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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Our dancing Friday was at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall, where the annual Teddy Bear Ball took place.  About 16 couples sponsor this, and each invitee is asked to bring a teddy bear which will be donated to sheriff’s and fire departments to be distributed to children who have experienced a tragedy and are in need of comfort.  It’s a nice thing to do, and thanks to the generosity of the hosts, we are able to participate in doing a good thing and have the benefit of a dance to enjoy.  Over the last few years we have been invited to this fun event by several different couples, and we thank each and every one of them.  The music was quite lively, provided by Charles & the Fabulous 4.  We’ve gotten to like this band more and more.  It’s hard to sit down when the music is playing.  We also were asked to bring something to snack on, and the food was set out in the kitchen area.  There was a nice variety to choose from when intermission came and we all went and chose what we wanted.  It’s hard not to overdo, as the food was very enticing.

We had been invited to a wedding (friends Walt Harfmann & Glynis Whitmore) north of Georgetown, so on Saturday morning we left at 9:30 to have time to check into the motel at Taylor and proceed to the church.  Both the bride and the groom had been widowed previously (and we grieved with Walt over Eileen’s very unexpected death nearly 3 years ago).  After the wedding everyone at the wedding enjoyed a delicious lunch buffet at the Walburg German Restaurant.  Having been sated with the wide variety of the buffet, we then proceeded to Moravian Hall at Corn Hill.  It’s an old hall, but new to us, with a nice wood floor in very good shape.  The dance floor is upstairs, but entering the hall from the rear, one would think it’s the ground floor.  Walt & Glynis had advertised that the dance was open to the public at no charge.  Plenty of tables and chairs were set up in the beautifully decorated hall, but the weather most likely kept many people home.  Still, there were plenty of folks there to help the newlyweds celebrate.  Not everyone danced, so there were “just about the right number” of folks on the dance floor at any given time.  The wedding cake was beautiful, and it was snapped up in a hurry.  I couldn’t believe the entire cake was gone when we went to get some!  Lee Roy got the “crumbs”, but I had to wait for the next cake to be taken out and cut.  I understand there was even an additional sheet cake.  All cakes were part vanilla and part deep chocolate.  I was bad and had both a white piece and a chocolate piece.  Shame on me!  I hope my scale does not show that some pounds found me again!  The music was terrific, with the Dujka Brothers and Mark Halata & Texavia playing.  John Dujka said that was his first time to play at Corn Hill.  That was surprising to us.  We had another treat later in the evening when Walt, Glynis, Patsy Polasek, and Walt’s son from Florida, Kurt, played button accordions for us.  It was very special.  Walt is a very accomplished accordionist, and he has taught all three of the others how to play.  Glynis and Patsy are both Czech, and they each have a connection to Czech music.  Glynis’ grandfather played the button accordion, and Patsy’s father played guitar and did vocals with Fritz Hodde’s band for 30 years.  She and her 5 siblings went to all of the dances when her dad played, so she doesn’t even have to read music, as she has the songs memorized.  Glynis is learning to play by ear also.  It goes without saying that Kurt has had quite a bit of exposure to accordions.  We wish the very best, and a long happy marriage, to Walt & Glynis.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at McDonald’s in Taylor (we love McDonald’s breakfast!), and headed out toward Shelby again.  This time we took the route from Elgin to Bastrop, and on to La Grange, then to Round Top, arriving at Shelby at 1 PM.  Since we didn’t know when it might rain again, we entered the hall half an hour before the doors were to open.  It was nice to have some time to visit with folks we see but don’t often have time to really converse.  Our hosts for this dance were Willie & Josie Milberger from Bryan.  They are such nice folks!  Unfortunately, Willie doesn’t dance much because his knees hurt a lot subsequent to knee surgery on each.  Josie is Italian, but loves to dance, especially polka.  They are always such wonderful hosts.  We thank each couple who helped host this dance, which is an annual Christmas dance with the Texas Legacy Czech Band playing.  We heard lots of Christmas carols; nothing better to put you in a Christmas mood!  This time, the band had a fill-in on accordion, a new Texan who wanted to leave Nebraska’s cold weather behind.  His name is Mark Karasek, a 3rd generation Czech. Like Lee Roy, he speaks very little Czech.  Mark is quite accomplished on the piano accordion and does the bellows shake a lot, and quite often embellishes the songs with extra runs of notes.  We were quite favorably impressed with this gentleman.  I found out that he works for TD Ameritrade, which we are very familiar with, so it almost seemed like “old home week”.   We had a wonderful time, but we were quite surprised when Rudy & Lucille Antrich arrived to see that Rudy was wearing one of those lovely boots the doctors put people in when they have injured a foot.  (Rudy dropped a 2 x 4 on his foot, and although the doctor said he had no broken bones, Rudy said it hurts a LOT.)  Then we were surprised once more when JoAn Slafka arrived wearing a very similar boot because of foot surgery.  We should have taken a picture of the matching boots.  But, sometimes we don’t think of doing things until the opportunity has passed.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll still get to do that next weekend.  You never know!  BTW, when you see her, wish Lucille a happy birthday.  The actual date is December 10.  Hoping we get to see you soon.  Whatever you do, be sure to get your share of dancing in before Christmas arrives!

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We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Ours was, as usual, family, turkey,  ham, yummy sides, and delish desserts.  On Saturday after Thanksgiving, we helped Rudy & Lucille Antrich celebrate 50 years of marriage.  That’s the 5th 50th we’ve helped folks celebrate this year – and we had to decline another since we were at Wurstfest.  Maybe it’s our age that brings us friends who are celebrating 50 years.  I must say, it’s quite a good thing to be able to celebrate that, as not all people have been able to get there – for various reasons.  Maybe one day we will even make it that far.  It was a lovely celebration – beautiful decorations on the tables, a huge screen for watching a brief video of their pre- and post-marriage lives, good music by the Red Ravens, delicious food to snack on, and at 5:30 we helped ourselves to a delicious barbecue meal.  There was a beautiful multi-tiered white wedding cake with a delicious lemony filling between layers; surrounding the big cake were three square layer cakes.  One was red velvet, one was poppyseed (and I got there just in time to scrape up the poppyseed scraps to take to Lee Roy), and they did not cut the third cake.  Maybe they took it home for the family to enjoy together.  I’m sure it was as delicious as the others were.  I only tasted the multi-tiered white cake, and it was delicious, so I feel certain they all were.  The meal included three meats (more than I need, for sure!) – barbecue brisket, chicken, and sausage, all from Mikeska’s in El Campo.  I didn’t hear any complaints about the meal, either!

Good friends John & Donna Roberts were kind enough to open their home to us (again) to spend the night so we would be closer to Taiton where Sunday’s annual KULP polka fest was to happen.  We arrived early so we could get seats right by the dance floor.  We like to do that because we usually dance a lot, but it was a day with some tension between us (you would think we would have gotten past that in 38 years!) and sadly we did less dancing than usual.  I strongly prefer to dance lots more than we did this day.  Lee Roy wouldn’t even go dance with other women, which he usually does.  Needless to say, we could have had a better time, but we are the ones responsible for that.  The music was good, and there were plenty of folks to socialize with, and there was a menu of a variety of food they were selling.  Some very nice door prizes were given away, but we were not the winners of anything.  Don Orsak from Edna and Theresa Jones from Danbury both won two raffle prizes!  It was SO GOOD to see Theresa on the dance floor again!  Now that she’s retiring we’re likely to see her more.  She’s a nice person and a good dancer, very popular with the fellows.  We hope you had a good holiday weekend and that you got to do plenty of dancing.  God bless!  (Remember, it’s less than a month until Christmas!  Make the most of your time!)  I don’t know when or how I am going to find the time to do all I need to do, which includes cataract surgery just before Christmas – but I guess it will work out.  It’s a very special time of year, and I wish for each of you that it will be exceptional.

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A friend told me Saturday night at the Wallis dance that a mutual friend had died.  I was so shocked, as she was.  I still am having a hard time believing it.  I’m sharing this news in case you know this lady.  It’s Nina Little from Brenham.  Nina had knee replacement last spring (May, I believe), and for several months we had noticed her absence at dances.  She was hardly ever absent from a dance at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall.  She lived fairly close, and because she was a very nice lady, and a good dancer, she got invitations from dance hosts all the time.  The men enjoyed dancing with her.  She was pleasant to visit with.  She was the picture of health, with glowing skin, hair that was always “just right”, and a smile on her face all the time.  When we saw her in late August or early September she told us about the knee surgery, and she was still not where she needed to be with it, not healing as quickly as she would have liked.  She was eager to get back on the dance floor.  We saw her again at the Bluebonnet Opry in October (when they have one of their two polka programs a year, the other one in May), and I saw that she had lost some weight, perhaps 20 pounds.  She looked really good, and I complimented her on that.  She shared with me that she had recently had pneumonia and e-coli, and those apparently were responsible for the weight loss.  She did not indicate that any health problems were ongoing except that the knee still was not as good as she wanted for the time frame it had been.  I was absolutely stunned to learn of her death; she would have been the last person I would have guessed had died.  So, if you knew her in any way, I know you would want to know about her death.  I was told that her body is at the funeral home in Brenham, but before making arrangements they are still trying to diagnosis the cause of death.  Please offer up some prayers of consolation for her family and others who were close to her, if you would care to do that.  And consider again how each one of us on earth is here at the grace of God, and will depart this earth when He is ready to call us home.  Make the most of your time, and try to be a positive influence; we never know when our time will come, and I consider it a blessing that God has chosen not to let us know when or how that will be.

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We were so happy to be among the invited guests at the 50th anniversary celebration of dancing friends Pat and Louis Vrazel of Danbury (in the Angleton area).  Such a wonderful couple, and they did a bang-up job of planning their celebration.  We loved that they had purchased tiny gold-toned bells for each guest to ring when they rang a bell as another way to express the special achievement they had reached in their marriage.  That’s something we had not done at other 50th anniversary celebrations, unique and meaningful.  They also had a display of 3 doors; one was his family’s front door, one was her family’s front door, and the one between those two doors was their own front door.  I’m sure those three doors brought back many memories for them.  They had hired Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six to play for this occasion.  We always enjoy hearing and dancing to their music, and in addition the band members are really such nice men.  The video Pat and Louis had put together including Mollie B singing “Waltz of the Angels” was wonderful!  We saw so many friends there, many of whom we see quite often at dances, and others that we don’t get to see so often.  The snacks were delicious (including a very beautiful multi-tiered wedding cake adorned with groups of red roses), and the dinner with chicken fried chicken breast was yummy.  When you see Pat and Louis, be sure to wish them many more years of wedded bliss.

We left just after 7 PM to go to the club dance at the Wallis American Legion, where Odessa was playing.  They played quite a bit of country, more than we usually hear.  We did enjoy their version of “Buck’s Polka”, which not many bands play.  It’s a fast polka written for (perhaps by) Buck Owens of Grand Ole Opry fame.  It’s always good to hear it, one of our favorites, and so much a favorite that Lee Roy has it as his ring tone.  This date was when they had a holiday dinner for their members, at 6 PM ahead of the dance. Lucille Antrich had requested last month that they put away 6 dinners to go for the Antriches, the Robertses, and us. They were kind enough to do that, and we plan to munch out on them this evening.  I had planned to have that yesterday for dinner, but when we did our Thanksgiving dinner shopping yesterday at HEB in Tomball, Lee Roy had purchased some pork tamales (definitely not MY favorite thing!), and he was eager to enjoy some of them.   We had gotten a “deal” on them, a typical HEB offer of “buy this and get that, that, that and more”.  Since I had not gotten to eat anything after breakfast until we got home with our groceries, I was hungry at that time and ate some tortilla chips and guacamole, so I was not hungry at dinner time and never got hungry before we got in bed at midnight.  Not a bad deal since I’ve been trying (successfully) to lose some weight.  I’ll brag a little and tell you that as of this morning, I’ve lost 20 pounds since May 5.  Five more are on my radar, and I hope none of those lost pounds finds me again!  They can be awfully sneaky.  After eating TONS of sweets and a giant dinner at the anniversary, I was afraid some pounds may have found me again, so it was a pleasant surprise to find this morning that one more pound had departed.

Well, I really MUST close this missive!  I have only today and two more before we get company for Thanksgiving.  Not only do I have to get my house in order, and clean (something it hasn’t been for much too long!), but I have to bake some cornbread for dressing, then fix the dressing (which takes quite awhile because of chopping up the onion and celery, plus the stuffing it into the bird), and have to make a pecan pie (which will be totally gone before Friday arrives), make a sweet potato casserole, prepare sweet potatoes to bake, fix some Irish potatoes, make a buttermilk salad (which I can do ahead, thank goodness), set out the plates and tableware, etc.  On top of that, Lee Roy needs my help with some badly needed work on our rent house next door.  I think we should postpone Thanksgiving a week…..but who ever pays attention to my suggestions?  Personally, I think it’s a good one, except that the relatives will be working the next Thursday.  I guess we’d better stay with the original date for celebrating Thanksgiving.  Have a great one yourself, and stay safe!  We want to see you at some dances coming up shortly.



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It seems like FOREVER since we’ve been in our “regular area” dancing with our friends we see most often.  But, there’s a good reason:  We’ve been at Wurstfest in New Braunfels enjoying that 10-day annual festival, the “salute to the sausage”.  It happens every year in early November, and next year it will start on Friday, November 3, with dancing and other entertainment (and food, drinks, vendors) every day until it ends on Sunday, November 12.  Put it on your calendar so you don’t forget to plan your schedule to include at least some of this fun festival.  They changed things up a bit this year.  Usually on Day 1 the Comal Community Band will be playing as festival-goers enter the grounds, and that music is followed by the opening ceremonies which include the “biting of the sausage”, introduction of some of the most important “Opas”, who are instrumental in making this festival run smoothly, and very importantly, the tapping of the keg of beer.  This year the keg was a special Wurstfest varietal produced by Shiner Beer.  Instead of the community band playing first, the Jodie Mikula Orchestra from Ennis was playing when the gates opened at 4 PM.  At 5 o’clock, the music halted for the opening ceremonies, and an hour later the music resumed for dancing.  Those events happened in the Wursthalle, the original site of Wurstfest more than 50 years ago.  There are other venues for music and entertainment, and each one had music and/or entertainment starting at 6 PM.  A band from Florida, Spitze!, played in the big tent; Terry Cavanagh & the Alpine Express (a New Braunfels band) played in the little tent; the Stelzenhaus, which was built 4 or 5 years ago, started with the Ennis Czech Boys at 6 o’clock; and the Stelzenplatz immediately outside of the Stelzenhaus, had the band Alpenmusikanten at that time.   Our favorite venue is the Stelzenhaus, as it is the only venue with a wood floor, and also the only air-conditioned venue.  We left the Wursthalle after dancing a bit to the Mikulas’ music, and went to the Stelzenhaus for part of the Ennis Czech Boys’ performance, followed at 8:20 PM by the Dujka Brothers.  You will probably recall that we had the Dujka Brothers play for our club dance on October 30.  If you were there, you know how wonderful their music is.  Of course, we enjoyed the music of all three bands we heard on opening night, the Mikulas, the ECB, and the Dujkas.

Saturday the gates opened at 11 AM (we are always at the back gate before it opens), and the festival closed that night at midnight.  Yes, it’s a long day, but think of all the possibilities you have to enjoy music, entertainment, beer, German food, and PEOPLE!  We love almost everything about Wurstfest.  Of course, I don’t drink beer (or much of anything but water), but I don’t need beer to have fun.  Give me polka music and dancing and I’m happy as can be!  Of course when the crowds get to be a challenge due to sheer numbers of people standing around talking and drinking, it is not as much fun as at other times.  Generally speaking, that happens on Saturdays, but Thursday and Friday nights also tend to bring huge numbers of folks out.  One of the most wonderful things about Wurstfest is all of the people we meet, many of whom come back year after year expecting to meet up with us again, and sometimes they even bring friends to meet us!  What a heartwarming thing that is!  We have met so many people at Wurstfest that it’s almost incredible, and in many cases we have become good friends with them.  As you probably can imagine, Wurstfest provides us with many opportunities to teach people how to dance, or how to improve their dancing.  They are always so appreciative – and we love it when we can see that they are so happy to learn how to dance.  Many of them catch on quite well.  It’s really amazing.  This year we (mostly Lee Roy, but me to a lesser extent) taught 77 people how to dance, including on the final evening a 10-year-old named Drew and his teen-age brother, Luke.  Both of these very courteous young folks were SO HAPPY to learn and caught on very, very well.  We hope they will find enough places during the course of this next year to put their newly-learned skills to practice.  Theresa Parker had given us quite a few Polka On buttons to pass out to folks at Wurstfest.  Mostly we gave them to younger folks who were trying to dance, so they would be encouraged to dance more.  There were several notable young folks who were dancing very well.  One was a handsome young man, perhaps 12 years old, whose name we didn’t get, who looked very much like a rancher-to-be in his western hat which sat “just so” on his head.  He also carried on an adult-type conversation with me.  Very impressive.  His mother had taught him to dance.  He and his brother both were out on the dance floor at the Stelzenhaus quite a bit, dancing very admirably.  Another was a precious and beautiful 9-year-old girl, Lileigh (that’s pronounced Lily), who was there with her grandparents.  They all live in Clovis, NM, and we had met her 9-year-old cousin, Tristan, at Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg a month earlier.  The grandmother had told us at Oktoberfest that she and their grandfather had taught their grandchildren to dance.  I must say they did a terrific job of that, as each of the children we met danced very, very well – AND they were so happy to be dancing!  Lileigh ALWAYS had a huge smile on her face!  When we met Tristan and his grandparents at Fredericksburg, I had told the grandmother, Susie, that they should come to Wurstfest and told her where and when it happened.  It was SO NICE to see this family again, and to see how important it has been to them to be sure their grandchildren know how to dance.  Susie told me that there are no dances at Clovis, so they drive the 580 miles (that’s one way, and pulling a 5th wheel RV) to give their grandchildren the lifelong benefits of dancing.  Way to go, Susie and Frank! We also received a very generous invitation from them to come see them in Clovis and spend the night whenever we are in that area.  She promised to make us a Mexican dinner (she’s of Mexican heritage).  I said that would be great if it’s not true Mexican, but that I love Tex-Mex.  She agreed that the kind of food she likes is Tex-Mex!   See what I mean about making friends?  Yes, it’s a wonderful part of going to Wurstfest!

We have now been to Wurstfest for 10 consecutive years, for all 10 days, which means we have now had 100 consecutive Wurstfest days, something that probably no one else has done, including the Opas, as they don’t go EVERY day.   Three times John Kaderli, leader of the Seven Dutchmen Orchestra, announced that fact.  He and his wife, Janet, who also plays in the band, are some of the very first Opas (and Oma) that we met at Wurstfest, and we are always happy to see them as well as other Opas that we have come to know over these past 10 years.

I haven’t covered much about the bands and entertainers we enjoyed.  Of course, we never see/hear all of them, as we choose those we think are the ones we want to enjoy.  But, here are the ones we heard:  Rennie Guenther & the Happy Travelers, Texas Sound Check, 3rd Generation, Kerry Christensen (an amazing master yodeler from Utah), Mark Halata & Texavia (Mark is a member of THMDC, along with his wife Cathy), Seven Dutchmen Orchestra, the San Antonio Dutchmen, Texas Legacy Czech Band (whose leader, Bob Suttie and his entire family are members of THMDC, as well as band members Mike Gest and Jimmy Heinsohn), the Walburg Boys (not so much a dance band as a show band – and should be booked to play in the small tent instead of the Stelzenhaus), Gene Bartkiewicz and All Mixed Up (mostly country), the Royal Klobasneks, the Europa Band (Lee Roy has found a new “girlfriend” :-) in Mariana – he has a problem remembering names, but no problem remembering her name!  She is the vocalist and tambourine player for Europa), Squeezebox Band with Mollie B, the Shiner Hobo Band (new band member Patsy Polasek and her 5 children are members of THMDC). Jimmy Sturr & his orchestra (Jimmy is also a member of THMDC), and the final band we heard, and hear every year, the Joe Rogers Big Band.  That’s a band comprised of former students of the band director at New Braunfels High School, Joe Rogers, and two former band students at Canyon High School.  That band was formed just for Wurstfest to honor their former band leader.  What a nice gesture!  So that’s it.  We hope you can enjoy at least part of Wurstfest in the future.  Plan to see us there!

Now it’s time to focus on your dancing for this weekend.  Yes, Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, but be sure to make time for dancing this weekend and next!  Enjoy dancing, then enjoy the holiday feast, then dance after that so you can counteract those extra calories from the sweet potato casserole, the dressing, and the pecan pie – or whatever you indulge in at Thanksgiving!  God bless!




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We worked hard to have a good dance, and everything came together beautifully!  Undoubtedly, having the Dujka Brothers play for us made a tremendous difference, as so many people love their music (and love John and Mark, too!).  The Sealy American Legion hall was the site of our Oktoberfest dance, and we made a lot of “firsts”.  It was the most people in attendance at any of our dances, the 50-50 pot was the largest we’ve ever had (we split $472, with half going to the club and half being won by a very happy Pearl Greener) , and we signed up a record number of new members, 31, making our total number of paid members 148.  We know of at least two other members who are planning to get their dues to us (or have already done so) via USPS.

Gwen Petersen (r) handing over the 50-50 pot to winner Pearl Greener (l)

Our silent auction was successful, too, and we certainly thank each person who brought silent auction items as well as each person who purchased items from our silent auction.  Theresa Parker, owner and publisher of the Texas Polka News came to promote the subscription drive she has launched with the Texas Polka News.  It sounds like her time was well-spent; she got 5 new subscriptions and 19 of us renewed our subscriptions.  For each of those new and renewal subscribers, our club will receive from Theresa $5, for a total so far of $120 for our club.  The subscription drive goes until 2018, and the goal is to have 3000 subscribers by 2018.  FYI, folks who subscribed or renewed at the dance got a 40% discount off the usual $25 per year, and had to pay only $15.  What a deal!  Thanks, Theresa, for all you do for the polka world.  Lee Roy and I had very little time to even mosey through the silent auction areas, but we did manage to purchase 4 items.  Several folks came in costume, which was an appropriate time to do that, the day before Halloween.  Mary Agnes came as a “Dorothy” while her husband, Neal Dawson, came as a scarecrow (from the Wizard of Oz); Carol and Dennis Campbell came all decked out as clowns; Judy Foster wore a skeleton-embellished black top, and Lee Roy and I came dressed as German Oktoberfest-goers.  Thanks to Mary Ann Sliva for clueing me in that Mary Agnes was Dorothy, and not just a “farmer’s daughter”, even wearing red shoes on her tootsies!

Costumed dancers at October 30 club dance: L to R are Walter Kennon (orange shirt for Halloween, Rosina Christensen, Neal Dawson & Mary Agnes Grissom in costumes from "Wizard of Oz", as scarecrow & Dorothy, Carol & Dennis Campbell as clowns, and Gwen & Lee Roy Petersen as German Octoberfest-goers

A number of folks dressed for Halloween.  It was fun.  The music was terrific, as we knew it would be, even though the two of us (and several other board members) didn’t get to do much dancing.  We appreciate all of our board members who worked so hard to make the dance a success as well as each person who came to the dance!  Thank you for your support of our club, which in turn helps to keep polka music and dancing (and their “cousin” dances – waltz and foxtrot) alive and well in Texas.  I apologize that I did not get to greet each and every person, like Bill and Peggy from Elgin.  We did get to greet Norman and Sharon from Austin and Lee Roy and Imelda from Fort Worth (they were our very first arrivals!).  We are hoping our treasury will allow us to have not only our usual two dances in fiscal year 2017-2018, but also perhaps a “bonus” dance.  What a treat that would be!  One of our members, Mary Lou Svatek, had a birthday that day, and her family had brought a beautifully-decorated cake to help her celebrate the occasion, which they shared with many of the dancers.  Happy Birthday, Mary Lou! We plan to have our next club dance in late April 2017, so keep your eyes looking out for the information.  We haven’t booked anything yet, but we’ll let you know when that happens.  Meantime, “Polka On!”

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Squeezebox Band and Mollie B will be performing in Texas in January 2017.  For your assistance, I’m listing information here that should be helpful to you in finding where and when:

Wednesday, January 11Mission at Mission Bell in the evening

Thursday, January 12Mission at Bentsen Grove Resort – 7 PM stage show

Friday, January 13Hallettsvlle at KC Hall – 3-1/2 hour dance in the evening

Saturday, January 14Granger at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Rec Hall – Dance 6-10 PM

Sunday, January 15 - Houston at SPJST Lodge 88 (Chandelier Ballroom) – 2-6 PM dance – Tickets are $15 per person and will be presold starting November 1.  You can send your check to the lodge at 1435 Beall St., Houston TX 77008, marking the envelope “Attn: Vernell” or “Mollie B”.  Be sure to include the table number or area where you’d like to sit.  For more information, call Vernell at 713-861-0223, or call the lodge at 713-869-5767.  The lodge web site is www.lodge88.org.  Requests for tickets will be held until November 1 before processing.  Be sure to include your phone number in case the lodge needs to ask you a question.

Specifics for events from January 11-January 14 can be found on the band’s web site, www.squeezeboxband.com, including phone numbers to call for information, addresses of the halls or RV parks where the band will perform, etc.  You will NOT be able to make reservations directly with the band, only with the locations where the band will perform.  Good luck!  Make your plans as early as possible to help ensure that you can enjoy the band where and when you want.

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Well, that’s not an unusual 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.  It 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.

Saturday we enjoyed a very lovely 50th anniversary party at Houston’s SPJST #88, hosted by a wonderful couple, Kay and Frank Foltyn. Frank and Kay are such an inspiration to everyone, devoted to each other and their family, and with a deep faith in God.  Before the party actually started, there were plenty of goodies to eat, two kinds of sausage, delicious sliced ham (those were bought from Janak’s in Hallettsville, who delivered them there shortly before we got there), two kinds of cheese cubes and two kinds of crackers, plus a variety of kolaches, buchta of two or three types, and snickerdoodle cookies.  We know for sure that if you’re planning to have a get-together of any kind, you’ll find friendly folks and delicious food at Janak’s.  The dance started at 2 PM, and it was with the Red Ravens, always a good choice.  The Red Ravens even did their “red glasses” thing after intermission.  Dinner followed, and it was also delicious, catered by Ben’s Catering.  It’s a popular caterer.  Ben was one of the folks at the head of the serving lines.  The menu consisted of baked chicken and gravy to top it and any other food, boiled buttered red potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, canned peaches, bread and tea.  Really, really delicious (except I found the gravy had plenty of white pepper in it, and I avoid pepper of any kind – but it did me no harm, just a burning sensation in my mouth and throat, nothing permanent!).  Anyway, I definitely have Ben’s on my “really good caterers” list.   To top it all off, we had white and/or chocolate wedding cake.  What a beautiful sight that uncut 5-layer cake was!  Very impressive to look at as well as to eat.  Kay ordered it sight unseen from a lady in El Campo, and it was incredibly beautiful.  She told me the name of the lady who baked it, but I apparently wasn’t listening too well……but no doubt Kay would be glad to share that info with you if you’re interested in finding someone with that kind of talent.  What a wonderful party it was, and we wish many more happy and healthy years for the Foltyns.  We certainly thank them for including us!

We made two events on Sunday, the first being the annual Oktoberfest at the Catholic church in Bellville.  The band was Mark Halata & Texavia, and the location of the music was a large covered pavilion.  Mark and his wife Cathy are members of THMDC, and Mike Gest (who usually plays with them as well as his own two bands) is also a member of our club. Besides that, we saw 4 more club members there, Dennis Sumbera & Betty Tidwell and Bennie & Bernice Stolarski.  That was a pleasant surprise.  Since most festival-goers didn’t dance, we had plenty of room in front of the band.  Can any dancer pass up dancing to the music of Mark Halata & Texavia?  I don’t think so!  We left after the band was finished so that we could go to the Schulenburg KC Hall for the Swiss Alp Dance Club dance. Al Sulak’s band was playing, and of course I heard many compliments on their music.  You may recall that they played for our dance last April – and Al won the 50-50 pot.  That made him happy and he made his band members happy by paying them each an extra $10.  Nice, huh?  But, then, no one who knows Al Sulak would expect anything but nice from him.  We saw many friends there, including club members Russ & Barbie Loitz. We munched on some Fritos on the way home – not good for you, but they hit the spot.

Now it’s time to get everything ready for our own club dance on this next Sunday afternoon, October 30.  Again we’ll have it at the Sealy American Legion hall, and the doors will open to the public at 1 PM.  The dancing will be from 2-5:30.  As always, we’ll have a silent auction, a 50-50 drawing, and door prizes.  And, the supreme reason to come: The Dujka Brothers will be providing their wonderful music for us.  You may even find some Christmas gifts at the silent auction.  Remember, children 18 and under have free admission when accompanied by their parents, grandparents, aunt, uncle, etc.  Come in costume or not (just come in SOMETHING!), and come prepared to have a great time!  Bring friends and neighbors.  All are welcome, and it’s a bargain at $5 admission for non-members.  Members get in free, of course.




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