to be preserved in a condition that is very usable. We have not seen the hall that full before. It is really nice that so many people participate in this tradition that came with the immigrants from Germany in the 1800′s. We saw some members of our club there, Julie Ardery and Bill Bishop, who live in La Grange. When I went over to talk with them, they introduced me to a high school student, Johanna, who is an exchange student from the Czech Republic. She’s a very pleasant young lady. Lee Roy danced with her a few times, and she danced very well. She certainly seemed to be enjoying her evening out, and we were definitely glad she was there to experience some traditional things that we Texans cherish. Lee Roy asked her if she had a kroj, but she doesn’t. I asked her if she missed her family, and after thinking for a moment, she said with a laugh that she doesn’t. I think she’s having too much fun at this time – and it’s early in the school year. I suspect that when the holidays come around she will miss them – but I’m equally sure that Julie and Bill will see to it that she has enjoyable holidays!
This association is having an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, October 15. I forgot the hours, but you should be informed that it is another event with “no admission” (in other words, one of our favorite words: FREE). They also will have food to offer – again FREE. I can vouch that their hamburgers are truly delicious! They also indicated there would be hot dogs, and they also said they would have, I believe it was nachos. At any rate, you won’t go hungry, and surely you’ll have a good time. Go onto the computer and look up Round Top Rifle Association and you’ll find a web site with more information. And don’t forget to make a note on your calendar for next year’s Schutzenfest, always the 3rd Sunday in September.
Did I, or didn’t I? I kept thinking I needed to update the web site about dancing opportunities, and then I’d think that I had already done it. Well, the first thought was correct. Too little time? Too many distractions? Maybe some of both. Anyway, we always make time to dance, mostly for our pleasure, but certainly for our health, too. We hope you do, too.
The second weekend in September we danced only once, by choice. On September 10 we went to the Red Ravens dance at Houston’s SPJST #88, mostly because some young adults we had met there 4 weeks earlier had said they would be there, and we told them we would also. So, we missed the club dance in Rosenberg. Well, the young adults (all very nice people who love to dance and love the Red Ravens) did not show up. Maybe they forgot to mark their calendars! All turned out well, though, as there was a delightful family (extended family) of Mexicans there that also had been at the dance 4 weeks earlier, including the young daughter of one of the ladies, Natalia. On the web site from August 13 we have a picture of this daughter trying to dance with a young boy who is a member at Lodge 88. Check it out. Anyway, Lee Roy got to dance with all 5 of the ladies in this group. One of the ladies, Isabel, drew a picture of me because they all loved my red dancing outfit. I was so honored! The ladies had to take their pictures with us several times. How sweet! They go to Lodge 88 quite often, as the gentleman that was with them is a big fan of big band music, and specifically Moonglow Orchestra. We told them that the leader of that band, Mike Gest, is a good friend and a member of our dance club. Lee Roy also got to dance with 4 teenage girls who were there with their families. Two of them are twins, and granddaughters of a long-time friend who was there with their mother (her daughter) and their dad. It was wonderful to see this friend, whom we had not seen in a good while. She’s had some health problems, but they assured us that she is on the road to better health. This lady, Lillie Underwood, and her now-deceased husband, Henry, came to our wedding, and Henry took lots of pictures. We first met them when we were dating, at Lodge 88, of course. They are also parents of a very good musician, Johnny Underwood, who used to play solo. We have two of Johnny’s CD’s, and one of the songs, Buck’s Polka, Lee Roy has as his ring tone. It’s always so wonderful to see dear long-time friends. The twins are good dancers, too. Another generation of dancers! Hooray!
We decided that we did not have time to go to Elgin’s SPJST #18 on Sunday to dance to the music of the Czechaholics. Too much to do at home – plus, of course, the Texans were playing (and winning) that day. Some of our work got done, but some is still waiting for me to give it the attention it needs. How is it that our retired years are busier than our working years??? It seems that everyone we know has a similar problem!
Well, please accept my apologies for being so late with this posting. I’ll try to do better.
Another weekend came and went, and we were fortunate enough to include 3 dances in that weekend. The first one was on Friday, September 2, when we went to Eagle Lake for their “first Friday of the month” monthly dance. It’s held in the Eagle Lake Community Center, directly across from the library. We wanted to go hear the new band, Lost Cause, again. Tim Kulhanek, a member of Central Texas Sounds, leads this band. Mostly they play country songs, but they know how to play polkas and Czech waltzes, and can sing in Czech. They are also very receptive to requests, and we haven’t been told “we don’t know that one”. So, you may want to give them a chance when they will be playing in your neck of the woods. The music is good, unlike some bands we’ve heard. If you haven’t been to Eagle Lake for this dance, be advised that dancers usually bring food to share at intermission, and some also bring door prizes. One other thing to know is that since it is a city-owned center, they do not sell alcoholic beverages. You are allowed to bring your own if you wish.
Saturday we went to Houston’s SPJST #88 to hear Moonglow Orchestra, led by club member Mike Gest, a very talented musician who takes music very seriously. This band bills itself as “big band”, but they have a huge repertoire including Latin, polkas, waltzes, jitterbug, golden oldies, Cajun, country, in other words, just about any kind of danceable music there is. Moonglow usually plays at Lodge 88 on the first Saturday of the month. They never disappoint; however, the attendance was only about 50 couples, thanks to the Labor Day holiday. We were able to go there this month because the Sealy Dance Club was unable to hold its dance on the first Saturday of September since the Sealy American Legion hall had been booked by someone else during the hiatus of that club earlier this year. For those who want to dance with the Sealy Dance Club (public always welcome) in September, this month you can do that on September 24. That’s this month only, as they resume their “first Saturday” dances on October 1. On September 24 the band playing will be Country Knights. Don’t forget that their October 1 dance will include a silent auction. If you can, bring something for the auction and also be a bidder/buyer at the auction. This auction will help the club get on stronger financial footing.
Sunday we drove to Granger (north of Georgetown and just east of I-35, where Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six were playing for the church picnic. The picnic part was over when we got there, but that’s okay. Our interest, of course, was the dance. We had not danced to this band for awhile, and it was definitely overdue. As always, they played good music. This band has 3 generations of family plus two additional musicians. The family members are Fritz (grandfather and band leader), Scott (Fritz’s son), and Brandon (Scott’s son and Fritz’s grandson), all excellent musicians. It was good to dance to their music again. Brandon leads a band, the All Around Czechs, which will be playing for New Year’s Eve at this church hall in Granger. The dance Saturday ended at 11 PM (actually a little after that), and not wanting to head home at that hour, we stayed with friends for the night. The bed in their guest bedroom was so comfortable that we slept until 10:25 AM!!! We never do that! We may laze around in bed some, but not that late, and not asleep, but we were actually somewhat embarrassed to have slept that late. Even though we got to bed after 1 AM, to have slept until 10:25 AM is insane!!! We were treated to seeing photos of their recent European trip, which was so lovely. Wished we could have been there, too!
We surely hope you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend and that you will be dancing more this coming weekend. Can you believe it’s September??? Hard to believe it’s here already – and the temperature surely doesn’t seem to indicate that it’s September! Well, if you dance inside they’ll have A/C, so it really doesn’t matter what the thermometer says. Just be sure to enjoy dancing as often as you can! Check out what’s happening on our website – THMDC.com.
Wonderful weekend! Hope yours was, too. Friday night we went to the Sons of Hermann Hall at Giddings for a dance to which we had been invited. This dance has been hosted by various folks for 33 years, and we feel happy that some of the hosts include us on their list of invitees. Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5 plays for this event. They play a nice selection of songs including (mostly) country songs that are familiar to everyone we know, polkas (sung in Czech when there are lyrics), and waltzes, as well as a few other things – a little bit of Cajun, some rock’n'roll, etc. Not only did we enjoy the music and dancing, and the company of friends, we met some new friends and had a nice time getting to know them. They told us they see us on TV often (on the Mollie B Polka Show). It’s interesting how often that happens. We, on the other hand, never see ourselves on TV, as we don’t pay for TV. If it doesn’t come free it doesn’t appear on our TV. This dance was from 7-11 PM, so we were home before 1 AM. Not a bad deal.
Saturday we danced at KC 2917 on the north side of Houston. They were having their annual Summer Fling, which is not only a dinner and a dance, (Red Ravens playing), but also various raffles where you buy the tickets and select which item(s) you want to put your raffle tickets into for the drawing – so you always have a chance to win something you find appealing – and the biggie of the event, a raffle drawing for cash prizes, with the top prize being $5,000. Second and third prizes were $1,000 each, and on down from there. They sell only 350 of these raffle tickets, which earns you two dinners, two dance admissions, and your name in the hopper for the cash prizes. Those tickets are $100 each, which after deducting the cash value of two dinners and two dance admissions, costs the purchaser just $60 to get their name in the drawing for the cash prizes. Not bad. Sixty dollars for a chance at $5,000. Of course, as always, you have to give all your information to the KC so Uncle Sam can make sure you report it on this year’s tax return! Nothing gets by their magnifying glass!
Friends had invited us to spend the night at their home in Sugar Land, as we were planning to go to Hungerford on Sunday for the 100th anniversary of the Hungerford KJT, and it’s so much closer to Sugar Land than to Plantersville. It was a free dance, and a delicious dinner was sold. We feasted on barbecued chicken (white and dark meat), sausage (which I actually found quite good – usually I am NOT a sausage aficionada), potatoes, homemade sauerkraut, pinto beans, bread and tea. The desserts were sold separately, and as usual we bought those first so we could get what we wanted….not that I needed any more sweets! (And then they had a large cake that was offered to anyone in attendance, celebrating the 100th anniversary of this organization. Door prizes were given out and tickets with each attendee’s name on them were the method of drawing the winners of the door prizes. The door prizes were handed out before, during and after the dance (music by the Red Ravens again), and some were small prizes such as a cap, a visor, etc. (we know a man who won a pink visor – we don’t think we’ll ever see him wearing it, though!), and perhaps some other items, AND envelopes holding cash. We know of two people who won envelopes with a nice $50 bill in them. At the end of the dance they called the name of a lady who, with her husband, had been sitting across from us, (yes, it was Kathy), but they had left just a minute or two before her name was drawn. I rushed out the door to see if I could catch them, but they did not see me. So, they drew about three more names of people who were not still there, and finally found a winner (a dear friend of ours) for the crisp $100 bill that was in the envelope! Needless to say, she was thrilled! A free dance all afternoon, a nice lunch, good socializing with friends, and then winning $100. Nice day, huh? Well, that was how our weekend went. Hope yours was just as enjoyable.
We’ve had a week that’s busier than usual, but it’s been great. Tuesday night was the night for the Houston Accordion Association’s 3rd Tuesday gathering. We had lots of accordion players and almost had no time for the jam session. The manager of the Pizza Inn was accommodating, as always, and gave us an extra 10 minutes past closing time. The next night we drove to Shelby between the raindrops (though plenty of them fell on our car), but by the time we arrived at Harmonie Hall there were very few small drops, so all was well. We had a meeting there to plan a dance with some other folks, and on the way home we dropped in at McDonald’s for Quarter Pounders with Cheese. If we had known where there is a Jack in the Box in Brenham we could have gone there for our favorite burger, a Buttery Jack Portabella Mushroom burger. Yum!!! Thursday we had decided to go to the Bluebonnet Opry in Brenham. It happens on the third Thursday at the Silver Wings Skating Rink and Ballroom, just east of the city limits of Brenham on Hwy. 105. It was a “regular” program, meaning it was basically country. Twice a year they have a polka program, in May and October. We always try to make those. They usually have 3 guest artists, although next month they’ll have only one, Dennis Ivey, who will be doing a tribute to Merle Haggard. This month, McKenzie Jones, a 12-year-old from Llano, and Bryan Su, 15, from Sugar Land, were the guest artists. McKenzie has a good voice, and with a few more years she may even be “great”. Bryan has a wonderful grown-sounding voice and also plays the fiddle quite well. In addition, his showmanship is terrific. He’s well on his way to being a full-fledged entertainer. The third scheduled guest artist was Lynn Landry from Slaughter, Louisiana. Unfortunately, he was unable to get out to come since they have had such terrible floods there. Pray for him and his family. They definitely need it. The opry will book him for another time. Friday was Lee Roy’s 80th birthday, and we celebrated with family, two of his daughters and some of their family members. We had a long drive, to Pearland, to go to the King’s Biergarten, which is a restaurant and biergarten owned and run by a German man, Hans Sitter, who wears lederhosen and has a very strong German accent (clearly a native of Germany). Man, he has a tremendous business! We could hardly find a parking spot and parked on a neighboring business’ parking lot (where there are signs indicating it’s additional parking for the biergarten). We had reserevations for 6 PM, so we would recommend that if you go, go earlier or later. We wanted to be close to the band that was entertaining, Enzian Buam. Two gentlemen were in the band that night, as our friend Robert Herridge was in San Antonio. We missed him, but the music was quite good. Jason Keepeers, who wrote the very beautiful Catherine’s Waltz for his mother, did almost all the singing, did all the yodeling (very well!) and played accordion. The other young man was named Drew, and he played guitar. The food was very good, and everyone said the beer was quite good. I drank only water, as usual, not being a fan of beer or other alcoholic beverages, and I still have a good time! It was a VERY busy restaurant and biergarten, and Hans was ever present, being sure the guests were happy with the service, the food, and the drink – and the music, of course! And we were. I can well imagine that this is the busiest and most popular business in Pearland. A gold mine! We did get to dance, but we had to do it in a tiny bit of space close to the stage, except that Lee Roy danced with a lady farther back toward the bar, and with two of her friends (one of which came and asked Lee Roy to dance). The first one he danced with (besides myself, of course) was celebrating her birthday that day also. I recommend this as a place you might want to check out for something different than what you’re accustomed to. Lee Roy’s daughter and her husband, who live in Pearland go there most Sundays for brunch, as well as at other times. We’ve since learned that Harold and Mary Lou Lawson go there sometimes. Some day give it a try. It was a good decision for us to go. I’d bet you’ll like it.
Well, that was just part of our busy week. Saturday we went to the Wallis American Legion for the monthly club dance, of which we are members. You don’t have to be a member, though. Guests are definitely welcome! Charles & the Fabulous 4 played for us. They have really improved since they hired Martha, who is skilled on the guitar and also has a very good voice for singing. We’ve danced to them a lot recently. We had fun and also celebrated Harold Kosel’s 89th birthday, which was that same day. Jane, it was a delicious German chocolate cake! We got into bed about 2 AM, so we were not “up and at ‘em” too early on Sunday. We had received an invitation to a dance that day at Shelby, and we always try to go when invited if we can. It was a good dance, with Central Texas Sounds playing. They were in their usual good form. Saw lots of friends there and met a few new ones. It was definitely a full week, but one that we enjoyed.
It’s time to mention a few things that you might need to know so that your dancing will be (1) easier and (2) better. Those two things equal: More Fun!
For starters, be sure to face your partner before you start. When we see one partner going forward and one going sideways we groan because that can’t be comfortable for either one. Face to face and chest to chest, with toes pointing at each other (except offset the feet so they are between each partner’s feet). That way you won’t be stepping on their toes and struggling. Beginners, don’t forget that when you move one foot, the next step must be taken with the other foot. Just like walking, it’s left, right, left, right (or right, left, right, left). Put your weight on the foot you have moved so that you KNOW it’s not the foot to move next. And, yes, if it helps you when you’re “new” to dancing, count as you dance. A waltz is 3 steps of equal duration. A polka (the kind most folks do) is 3 steps also, but those three steps are “step-quick-quick”. The foxtrot (or two-step as so many Texans call it) is to the count of 4. That’s plenty for this quick lesson. Practice these things and it will make your dancing easier and more fun.
We danced Saturday night at Houston’s SPJST #88 and thoroughly enjoyed the musical offerings of Mark and John Dujka, known as the Dujka Brothers. They are SO talented and such very nice men also. We were also happy to see the Mason Nesvadba there, and the Dujkas let him sit in on a few songs and play the tuba, which he does quite well. Mason is a sophomore at Blinn College where John Dujka teaches and it is his intention to become a band director after he gets his bachelor’s degree. He’s another very nice young man. It was quite rainy that evening, sometimes coming down so heavily that I was wishing my windshield wipers had a faster speed. When we arrived at the lodge there were not many folks there and we were afraid that the rain would keep folks at home. Fortunately, people kept arriving and they ended up with a good crowd. What a gift we got that evening! Eight young adults (I believe all are degreed) sat at the table next to ours, at the end near the wall. Lee Roy was the first to get to know them, and Rosina Christensen was so excited about the opportunity we all had to interact with them. They all said they LOVE to dance and they go quite often. One of the young ladies grew up in East Bernard, and yes, she has a Czech surname. We welcomed Melissa, Sara, Robert, Scott, Joe and Mark and told them about the cancer fundraiser the next day at Hungerford (and BTW, three of them showed up!). This is a group of VERY NICE young folks who have discovered that dancing is a fun way to spend their time. We do hope that we will see much more of these young adults. And there’s more to the gift we got that night. There was another table (several over from ours) that had quite a few Mexicans there (including a darling little girl, Lizzie), and they also had two female friends who were Asian and two who were black. All of them seemed to be having a wonderful time and we tried to make sure they felt very welcome there. They really joined in the dancing, especially the polkas (we all know how fun those are!), and they were doing great with their dancing. How lovely that all these folks have discovered the joys of dancing! We certainly hope to see them some more also. I think all of these “newcomers” to Lodge 88 plan to be there on September 10 when the Red Ravens will be playing. We promised some of them that we would come that night so that we can dance together some more. If you encounter any young folks at a dance (hey, they almost all are younger than I am at this point), do be sure to make them feel welcome and want to return and make dancing part of their lifestyle. Dancing needs them, and we hope all of them will recognize that they need (and enjoy) dancing. To top it all off, there was a young man named Trevor, who is about 5 and a member of Lodge 88, and he found Lizzie and they were on the dance floor together much of the evening trying to dance! They were SO CUTE together, and what a pleasure it was to see that they were really interested in learning to dance. Trevor has been to enough polka dances that he already has several favorite polkas that he requests from the band – and he’s also a fan of the Dujka Brothers! We left the hall so happy thinking about all of these people as part of “the future” of polka dancing.
Sunday morning we got up early enough to get to Hungerford’s community center in time to grab a table to save for friends and club members – whoever wanted to sit there. I had ordered a big birthday cake for Lee Roy (whose 80th birthday is actually August 19), so I had to take that inside, and since it was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society Lee Roy took a pot of Spanish Petunias for the silent auction. They ended up selling for $30, so that was good. People were very generous with the silent auction, the live auction, and the raffle. The Red Ravens and The Velvets always play for this event. Ron Foley commented to me that he thought The Velvets played better this year that he had ever heard them play, and I responded that Lee Roy and I also thought the same thing. Earlier we had thought we might leave before The Velvets got through playing, but we didn’t want to miss any of it, so of course we stayed. It was a very good dance, and we were so happy to see so many good friends there. I won’t mention names because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but we definitely loved seeing so many of our friends there – as well as the three young adults from Saturday night at Lodge 88. I think our weekend couldn’t have been better! (And everyone loved the cake I had brought that was baked and decorated at Brookshire Brothers in Magnolia.) I can’t believe August is flying by so fast – and this week and next will be extremely busy ones for us. We hope you enjoyed dancing and socializing (definitely an important part of dancing), and hope we’ll be seeing you soon.
We didn’t make it to Rosenberg’s American Legion on Saturday night for the Happy Cousins Dance Club since we can only be in one place at a time. We talked with people who were there for Charles & the Fabulous 4 and most were happy with the music that was played. They said it was a good crowd, which gets more and more important. Be sure to do your part and go as often as you can! God bless!
At Houston’s Lodge 88 Saturday night, they announced that Mollie B (and I suppose Squeezebox) will be at the lodge on January 15, 2017. That’s a Sunday, and I’m guessing it will be during the afternoon. The lodge will start selling tickets on November 1. No tickets will be sold at the door!!! Mark your calendars if you are interested in getting tickets for this event. I have not checked to see where else they will be appearing in Texas, but if it is like the last time, they did a gig at Hallettsville, one at Granger, the one at Lodge 88 in Houston, and two in the Valley (McAllen and such). You might want to check the web site for Squeezebox, which is: www.squeezeboxband.com.
Friday, Saturday AND Sunday – what we call a GOOD weekend! We had not been to the dance in Eagle Lake in quite awhile, but on this month (first Friday of each month) we decided it would be worth our time, as they had the Lazy Farmers playing. The last time we went to Eagle Lake the Lazy Farmers were playing, and it’s a very decent band. They play a nice variety of music including polkas, waltzes, country, jitterbug, even the twist – and the last song of the night had lots of the dancers on the floor “doing their own thing” to what might be described as 60′s or possibly 70′s music. You see, I’ve gotten so old I can’t exactly say what decade we heard what kind of music, and with polka in the mix all the rest fade into the background. Some of it I’d definitely like to forget – like “heavy metal”. Heck, even “light” metal wouldn’t have been appealing! Anyway, the hall had hardly any seats not taken, so I’d call it a successful dance. In case you don’t remember, this dance asks folks to bring food to share at intermission, so we took a dump cake (easy to make and also delicious!). We also took an item for the door prize, and for a change we actually won a door prize, which was interesting. Some thoughtful person had packaged into a gift bag two Nutter Butter bars (which Lee Roy gets to eat, since I don’t do peanut butter EVER), and three cup-sized containers of mini Nabisco cookies: mini Chips Ahoy, mini Oreos, and mini Nilla wafers. We shared the mini Chips Ahoy Saturday night with our table mates, and I finished them off Sunday at that dance. Shouldn’t have, but who wants to bring home a few mini cookies in an open container? Anyway, Friday night at Eagle Lake was a fun dance. We always see lots of friends there, and when we go it’s because the band is one we like. Next month they’ll have a fairly new band, Lost Cause, led by Tim Kulhanek, who also plays with Central Texas Sounds. We’ve heard them a couple of times, so we know they are capable of playing well and including Czech polkas and waltzes, which we love so much. No, I’m not Czech, but I am married to one (well, half of one) – but the Czech music is wonderful and a great heritage to pass along to future generations.
I was in the kitchen all day Saturday except when I was taking care of three loads of laundry – so it was a wonderful change to dance that night. Part of the reason I was in the kitchen was to make Buttermilk Salad (yum-yum) to take and share with our table mates on Saturday when we danced at the Sealy American Legion hall when the Sealy Dance Club held its monthly first-Saturday dance. BTW, in September, the first Saturday got booked by someone else, so their next dance club dance will be on Saturday, September 24, which will be followed quickly on October 1 for the monthly dance in October. We surely hate to miss the September 24 dance, as the Country Knights will be playing. We seldom get a chance to hear them, but they are good musicians. This month the Kreneks were hired to play. Our opinion is that they have left their roots (can you tell by the name that they came from a Czech background?). They did an okay job, and certainly they were pleasant enough. Their drummer has a wonderful voice, deep and resounding. Mostly these days they are playing country music, which “will do”, but is not our favorite.
Sunday we had plans to go to Cyclone for the fundraiser of the Texas Polka Music Museum, and we got up and on the road early, as we didn’t want to miss any music. Well, we definitely did not miss any music. We had planned on needing 3 hours or more to get there, but it took only 2 hours, barely more than it takes us to get to Rosenberg. Lee Roy navigated and decided we should take an FM just north of Hearne, off Hwy. 6. From there we had NO MORE turns to make until we got to the hall. That kept us away from the “big city” of Cameron. We had been there once before, but I had forgotten that it takes only 2 hours to get there. It’s a nice SPJST hall, known as Flag Hall. The doors officially opened at 11:30, but when we got there at 11:05 no one told us we couldn’t come in yet. That was good as we surely didn’t want to wait in our car on such a hot day! We took along a batch of pecan pralines that I had made on Saturday (part of the reason I was in the kitchen so much on Saturday). That was to donate to their silent auction, one more way we can help keep polka music alive and well. It did bring a nice bid, so that was good. They also had a live auction which seemed to be quite successful, a 50-30-20 pot, and a “cut-the-cards” raffle. The hall sold hamburgers and BBQ buns. Our burgers were delicious, and Lee Roy brought home some of the BBQ that was left. Lee Roy made a mistake, though, and ordered a double meat burger. He didn’t realize that the meat patties were so large. I would bet that they weighed 1/3 pound each. I’m surprised that Lee Roy could dance without having digested the burger yet, but of course he could! The music was a battle dance, with the Praha Brothers sharing the stage with Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5. The Praha Brothers’ music is quite peppy and was really a pleasure for us – and for other dancers. We were happy to learn the the Haisler band will celebrate 50 years in October. They do a good job, but their music is more laid-back than the Praha Brothers, which is okay, especially when paired with the Praha Brothers. It sort of offers a respite to the dancers. I think both bands hail from the Temple area, and that’s probably one reason we don’t hear them often, though we’ll be dancing to Haisler later this month. We saw TONS of folks that we know. It was a pleasure to see Anton & Albina Vrazel and their family there. Lee Roy danced with their daughter, Rose, several times. She knows that Lee Roy will always be happy to dance with her, and that helps make her day a good one. Every time we get out of our “home territory”, we think we won’t know many people at the dance, and every time we are wrong. Isn’t that nice? Another benefit of dancing! It was an afternoon dance, with music from 1-6, though with the sing-along at the end, the jam session in between, and a special drawing after all the music had been played, we didn’t leave until 6:30 or so – but even so we were home before dark!
We hope you had a dancing weekend. Lots of dancing is coming up for the rest of August. In fact, I can’t believe how busy we are going to be – but that’s definitely not a complaint! Be sure to check out our dance schedule posted on this web site and plan your dancing for the rest of the month. There is plenty to choose from, and that’s a blessing!
Visit our site often to plan your dancing!!!
We had a longer-than-usual drive this past Sunday when we went to Penelope. ”Where?”, you ask. Penelope, a little bit (yes, just a little bit) southeast of West. You take 308 northeast off of I-35 just a little bit (yes, just a little bit again) north of Bellmead, which shares a boundary with Waco. The first “town” you come to on 308 is Leroy (exit is called Leroy Parkway). BTW, I bet you didn’t know there is a place in Leroy called the Chicken Bank. Yes, really. We saw it firsthand. Leroy is followed by a couple more tiny “towns”, and about 20 miles off I-35 you come to Penelope. I’ve wanted to go for its late July dance ever since they started having one a few years ago (thanks to the efforts of Karen Osborne), but something was always happening that kept us elsewhere (such as teaching KJT campers how to dance). This year we were able to make it. The Catholic church there (Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary) is pretty small, and we did not get into the church because by the time we arrived Mass was underway. So, we went directly to the family center, a metal building where they apparently had Vacation Bible School last week. Our Penelope experience started by meeting some folks and visiting with them until the folks arrived after Mass. We met a delightful couple there and enjoyed their company at our table for the entire day, Barbara and Brent Thorndike from Italy, Texas. Very nice folks whom we hope to see more of in the future. There was a lady and her three young daughters at the dance also from Italy, Texas, and Lee Roy got to teach two of those daughters how to dance, though mom had already done a great job of that. Barbara and I got in line to serve ourselves to the dinner which smelled very enticing. Our sense of smell did not let us down! The turkey was so moist and delicious! Since I am trying to lose some weight I did not eat any of the dressing and very little of the boiled and buttered white potatoes. I decided that Lee Roy could eat all of the sauerkraut, although it looked good, and all of the sausage. There was a variety of desserts from which to choose, and I chose a brownie which I split with Lee Roy. Tea was included, and bread, so I was a little bit naughty, but not too much. The band set up in one corner of the room. It was the first time in a good while that we had heard Czech and Then Some. We always enjoy their music, especially when the entire band is playing. Initially they had too much dance wax on the floor, and it had to be dry mopped to remove a lot of the wax. Then it was a very good floor to dance on, even though it was tile (the flexible kind like they have at Sweet Home, not ceramic). We were surprised that we saw so many folks we know, although most of them live in the general area, even up in Fort Worth. Sanddra and Andy Mikula (he’s the drummer for the Jodie Mikula Orchestra) celebrated their 33rd anniversary there during the dance, and I was weak and accepted a piece of the anniversary cake. It’s always nice to see friends at dances, and it’s always nice to meet new friends, and this offered both to us. It was a long drive getting there and back, but we thought it was well worth the time and the gas. We went to bed that night more tired than usual, but definitely happy. Karen told us that they will have another dance at Penelope the end of January, so keep your eyes open for that to be publicized. We definitely recommend Penelope as a nice place to go polka dancing!
I do hope John Kerry (Secretary of State) reads this posting. HE may believe that A/C and refrigeration pose a much greater danger than ISIS (I surely do NOT!), but we are always grateful that air-conditioning was invented, especially during July and August. And especially when one is dancing. (Yes, I know that is not a grammatically correct or complete sentence.) Some nice folks gave a lovely dance at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall on Saturday afternoon, and we were honored with an invitation. Fortunately, I noticed on Thursday evening that on the bottom of the invitation it said to bring our favorite snacks to share with everyone on a buffet at intermission…….so Friday evening I made a Lemon-Pecan loaf to take with us to the dance, along with some red seedless grapes. Apparently, the host couples brought sandwiches, and perhaps more, as there was LOTS of food on two tables at intermission. In the interest of my weight-loss efforts, I did not pig out, but I did eat 1/4 of a truly delicious chicken salad sandwich, along with a few other things (incuding a piece of my lemon-pecan loaf). It was “just right”, and the only thing I ate after we got home was a square of dark chocolate (which, by the way, doesn’t have too many calories and does a great job of satisfying a sweet tooth). It was a nice dance, and we enjoyed the music of Charles & the Fabulous Four. Lee Roy and I think this band’s offerings have improved, and we enjoyed their music on Saturday. They even played 6 or 7 polkas and 5 or 6 waltzes, which we definitely enjoyed. There were so many friendly and nice folks at that dance. All of the host couples were exceptionally friendly, as hosts should be. We saw friends and met some folks we had not known previously. It was definitely a pleasure to be a part of those enjoying the music, the dancing, and the socializing – and don’t forget: the food!
On the way home from the dance, (which was odd to be going home from a dance at that hour on a Saturday), Lee Roy inquired what our plans were for the rest of the weekend. I told him that we didn’t have any dances planned and didn’t even know offhand if there were any dances happening Sunday. After we got home, I looked at the schedule I had picked up at the dance and saw that Charles & the Fabulous 4 were scheduled to play Sunday afternoon at New Taiton. So, I told Lee Roy we could dance at Taiton on Sunday from 2-6. (That’s the area where he grew up and he’s quite familiar with that hall. In fact, he feels like he’s “at home” there.) He asked who was playing, and when I told him, his response was that they had played well Saturday, so we decided to go. The band played very well again on Sunday, and we enjoyed the company of so many friends at that dance. Many of them live in the general area, and we saw a lot of folks that we don’t get to see very often. It’s so nice to have friends who enjoy dancing like we do! Don’t you agree? Well, we don’t know when we’ll see you again, but I’d be willing to bet that it will be at a dance fairly soon. Meantime, be sure to utilize that wonderful air-conditioning that we are blessed to have! I remember growing up in this area with NO air-conditioning. I bet you remember that, too. No A/C at home, no A/C at school, and remember the single pedestal fan at the front of each classroom? And windows that opened to let the air in? Yes, we are blessed in so many ways!
We had a great time, as we always do, at the Houston Accordion Association’s gathering last night at the Pizza Inn in northwest Houston (Mangum & 18th), which happens the third Tuesday of each month, rain or shine, freezing or hotter than a sizzling skillet. Arlyn Visentin leads that group and does a terrific job of that. There’s no charge to go just to listen or to play an accordion or other instrument. This organization has no dues, either! Just a lot of accordion lovers! Musicians of every level of ability are welcomed, and guests who just want an evening of free entertainment are also welcomed. All instruments can join in the jam session that is held after each accordionist has had an opportunity to play 3 songs of his or her choice, and requests from the audience are welcomed during the jam session. It’s always a fun night. A few of our regulars were not there last evening, but some “irregulars” were there, including Robbie & Charlie, the 16- and 15-year-old sons of Margie and Bob Suttie. It’s always a joy to see those young men. Each of them played a polka and a waltz on the accordion, and Charlie and Bob joined Robbie when he played his selections, Charlie on the trumpet and Bob on a tuba-style instrument. I’m not certain it was a tuba, but it was something closely related at minimum. By the way, Bob told us that he and the boys will be playing outside at the Shiner picnic (believe it will be at KC Park in Shiner) on September 4, a Sunday, and afterward Bob’s band, Texas Legacy Czech Band, will be playing inside the hall for dancing. If I’m not mistaken, this annual event is the one which sells a self-serve 3-meat dinner in the hall. I must say it’s a delicious dinner! So, there’s another musical and dancing event you can put on your calendar. Maybe by then I will have lost most of the weight goal I have set for myself….. Whether that happens or not, I’ll definitely plan on enjoying that wonderful dinner – and the music! That’s another thing to put on your calendar. It will be Labor Day weekend, and that’s a good weekend to dance inside an air-conditioned hall.
Mid-July is time for an annual reunion of Lee Roy’s cousins and their offspring, including some great-grandchildren of some of the cousins. That happens at Brackenridge Park at Lake Texana near Edna & Ganado. Mid-July doesn’t seem like a good time to have a camping reunion in Texas – yes, the temperature was well into the 90′s – but this park almost always has a wonderful breeze in the afternoon, which really makes it feel pleasant. We share a meal on Saturday evening, with the treasury of the reunion buying the meat and everyone providing both a side dish and a dessert. Some, including us, gather in the pavilion on Sunday morning to share a brunch. Other than that, everyone is on their own for meals, but there’s lots of visiting and catching up on everyone’s health, who has new children since we last got together, learning who plans to retire soon, etc. Some folks boat and otherwise enjoy the lake, but I’m chicken. Really NOT fond of alligators and definitely prefer not to occupy the same territory that they do. We always enjoy seeing the deer which usually are quite numerous, but we didn’t see a single one this year. Their relatives are probably enjoying our veggies that they think we planted just for them! We took our little travel trailer down to the lake on Friday and came back home on Monday. We bought the uncut brisket at the live auction that followed Saturday night’s meal. We’ll enjoy some of it tonight. Troy Shimek and Carl Filip did a great job of barbecuing the brisket – nice and tender, juicy, and delicious. Thanks, guys, for all your hard work. Thanks go to Tena Frick, Troy’s sister, for taking good care of our treasury and buying the plates, utensils, and whatever else is needed, and for keeping all of us informed about time to make reservations, etc. Clarence and Rose Marie Filip did those jobs for many years, and prior to that, Marilyn Powers kept things going. To everyone who brought auction items and Bingo items, we thank you, and also thanks to everyone who purchased items in the auction. It takes everyone, doesn’t it?
Because we were busy with reuniting all weekend and more, we did not have an opportunity to dance. Normally we would have been at the Wallis American Legion for the monthly dance of the Wallis Dance Club (always on the third Saturday). This month it was Central Texas Sounds that provided the music. I haven’t heard anything about that dance or any others, but I feel certain there were a good number of folks that went there to dance. Maybe we’ll get to see some of our dancing friends soon. We hope so!
As for the exciting news, we have an announcement regarding our own club’s upcoming dance, which will happen at the Sealy American Legion hall on Sunday afternoon, October 30. We’ve booked a band, and we are so thrilled to announce that it will be the Dujka Brothers band that will provide our music. Most polka dancers are quite familiar with this band. Not only are they excellent musicians and all-around nice guys, but their music absolutely demands that we get up and dance! There is so much “life” in their music that it’s impossible not to dance to it! Go put this dance on your calendar right now so you don’t accidentally plan something else for that day! You won’t want to miss it! As a member of THMDC you will get into the hall for free, but we always welcome the public to our dances for less than they’ll pay elsewhere. Come one, come all, and be sure to come ready to dance, or if you have a broken leg or something like that, you’ll still want to be there to enjoy the music these guys will play for us. We’ll see you before then, I feel certain. God bless!
I know it’s gotten late to be reporting on our extended weekend activities last weekend, but I’ll try to get it done tonight! We started the weekend on Thursday, going to Schulenburg’s KC hall for a dinner hosted by about 20 couples and singles. These dinners always have plenty of time for socializing ahead of the dinner, with a variety of help-yourself drinks. After the blessing table names are called (this one was travel-themed, and our table was Nova Scotia). Then it was self-serve for the meal. There were three meats, though I had only two varieties. It was very good, catered by Peters BBQ in Fayetteville. Everyone always seems to enjoy visiting with not only their table mates, but also with others.
Friday we returned to the Schulenburg KC hall for a dance where the Central Texas Sounds band was playing. It was an early dance, from 7-10:30, so we weren’t too late getting home. A second cousin of Lee Roy’s had invited us, and we knew some of the other folks they had invited, but also met folks we had not previously met. Everyone seemed to enjoy the music and the dancing as well as the socializing.
Saturday we went to the Happy Cousins Dance Club dance at the Rosenberg American Legion. The Red Ravens were playing at that dance, and we barely got there before the music started. It was the first time I got to celebrate my birthday this year. I always enjoy birthdays, especially mine! Now I’m officially 3/4 of a century old and glad for each year and each day as well as for the good health that God has blessed me with so far. We spent the night at John & Donna Roberts’ house since we were planning to dance on Sunday at the Sealy American Legion hall. What a shocker it was to step into the bathroom across from the bedroom we stay in and find that I was walking in water!!! No, I wasn’t walking ON water….. For whatever reason, the builder had put the A/C overflow drain into the P-trap of the vanity in that bathroom, and over the years the gunk (do we have a good definition for gunk? – I think it’s also called crud) from the A/C condenser unit had built up over time and Lee Roy couldn’t even get a snake (plumbing device, ladies) any farther than 4 or 5 feet into the plumbing. Meantime, I asked for a wet-dry vac. Among the 4 of us, we did the best we could to mitigate the problem. We went to bed with 2 fans running so the carpet and padding could have a chance to dry out. I was afraid that the light we had left on in the bathroom would keep me awake, but I must have been tired, because I fell off to sleep quite soon after getting into bed at 1:30 AM.
Sunday’s dance was just part of an all-day event put on by the Po.L.K. of A., starting with dinner (polka Mass had to be canceled), then a meeting, and dancing at 2:30, with the Czechaholics playing. It was another opportunity to celebrate my birthday, and also our 38th anniversary, which is on July 14. It was free to the public, and lots of the public came. They also had a silent auction, a refreshment basket to be raffled off, and a 50-25-25 cash drawing. All three of those prizes were won at our table and the table next to ours – and all three of the winners are members of our dance club, Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club (aka THMDC). Those winners were Walter Kennon, Dennis Sumbera and JoAn Slafka. People brought desserts to share at dinnertime. I liked the dessert I had made the best. Is everyone else like that? You like your own cooking? We also took home a silent auction item, which was a plastic bag filled with second generation cherry tomatoes. Those were donated (and grown by) Bennie & Bernice Stolarski. I’ve been enjoying them all week! Because they were second generation fruit from hybrids, they weren’t quite as small as most cherry tomatoes. No matter to us! They are quite yummy! Thanks, Bennie & Bernice! And I also saw a home grown watermelon donated by Bernard & Pearl Greener. They do a great job of raising veggies and fruit. I’m guessing they don’t have any deer munching on their veggies and fruit – or any squirrels stealing the fruits of their labor.
We won’t be able to dance this coming weekend, as we have a family reunion at an area lake with Lee Roy’s cousins and several generations of offspring. Yes, we are the oldest generation now. Dance a few for us wherever you go!
For a change, our Fourth of July weekend wasn’t incredibly hot. Hot, yes. Uncomfortable, yes, but we’ve certainly seen worse over our lifetimes in this part of Texas. Saturday, July 2, was the date for the Sealy Dance Club, held each first Saturday of the month at the Sealy American Legion. Once again they held a silent auction, this time a baked goods silent auction, to help stabilize its finances so they can keep holding these dances and we can know the dances are going to happen. I don’t mind baking something and bringing it – and we don’t mind buying some of the items for auction. Of course, it shouldn’t happen every month, but to help ensure that this club will continue, that’s a good cause that we can all benefit from. This month the band was Charles & the Fabulous 4. Decent music, but we’d always prefer to hear more polkas and waltzes, especially those that fall under the category of “Czech” or “German”, or even “Polish”.
This was our only dance the first weekend of July because our July 3 (when we think of Dubina’s annual church picnic) was the date our friends selected for their Fourth of July celebration with a barbecue and a pool party. We all took something to contribute to the meal, of course, and I didn’t find anything on my plate that I didn’t like. It didn’t necessarily go with my eating plan, but it was good. Even though I ate outside of the eating plan, I was down one more pound this week – slowly but surely. Currently 10 pounds down, with 15 more to go. We heard that folks that did get to Dubina (music by the Shiner Hobos, Mark Halata & Texavia, and Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six (I think – I know they were there last year), and those that got to St. John on the Fourth for the Red Ravens and the Dujka Brothers had a great time and didn’t mind the heat too much. We hope you were among them!