HEADER PICTURE

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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WHO ARE WE? WHAT ARE WE ABOUT?

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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THE FREE-STYLE COMBO POLKA

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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ACCORDIONS FOR SALE

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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SUMMER DANCING & THE LIVING IS EASY

Remember the song, “Summertime & the Living Is Easy”?  Well, summertime’s here (as we knew it would be), and the dancing is easy, and wonderful, at least as long as it’s in an air-conditioned hall.  We had a fun weekend.  Both Saturday and Sunday brought dances that we enjoyed, and both were early, so we didn’t have to get home late……although on Saturday evening on the way home we encountered the scene of a bad wreck on FM1488, about 15 or 20 minutes from home.  There were lots of lights flashing and a number of fire trucks, police cars, and first-responder vehicles.  It was hard to know exactly where to go, or even if we would be able to get by, when suddenly a police car pulled in front of us and across our lane.  I asked a first responder where they needed me to go, and he said we could either turn around or we could wait, but a Life Flight was coming and if we chose to wait, we could pull onto a road which led to a subdivision.  We did that, and went far enough down the road to turn around and face the entrance of the road.  When we were crossing the oncoming lane to get to the indicated road, the Life Flight helicopter flew directly over our car, quite low. That was a new experience!  After we parked on the side of the road and waited, we saw lots of people from the subdivision walking toward all the emergency vehicles.  A lady stopped by our car and talked with us.  She said everyone lost their electricity at 10:30 and they soon heard lots of noise.  Sitting there we could see directly in front of us a large utility pole was leaning far over, so it was easy to surmise that a vehicle had smashed into it.  Amazingly, the helicopter was there in about 30 minutes after the lights went out.  We hoped that the victim or victims they picked up would be able to make it to the hospital in time to get needed attention.  That road has gotten really busy with traffic, and from time to time we see deer crossing or about to cross the road.  We don’t know if it was animal wildlife that caused the accident or if it may have been the wild live(s) of the vehicle’s passenger(s).  We hope they are doing well and will learn a valuable lesson.  We were certainly thankful that we were not there at the time it happened.  We’d rather not be involved in something like that, for sure!

Meantime, back to the dance we had just left.  It was at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall, and the hosts had hired Charles & the Fabulous 4 for the music.  Several people commented to me that the music wasn’t as good as it usually is, but apparently they corrected the problem and we thought the music was good.  They even played several good polkas and waltzes, which we definitely enjoyed.  This band has gotten quite popular, which is why we decided to hire them to play at our next club dance on September 17 at the Sealy American Legion hall.  That will be a Sunday afternoon from 2-5:30 PM. Be sure to put it on your calendar!  The hosts for Saturday’s dance broke with tradition a little and scheduled their dance for 6-9:30 PM.  That was nice, and we weren’t so late getting home, even with the delay of the tragic accident that we encountered.

After sleeping in our own bed we headed toward Sealy for their annual Sealy Music Fest at the KC Hall.  This former 2-day music festival with several bands has sadly dwindled down to 1 day only and one band.  It was a good dance, though, and a very delicious fried chicken dinner for sale.  The Red Ravens played and we heard so many comments about what good music it was, with which we definitely concurred.  Everyone had a great time dancing and socializing.  We even met a couple we’ve recently seen at several dances,  from the Spring Branch area of Houston, Dottie & Al Scheffler. Al told us that he used to work at the railroad with Jimmy Brosch, and we told him that we frequntly see Jimmy’s widow, Lucy Brosch, at dances.  Lo and behold, very shortly we saw that Lucy had arrived at the dance, so we told her that the Schefflers were there and pointed out where they were sitting.  She knew them right away from when she and Jimmy were rearing their family.  A bit later we saw that she was sitting with them.  See what good friends you can find at polka dances?  Yes, it was a good summer weekend.

Next weekend it will be July.  Can you believe it?  Since Saturday will be July 1, it will be time for the monthly dance of the Sealy Lions Dance Club.  It’s always held at the Sealy American Legion hall, just on the north side of McDonald’s on Hwy. 6 (north of I-10 about a block).  The club is holding a silent auction at this dance to raise money to put the club on stronger financial footing.  They will welcome anything you may have to donate to the silent auction, and they encourage you to be prepared to bid on items.  I plan to make some goodies in the kitchen to donate.  They always seem to be popular.  The dance starts at 7:30 PM and runs until 11 PM.  The schedule I picked up from Charles & the Fabulous 4 indicates they will be playing for this dance.  See you then???

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FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND

All you fathers out there:  We hope your Father’s Day was good.  If you got to go dancing, that alone made it good; if not, you probably spent some time with family, and that was a good thing.  We, too, did a little of both.  We got to spend the afternoon of Father’s Day with Lee Roy’s oldest daughter.  We don’t get to see any of our offspring enough, so it’s a definitely a pleasure when we get to do that.

We enjoyed dancing at the Wallis American Legion on Saturday night, for the monthly dance of the Wallis Dance Club, of which we are members.  Of course, even if you’re not a member, you’re always welcome.  It’s a small admission fee, definitely worth your going.  It started off rather slowly, as far as the attendance went, but little by little more people came, and we ended up with a fairly nice number of dancers.  The Kreneks band played for us, and although they played mostly country songs and a few jitterbugs, they played only a very few polkas and Czech waltzes.  Sometimes the vocals could have stood some improvement, but other times the vocals were quite decent.  Of course, not everyone is blessed with a voice that people want to hear.  I know that if I were in a band (or otherwise trying to sing) people would be happy when I stopped!  Some folks whom we consider “regulars” at the club dances and other fairly local dances, were not there, and I feel certain that Father’s Day events kept them away.  We’ll see most of them next weekend.

We know of two Father’s Day dances in particular, one at Taiton with Charles & the Fabulous 4, which definitely would be mostly country songs, but it was in an air-conditioned hall, which is much better for dancing (or just for “being”) than a pavilion.  At least, that’s how we see it when the weather is warm or worse.  The other Father’s Day dance that we have been to on several Father’s Days is held annually in Ammannsville, with a nice dinner, but the dancing is in a covered pavilion.  This year the Ennis Czech Boys and Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six were scheduled to play, so there definitely was plenty of polka music (and waltz music) to enjoy.  We haven’t talked to anyone about the attendance at either dance, but our past experience tells us that the dinner and dance at Ammannsville was well attended.  I hope all the weekend dances had lots of folks there to enjoy the music, the dancing, and of course the socializing.

We did enjoy our visit with one family member.  Sometimes it’s nice to have “just one” to concentrate on, instead of having more people here when we’d be unable to really focus on anybody.   This week is a busy one for us, and even next week has lots of obligations on the calendar.  In fact, we’ll have only one public dance next weekend, on Sunday, the annual Sealy Music Festival which is held at the Sealy KC hall. It’s always a good event.  They’ll have a fried chicken dinner (and later in the afternoon BBQ sandwiches), desserts, and music by the always-popular Red Ravens.  Maybe we’ll see you there.  We hope so!  Stay well, and polka on!!!!

 

 

 

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SUMMERTIME, AND THE DANCING IS……HOT!

No, it’s not QUITE summer, but in our area it may as well be.  Folks who are at church picnics today are dancing in heat and humidity even if they have cover overhead.  That’s why we’re home today.  That, plus we have LOTS of work we need to get done around the house.  Yesterday was a different story.  We arrived at East Bernard’s Riverside Hall at 10 AM and quickly grabbed a table to save for friends who also like to enjoy their annual Kolache-Klobase Fest.  Clara & Steve Kubena came along shortly thereafter and decided to save a smaller table beside the one we got.  It’s a good thing.  Both tables were needed by our various friends.

The dancing started at 10:30 with the Ennis Czech Boys, the only band whose time on stage was all at one time.  We enjoyed the music, the dancing, and the company of many friends, acquaintances & folks we met there.  Al Sulak’s Country Sounds band played out in the pavilion, and though we love Al and his band and their music, we don’t care to dance in heat and humidity.  Don’t be offput by the “country” in the name – he’s 100% Czech and plays & sings lots of Czech songs.  Also playing in his band Saturday was our friend, Robert Herridge, of Enzian Buam.  After East Bernard he was heading out to Pearland to play their gig at King’s Biergarten.   In the hall, after the Ennis Czech Boys, we enjoyed dancing to the music of Czech & Then Some, the Dujka Brothers, and the Red Ravens.  All three of those bands played a “jam” for a half hour or so, after which they all played again in the same order.  There were many vendor booths, a delicious meal for sale, and various activities including a cake walk.  I saw several cakes being walked into the hall in the hands of the various winners.  One of the great parts of this festival is a salute to our flag (honoring Flag Day on June 14).  Club member Marvin Adamek always participates as Uncle Sam (he makes a good one!), and flags of the various services (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard) and the POW flag are carried in, veterans are given a token of appreciation for their service, and we all sang “God Bless America” and the “Star-Spangled Banner”.  It’s always a very nice addition to this festival.  I always get goose bumps at these tributes.  Do you?

As mentioned previously, we left at 7:30 to go to the Happy Cousins Dance Club dance at the Rosenberg American Legion hall.  The band playing was the Twilights, whom we heard last Saturday at Sealy.  It was a different style of music than we had heard at East Bernard, more relaxing, which we needed at that time.  They played several very beautiful waltzes, including “Catherine’s Waltz”, “Waltz of the Angels”, and “Snow Waltz” (“Schnee Walzer” in German).  Mostly they played country music, but also some jitterbug and several polkas.  Yes, it was a good day AND night.  We hope you enjoyed some of the same.

We missed out on an opportunity to dance at El Campo on Thursday night.  If we had remembered, we could have danced at its American Legion hall to the music of Charles & the Fabulous 4.  We were still in “funeral mode”, thinking of our deceased relative whose funeral we had attended earlier that day at Lake Jackson.  We’ll have to make it a point to dance there again soon.  We also missed out on a good dance on Friday at Eagle Lake’s Community Center, where Odessa played.  We heard excellent comments on both dances.  Maybe you got to enjoy one……or both?  Hope so!  Well, I have to close this out.  Too many other things are calling my name.  Polka On!

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PRAYER REQUEST

I just found out yesterday that Marie Kucera’s daughter, Marenda Rapp, of Florida, suffered a traumatic brain bleed from high blood pressure recently.  She was put into an induced coma and remains that way at this point in time.  I do not do Facebook or any of the social media sites, but apparently there was some discussion of Marenda’s problem there.  Marie immediately flew to Florida and came home for a break, but plans to fly back on Thursday.  Meantime, Marie and her family welcome prayers on Marenda’s behalf.  She is 49 years old and has at least a daughter, possibly more.  As you can imagine, this is a critical situation and the doctors cannot know yet what residual effects she will have from this, or even if she will recover at all.  The bleed was deep in her brain, so any efforts to “vacuum” that area would cause additional damage.  Whenever you happen to think about it, your prayers would be welcome.  Who knows?  They may even be helpful to her recovery.  Let’s support Marie and her family at this time of dire need.

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ONLY TWICE, BUT IT WAS GOOD

After the 3-day polka fest at Ennis, this weekend it seemed like we didn’t dance enough.  We had to pass up two  possibilities, the Texas Mavericks at El Campo’s American Legion hall, and Odessa at Eagle Lake’s Community Center.  Lee Roy had too much to take care of at home, so we only danced  Saturday and Sunday, but they were good.  Saturday evening was the monthly dance of the Sealy Lions Dance Club at the American Legion hall on Hwy. 36 (just north of and right next to the golden arches).  It had been awhile since we had heard The Twilights, and we were really surprised to see 8 musicians on the stage!  The band sounded good, and although the attendance was a little light, it seemed that everyone enjoyed themselves.  I know we did.  It was good to see Frank Huvar after his recent fall and subsequent pacemaker implantation.  He is still having some problems with that, but expects to get that resolved with another visit or two to the doctor.  We hope that will be the case.  He is such a nice person, and we are certainly glad we’ve gotten to know him.  We had thought we might see Mary Lou and Harold Lawson, but decided they probably were planning to go to Lodge 88 on Sunday for its Homecoming celebration.  Sometimes some of our friends don’t like to go to back-to-back dances.  Anyway, next time you have an opportunity to dance to The Twilights, be sure to do it.  We think you’ll enjoy their music.  They even played “Waltz of the Angels”, one of our favorite waltzes, a very beutiful one.  We had expected some rain while we were there, but we lucked out.

Sunday we headed over to SPJST’s Lodge 88 in Houston where they were celebrating “Homecoming” for members, and of course welcoming non-members as they always do.  This event starts in the late morning with a delicious fried chicken dinner – and desserts to die for.  Lee Roy bought a very sizable slice of pecan pie and I decided on a white cake iced with very dark chocolate sprinkled with half a dozen fresh raspberries.  Both were delicious!  We refrained from eating our desserts until after we had eaten the dinner, which we shared since we don’t want to be stuffed when we dance.  The lodge’s orchestra entertained us for a good while, and then were joined by the lodge’s chorus with songs that all polka dancers are very familiar with.  We enjoyed both groups’ talents very much.  We know many folks who played in the orchestra, all good musicians.  We did miss seeing the president of the Houston Accordion Association, Arlyn Visentin, who had gone to the ballet with their daughter. The Red Ravens were the “band du jour”, and we all enjoyed their music, of course.   We were disappointed not to see Mary Lou and Harold Lawson when we arrived, as they usually are early arrivals at any dance.  We were really glad to see them come in a little later (before the performance of the Red Ravens), but learned that they have been having some health issues, which is not good.  But, you can always expect to see them if it’s at all possible for them to go dancing.  If you don’t see them when you might expect to, be sure to offer up some prayers for their well-being.  Harold & Jane Kosel invited us to join them at their table, and we had many folks join us as more people arrived.  Harold & Jane are quiet people, very nice, and don’t usually bring attention to themselves.  As it turns out, they were celebrating their 63rd anniversary, which was June 1.  We were so happy to be able to dance a circle around them in honor of their anniversary. We stayed at the dance until the last note had been played, as we almost always do.  It had rained very hard while were dancing, and when the dance was over it still was raining, but not enough to get us too wet.  Fortunately, it did not rain on us when we were heading home, and although we had seen on Lee Roy’s phone (via weather radar) that a big area of heavy rain had passed over our place, we actually only got an inch of rain Sunday, so that was good.  We’re continuing to get plenty of large cherry tomatoes from plants that Lee Roy had planted from seed he had saved last summer.  Lee Roy takes care of all our plants with great love and attention.  We have surely enjoyed those tomatoes from that plant that is taller than he is.  So far we’ve picked 54 tomatoes and more are getting ready for us.  Lee Roy also picked two tomato hornworms who enjoyed a little bit of that plant, but they won’t be enjoying any more.  Maybe their relatives will, but we hope not.  We don’t want any of those, but we’ll have to keep our eyes out for them.  They’re really hard to see since their color matches the plants perfectly.  When we got home and changed clothes we enjoyed some chicken salad sandwiches (left over from Saturday night), deviled eggs and those delicious large cherry tomatoes.  A nice way to relax after the dance.

We hope we’ll get to see YOU next Saturday enjoying all the bands at the East Bernard Kolache-Klobase festival.  Lots of avid polka dancers will be there.  Some really good bands will be there, performing inside the hall and also outside, along with some additional entertainment which always includes dance demos from some area children.  That night the Happy Cousins Dance Club will have their monthly dance at the Rosenberg American Legion hall, starting at 8 PM.  If I’m not mistaken, I believe The Twilights (whom we heard Saturday at Sealy) will be playing at the Rosenberg dance.  Don’t pass up dancing Saturday if you can help it!  See you soon.  God bless!

 

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ANOTHER GREAT POLKA FESTIVAL

The National Polka Festival at Ennis (always held Memorial Day weekend) was this past weekend, and we enjoyed every minute of it.  It takes place at three halls, so you have to scrutinize the schedule carefully to be sure you don’t miss any bands you really wnt to hear and dance to.  The first night, Friday, is only in one hall, and features the king & queen polka contest at 9 PM, midway of the evening’s entertainment.  This year a brother/sister dance couple won the title.  That’s the second year in a row for a brother/sister combo to win.  I never got their names, but you’ll be seeing it in the Texas Polka News’ next publication, which will be the July issue.  They seem to be a nice young couple, and the brother plays in the Moravians band.  At one point on Saturday, I asked the new queen if she would kindly dance with our young friend from Clovis, NM, Tristan Oborny, who is 10 years old.  She was quite receptive to my inquiry and walked with me back to our table where Tristan was sitting.  That unusual, because he frequently is dancing with his cousin, 9-year-old Lileigh Oborny, or perhaps some other dancers.  These children are excellent dancers.  Even Tristan’s younger sister, 3-year-old Rileigh, dances the proper steps ini the correct timing of the music.  Rileigh is John Dujka’s biggest fan. She knew he is one of the “Dujka Boys” (her words), and Lee Roy taught her that his first name is John.  When she and I went up to the stage so she could see John playing keyboard and more with the Alex Meixner Band on Sunday, several times she called out “John!” while waving vigorously with her left hand and arm. He was unable to respond since he was performing, but she was not dissuaded at all.  John had danced two dances with her on Saturday after he and brother Mark had finished their performance.  To say she was thrilled is definitely an understatement.  Sunday she even accompanied him off the floor (before the music started) by holding her left arm around his right leg.  Mark Dujka also danced a dance with  Rileigh, and on Sunday after his band’s first performance, Alex Meixner danced with her and was kind enough to let us take pictures of him and Rileigh.  What a nice man Alex is, too.  I think he may just be as nice as John & Mark Dujka -and you won’t find any nicer people than the Dujka family.

We enjoyed all three days of the polka festival and danced in all three halls that participate in this event each year, the KC hall, the KJT hall, and the Sokol hall.  Many of our dancing friends were there also, including quite a few members of THMDC.  The only kink in our weekend was the weather on the way home on Sunday night.  We always leave before the Brave Combo plays because they are definitely NOT our cup of tea (nor our piece of dark chocolate!), so we left before 7:30 PM on Sunday, went and filled up our gas tank, then to Whataburger for a bit of nourishment before hitting the road.  We saw several families there who had also been at the polka festival, and from the looks of the radar they most likely experienced stormy weather on the way home, too, as it covered a very large area.  We didn’t encounter any stormy weather immediately, but it wasn’t too far down I-45.  The spectacular sunset preceded the storm.  Quite a change.  The rain varied from green to yellow to red, and even a tiny bit of purple – no, not the actual raindrops.  The radar picture on Lee Roy’s mobile phone.  As always, he was good to keep an eye on what I could expect along the way.  It was quite a lightning show, and even though I had to keep my eyes on the road constantly I couldn’t help but see all of what was happening in front of us.  The sky was lit up quite a lot, and some of the lightning bolts were quite unusual.  One could have been a roller-coaster, and for about 5 minutes after that image appeared in the sky, each time the sky lit up again there was a shadow-effect of that same pattern of lightning.  Very strange.  When we were coming upon the very nice roadside park just north of Huntsville, Lee Roy suggested that it might be good to pull in and take a break from the tension that the weather was providing us, so we did.  We got as comfy as possible by reclining our seats as far as they would recline, taking off our shoes, and relaxing.  I may even have dozed off for a short time.  It was surprising to see how many drivers had the same idea.  Almost all the spaces for cars was taken, and I could see also that the area for trucks and RV’s was also well-occupied.  So, instead of getting home about midnight, it was closer to 1:30 AM – but that’s not really any later than we often get home from dances.  We had pleasant dreams that night of all the wonderful music and dancing we had over the three days, as well as the wonderful socializing with friends.  We hope your holiday weekend was a good one, too.  It’s hard to believe that two days from now we’ll already be in June.  Time seems to fly faster and faster.  Let’s enjoy as much of our time as possible.  As Theresa Parker would say, “Polka on!” That reminds me of a t-shirt we saw at Ennis which was imprinted on the back with an outline of Texas, with a Czech flag depicted in the area where Ennis would be on the map, and “Ennis” underneath the flag, with words “farther south”encouraging us to “Make Polka Great Again”.  Sounds like a great idea to me!  Let’s do it!

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MILITARY TRIBUTE & MORE

It was a good week and weekend – plenty of polka, but not always enough folks to enjoy it.  To start, we and quite a few other dancing friends left on Sunday, Mother’s Day, for a little camping trip to Somerville.  Nine couples of dancing friends went, though one couple arrived on Monday and left Thursday morning.  The rest of us went on Sunday and returned home on Friday (so we could dance over the weekend, of course).  Bernard Greener and John Roberts, both avid fishermen, took off Monday in the Greeners’ boat and over the course of one hour they caught 60 bass that were legal to keep.  John hated to have to return a black bass to the water as it was barely shy of “legal” – but he was a good law-abiding citizen and let that fish go for another day.  Now I’m not much for fish, despite that it is good for our health – BUT, as happened with much the same group two years ago, Bernard caught fish and prepared them for all of us to have for dinner.  He and Pearl cleaned them and fried them, (I believe John helped with the cleaning), and even I must say they were quite delicious!  Three nights, Monday through Wednesday, we had pot-luck dinners and plenty of socializing.  Well, one night we may have eaten as couples instead of having potluck, but each potluck dinner was really enjoyable.  One night (Monday?) Antriches invited everyone over to their campsite to roast marshmallows.  Personally, I do not like burnt anything in my mouth, and I’ve never been eager to roast OR eat roasted marshmallows.  Several of us didn’t do that, and perhaps our blood sugar is better for it……but I made up for it another night when I put marshmallows and crushed pineapple in my cole slaw, like Lee Roy’s mother used to make.  Try it sometime.  It’s good!   Wednesday night after dinner we had a “serenade” that the entire campground enjoyed.  I know because we were told that the campground registrars heard many positive comments about our music as well as our potluck dinners.  Mason Nesvadba, who won this year’s Czech polka accordion contest in Austin, joined us Wednesday evening and after dinner he played John Dujka’s accordion while Betty Gaskamp and I played our accordions and Shane Lala (Red Ravens musician) played his saxophone.   Afterward, we played various games, which produced lots of laughter.   Thursday we all went to the Bluebonnet Opry in Brenham, as it was the night for the first of two polka programs the Opry has each year.  They always happen the third Thursday of May and October.  The other months are typical country oprys.  Lee Roy and I, as well as several other couples (none of the other campers) danced on the side of the audience on quite a few of the songs.  Guest artists for this month were band leader Al Sulak, talented accordionist Gene Hackemack, and a lady from Brenham who was one of those who started this opry 19 years ago, Allison Crowson, who also plays accordion.  Al Sulak also filled in for John Dujka in the house band, as John was in New York with the choir from Blinn Junior College, which was performing there; John, who teaches at Blinn,  accompanied them on piano.  We always enjoy the polka programs at this opry (and occasionally also go there other months), and it was especially nice to see friends Karen & Glenn Boone of Bryan dancing there also.

Friday we headed home because we needed to dance over the weekend.  Saturday we went to Wallis where the aforementioned Al Sulak and his band were playing at the American Legion hall for the Wallis Dance Club, which welcomes non-members as well as members.  We always enjoy them so much.  They are good musicians as well as very friendly folks – and both Al and his sister, Marie, have outstanding voices.  Once a fellow said to me that Marie sounds “just like” Patsy Cline.

We spent the night at our friends’ home in Sugar Land, and Sunday drove back to Sealy to help club member Lucy Weishuhn celebrate her birthday.  It was a lovely party, with delicious food catered by Hinze’s BBQ in Sealy, plus a delicious and beautiful birthday cake from – yes, from Wal-Mart.  Half chocolate and half vanilla with strawberry filling…..and decorated beautifully with lots of flowers of many colors.  So much icing that even I had to set some of it aside, and that never happens!  We all sang some Czech songs for Lucy, and of course Lucy joined in robustly.  It was a fun birthday party for all – and it was so very nice to see Alice Galabeas, who with husband Robert used to be one of the principal folks who kept the Sealy Dance Club going strong.  The party started breaking up about 2 o’clock.  At least two couples were going dancing, Bernard and Pearl Greener to Schulenburg for the Swiss Alp Dance Club where the Fritz Hodde band was playing, and us to the Rosenberg American Legion hall where they held their annual battle dance tribute to current and former military.  I always get goosebumps when they play each service’s theme song, and more so when Jimmie Heinsohn plays taps for deceased service members.  What a wonderful job he does of that.  The bands playing were Texas Sound Check and Texas Legacy Czech Band.  We enjoyed it all – except when we learned that Bob and Margie Suttie (of Texas Legacy Czech Band) had a real scare recently (Mother’s Day, I believe) when their younger son, Charlie, took a terrible fall off a neighbor’s roof when he went to retrieve a badminton cock.  His Aunt Rose Wilshire said it was really scary at first, as he had hit his head (on wood, thankfully, not concrete) and the doctors thought he might be critically injured, even possibly with no recovery.  Fortunately, he shocked the medical personnel and seemingly is back to normal……but prayers on his and his family’s behalf wouldn’t hurt.  We hope to talk with Bob soon and confirm that Charlie really does not have lingering effects from the fall.

Be sure to do some dancing somewhere this coming weekend.  It’s the weekend for the annual National Polka Festival at Ennis (Friday night through Sunday), and Hallettsville’s Sacred Heart Church holds its picnic on Sunday.  Much more is going on, of course, so there’s bound to be something you can enjoy.  Then be sure to be safe on Monday, which is when we celebrate Memorial Day.  May God bless our troops and also our nation and its leaders…..and you!

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SUMMERTIME DANCING

In a way, it felt like it was summer.  We had a hot and fairly humid day Saturday, and when we arrived at the Rosenberg American Legion hall, we discovered it was not very cool in the dancing area (most of the building).  Turns out, one of their A/C units was not working.  I thought we might have to dance in the room where the bar is.  :-)  Fortunately, it didn’t get THAT hot.  Most of the people stayed until almost the end, and there actually were quite a few folks right at the end – maybe 20 or more.  They must have enjoyed the music of the Texas Legacy Czech Band or they would have left earlier, right?  We thought the second half of the band’s offerings was better than the first half.  Maybe they got “into the swing of the dance”.  These guys are always friendly, and have the capability of playing very well.  It was good to see Rose Wilshire again.  That’s at least three times I know of that she’s been out and about enjoying the music and the socializing.  She danced several times with various men, Lee Roy included.  We continue to keep her in our prayers for a complete recovery from her cancer scare.  She definitely LOOKS good and seems also to be “herself” again, always a good sign.  Quite a few of our THMDC members were at this dance –  thsisters Lillie Spillars and Theresa Jones (they were born as Vrazels), as well as Lucy Weishuhn, who soon will be celebrating her birthday, Marie Kucera, David Kocurek, Hilda Sabrsula, Ben & Mary Ann Sliva, Henry & Mary Ann Manna, Jerry & Sharon Falldyn, Mary Lou & Harold Lawson, Russ & Barbi Loitz, JoAn Slafka, Rudy & Lucille Antrich, John & Donna Roberts, Georgia Blanchard and Marvin Adamek, Carolyn & Larry Gilmartin, Andy & Janet Andel, Dennis & Carol Campbell, Mike Gest & the aforementioned Rose Wilshire, Bob Suttie, Jimmie Heinsohn (thanks toese guys who are musicians!), and Gwen & Lee Roy Petersen. If I’ve forgotten to name any members who were there, please come (nicely) and let me know.  There really were a LOT of our members there, and it was SO GOOD to see them enjoying their evening.  Some of the folks who usually would be there were not, thanks mostly to the fact it was the night before Mother’s Day.  Some were traveling, some were having company, etc.  BTW, next Sunday, on May 21, this same band and the band that played for our last club dance, Texas Sound Check, will be playing a battle dance at the Rosenberg American Legion hall, at which our current and former military members will be honored. It’s always a joy to participate in this recognition, whether it’s as a current or former military members, a spouse, offspring, etc., or “just a member of the grateful American public”.  We recommend going to this dance. Show our military that we appreciate them.  That’s it for this week.  Have a happy Mother’s Day and a good week to come.  God bless!

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WEDDING TIME AND MORE

We decided we needed to skip the Friday night dance at Eagle Lake’s Community Center, always the first Friday of the month.  We had to get up fairly early Saturday and head out to Temple where a dear dancing friend, Jennifer Weber, and Brandon Kaluza were getting married.  Many long-time dancers know and love Jennifer, a precious and dear young lady who is an outstanding dancer (very popular with the guys no matter what age they are), and she truly loves dancing.  Brandon did not dance when they met, but with Lee Roy’s help (and Jennifer’s), he now is quite comfortable on the dance floor.  Way to go, Jennifer AND Brandon!  The invitation said “Put on your hat and boots”, and the bride and groom really meant just that.  As soon as I can get some pictures on the computer that Lee Roy took with his smart phone (I surely hate that phones are “smarter” than we are!), I’ll put some pix on this site so you can see the bride in her beautiful white wedding gown AND her black western hat that everyone is accustomed to seeing on her!  The attire for the wedding party was casual – and lovely.  The groomsmen wore dark turquoise shirts and blue jeans (I think it was blue jeans).  In addition, the groom wore a brown vest and a lovely bolo tie with a slide that bore his surname initial, “K”.  It was really attractive, and we loved it when Brandon said Jennifer had picked it out.  Good choice, Jennifer!  The ushers wore long-sleeved brown “working” shirts and dark brown (or black?) jeans-style pants.  The 4 bridal attendants were dressed in fuchsia long-sleeved blouses, longish brown crinkle skirts and wide elasticized brown leather belts which were western-styled. After the wedding ceremony and before arriving at the hall,  someone had pinned the back of the skirt portion of Jennifer’s bridal gown so that she would not catch it with her boots (yes, boots).  It was beautifully done and was just the thing to prevent her wedding dress from being dragged around on the floor, dirtied, stepped on, tripping folks, etc.  The pre-dinner snacks were available in never-ending quantities. Yes, I ate far too much!  The dinner was delicious – barbecue, red potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, bread and tea, and a variety of delicious pastries.  Then there were the wedding cakes, a darling chocolate groom’s cake decorated with some “acreage” including a pond with ducks on it, a road through the property, a few trees, some farm equipment, etc.  Wonderfully done, for sure.  The brides’ cakes (yes, several of them) were 2-layer vanilla, heart-shaped, covered in white frosting and trimmed in pink with various loving phrases also written in pink.  What a well-matched couple they are, and we wish them the very, very best!  After the dinner (which was cooked by various local cooks), we danced from about 7 PM until midnight to the music of the Czechaholics and Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six at Flag Hall in Cyclone.  By the way, offer up some prayers for Fritz.  One of his kidneys was removed last week, so he was not able to be leading his band this night.  We were told that the kidney was as large as a football, and inside it was a golf-ball-sized cancerous tumor, completely encased in the kidney.  The doctors believe they have all of the cancer out since it was fully contained in the kidney.  We certainly pray so, and pray for Fritz’s health.  We spent the night in Cameron in a motel since staying in Temple would have put us farther from Sunday’s destination.

We actually got a good night’s sleep (they had FIVE pillows on the bed, which we loved!), and managed to check out shortly before the 11 AM check-out time.  We had a delicious McDonald’s breakfast in Caldwell (our favorite McDonald’s meal), and proceeded down Hwy. 36 to Brenham where we filled up with gas and bought a few groceries, which will make tomorrow a little easier for me!  The dance at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall was by invitation (15 host couples), with Charles & the Fabulous 4 playing.  It was good music, as well as good company.  Thanks to all of the host couples for providing this dance.  The hall was definitely FULL.  More so than I think we’ve ever seen at that hall.  Our host couple provided some ham and cheese sandwiches and snack foods, which were definitely appreciated.  Then another couple was celebrating their anniversary and shared their cake with us, among others.  More sugar.  Definitely satisfying to my sweet tooth, but I must admit that I’ve had WAY too much sugar lately!  I’m going to have to swear to make a real effort to get back to my weight-loss plan.  No more of this eating like there’s no tomorrow!!!

We hope you had a wonderful dancing weekend.  We would not have been any happier with ours, for sure!  Next weekend is Mother’s Day, but don’t let that keep you from dancing!  Your mother, or your wife, will enjoy dancing on “her day”.  I promise!  At least take her dancing ONE of the two weekend days!  Let her know that you appreciate her.  She’ll feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

 

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ADIOS, APRIL

Thanks to some generous friends, we got to enjoy dancing at the Schulenburg KC Hall on Friday evening.  It seemed like the day was a constant rush, but we did get everything taken care of at home (and at the beauty shop, a “must” every Friday unless I have to rearrange things), and we actually got away earlier than we HAD TO, permitting us time to check into the motel in Sealy ahead of the dance at Schulenburg.  The dance was enjoyable, and we visited with several couples and we all seemed to enjoy dancing to Central Texas Sounds.  We thought they had a couple of substitutes Friday, but it didn’t hurt their music at all.  One of the subs was Duane Wavra, formerly with the Donnie Wavra Orchestra, which retired a year or so ago.  Duane was on the steel guitar Friday, and always does excellent vocals, too.  It was nice to see him.  It was a much shorter trip “home” this time, less than an hour to Sealy, our home for the night.  It would have been twice that if we had gone all the way home, but so that we did not meet ourselves coming and going, we decided to pack the car Friday afternoon with all our things we needed to take to our club dance (Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club, aka THMDC) on Saturday and then spend the night at a motel and take our time getting ready Saturday morning.  We ate a fairly late breakfast at McDonald’s, right next door to the Sealy American Legion Hall where we had our dance.

Unfortunately, when we gained access to the hall at 11 AM, we discovered that the tables & chairs had not been moved from what we presumed must have been the Bingo game, as the entire dance floor was covered with tables and chairs.  So, that was quite a bit of extra work, and it meant that we didn’t get to start setting up the silent auction as early as we had planned on.  We were short on board members this time, so we had enlisted the assistance of Mary Ann & Ben Sliva.  They are hard workers and very nice folks, and I honestly don’t know how we could have kept our sanity without them.  We had not intended to make use of their willingness to work for the entire time they were there, but that’s how it turned out, and we can’t thank them enough.  Not only were they willing to help, but they did an outstanding job, taking care of the admissions table most of the time, and picking up on other areas where they were needed from time to time, to say nothing of how wonderfully they helped us with closing the silent auction.  Unfortunately, they left before the end of the dance to go to church just in case the weather was inclement on Sunday.  Lee Roy and I had planned to buy them a nice dinner at Frank’s Restaurant across the street from the hall, but they had to decline.  I guess it’s always a good thing to keep God at the top of your list always!    What a surprise it was to see Bennie Okruhlik, leader of the Texas Sound Check Band, come into the hall!  He has had some serious health problems for several months and we pretty much decided he would not be able to make it, even though he was so thrilled when we asked him at Wurstfest if his band could play for our dance.  It was nice to see his wife, Earline, there also.  She even found some plants to purchase at our silent auction.  We had a lighter attendance than usual, although more of our members were there than in the past.  Several other things were happening that took lots of folks away who normally would have been at our dance.  But, that happens sometimes despite our best efforts to schedule our dances at a time when there shouldn’t be too much else going on.  The music was very good, and they played a good variety of genres of music.  Our 50-50 pot wasn’t as large as the one we had on October 30, but I don’t think anyone who had bought tickets would have been willing to turn down the $110 winner’s share. Rose Wilshire, Mike Gest’s long time lady friend, was the winner this time, and once again God showed us who is in charge.  Rose has been battling uterine cancer, and it seems that God may have decided that she needed a positive in her life.  Needless to say, she was thrilled to be the winner!  She really looks quite good, and we weren’t the only ones who thought so.  She is still Rose, and while the chemotherapy is no fun to go through, she seems to be responding well to treatment.  It was really, really nice that she felt like coming to our dance.  She and Mike are both members of our club; in fact, Mike was the first musician who came and said he wanted to join our club.  I noticed that Mike bought two LP albums (yes, those ancient “records” we used to love so much)in the silent auction.  They were possibly the only two albums left when Mike had time to peruse the silent auction.  As it turns out, all 6 of the albums we had in our auction sold.  I know the buyers will enjoy them.  They were all polka albums.  We had a very large silent auction, with lots of plants, which were popular, and lots of yummies from several kitchens.  I wanted so badly to successfully bid on the cinnamon rolls made by Gwennie Weeden (thank you, Gwennie) and on the huge and delicious-looking apple strudel made by member Lucy Weishuhn, using fresh apples, fresh butter, fresh cream, etc.  Many thanks to Lucy, too!  Right up my alley, and I didn’t even have time to put a bid on them!  Lee Roy spied the German chocolate cake that Bernice Stolarski made (from scratch, I’m sure – it rose really, really high!), and he happily agreed after we got home that yes, he would like to have a piece of that cake!  It was a busy day, but a fun one – and we were most surprised when our new friends from Clovis, New Mexico came with three of their grandchildren.  I think almost every adult there was amazed to see how wonderfully these children dance, and that they love to do it!  These are such nice children, polite and well-mannered as well as being good dancers.  Tristan turned 10 on February 18; his brother Cody is still 5, I think, and their younger sister, Rileigh, is only 3 – and, yes, she does the same steps her partner does, whether it’s one of her brothers or her grandma.   They and the two who didn’t get to make this trip (an older sister and a cousin) are such a blessing to their grandparents, and vice versa.  We had just seen them (and their cousin) in Hallettsville a month ago.  See, you, too, can teach your little ones (grands or great-grands) to dance, and if you do it right they’ll love it, too!  What a wonderful thing for the future of our heritage dancing and music to have the interest of the younger folks!  Think of it!  Wow!!!!

I thought we might be able to make Frydek’s Grotto Fest today (Sunday, April 30), where we could enjoy Al Sulak’s music while eating and Texas Sound Check for dancing in the pavilion – BUT (too often there’s a “but”) we were busy counting the proceeds from our dance, allocating it to what it was for (some renewed their memberships early, some signed on as new members, 50-50, silent auction, etc.), and recounting and recounting to be sure we had it exactly right.  After all, it’s not OUR money, but money that came from others and benefits every member of the club, and in fact, everyone who comes to dance with us, so we have to take great care with it.  We did not make a profit on this dance since there were so many other things to attract people’s attention; however, we had the money in the bank to pay for what the proceeds didn’t cover (about $400).  We can’t afford to do that always, but we know that sometimes it will happen.  We are still definitely solvent and in strong financial position – but we must never let our attention to the bottom line be less than diligent.  To those of you who came to our dance yesterday, we thank you!  To those who couldn’t be in more than one place at a time, we understand.  We’re hoping to have our next dance in late July, but we have not had time to start planning for that.  When we do, we’ll be sure to let you know!  God bless each and every one of you!!!

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ONLY ONE GOOD REASON TO BE INSIDE

What a beautiful weekend we had!  So beautiful that there was only one good reason to be inside, and that is dancing!  Even so, we only got in one dance over the weekend, although I had thought it would be good to dance on Friday night at Conroe to Mike Gest’s “small band”, Night Session.  Lee Roy, however, being an avid basketball fan, thought the better idea was to watch the Rockets.  Well, sadly, we should not have even thought about the Rockets, as they lost the first game they have lost in their first playoff series.  Well, at least they made up for it on Sunday, though it certainly was NOT a blow-out.  I personally like the blowouts better.  Say it with an exclamation point!  More importantly, I prefer football.  It’s a game that’s much easier to follow the action.  Well, to each his own.  We had planned to go to Houston’s SPJST #88 on Sunday for the annual Spring Fling held by the Harris County Czech Heritage Society.  We’ve gone to that every year for a good while, but when it was brought to my attention that Al Sulak was playing at the Wharton County Youth Fair on Sunday, we changed our focus and decided to go there.  We always enjoy their music, and there’s hardly time to get back to your seat between songs when that band is playing.  There were a reasonable number of dancers, but definitely not a full hall.  Too bad.  Those who didn’t go there missed out on a good time!  I’m sure there were plenty of folks at Lodge 88.  That event always draws a good crowd.  Part of that is that Houston is vastly more populated than Wharton.  For sure, we all need to do our part to encourage more people to go to the polka dances.  If they don’t know how, there’s always someone who is willing to teach.  If Lee Roy is there, he can always be counted on to teach anyone willing to learn……and once they learn, it’s something they can benefit from for the rest of their lives.  We were very surprised and happy to see club members Lane and Susan Schoeneberg at the dance in Wharton.  They didn’t get there early, but they did get there.  They joined the club when they were just a couple; now they are the parents of four children:  Lily, Nathan, Laura and Josiah.  Lily is probably six now, as we remember her parents and grandpa (a lifelong close friend of Lee Roy’s) bringing her to our club’s first dance at Swiss Alp.  The music scared her, as her little ears weren’t accustomed to hearing loud music (or loud anything!).  As soon as Lane and Susan danced onto the floor Sunday Lily and Nathan followed close behind, having a really great time “dancing”.  Yes, I think they have inherited their parents’ love of polka dancing and polka music.  Thanks for exposing them to our kind of music and dancing, Lane and Susan!

Friends and fellow club members John & Donna Roberts and Rudy & Lucille Antrich went on Saturday to Hallettsville to the annual Fiddlers Frolics.  They went to hear and dance to the music of Chris Rybak – and to partake of the cook-off offerings.  There were 16 cook-off teams, all offering a full meal to whomever wanted to use their tokens to try their specialties.  From what we hear, everything was wonderful at Hallettsville – food, music & dancing.   That’s par for Hallettsville.  They always seem to know how to do things right.  We hope you got to dance somewhere.  DON’T FORGET that our own club dance happens on Saturday, April 29, at the Sealy American Legion hall.  We surely hope to see YOU there.  Doors open at 1 PM, and the music by Texas Sound Check Band will start at 2 PM sharp.  We’ll have a silent auction, including some yummy food you’ll want to bid on, some plants from Lee Roy’s green thumb, and many other types of things.  Maybe you’ll even find some Mother’s Day gift items.  Members gain admittance FREE, and for non-members it’s only $5 per person, a real bargain!  Bring friends with you, or arrange to meet them there.  Children 18 & under are free when accompanied by parent(s), grandparent(s), etc.  As always, we’ll have a 50-50 pot.  At our last dance, the winner of the pot took home $238.  She was HAPPY, to say the least!  Her face lit up the hall so well that I think they may have had to turn down the lights after that!  :>)

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HAVE LEG CRAMPS?

Something on the computer the other day reminded me that I probably have not shared with you a good solution for your leg cramps if you have them sometimes.  As often as not, when I do get leg cramps it seems to be when I am sitting still too long.  Of course, many times it’s probably from dancing and THEN sitting too long.  The infamous and unnamed “they” say that often it is because of getting dehydrated.  Sometimes you may be dehydrated and do not know it.  Anyway, a dear friend shared with us some years ago that plain yellow mustard gives very rapid relief from leg cramps (maybe other cramps, too?).  No, you do NOT put it ON your cramping muscle(s).  Take a spoonful (perhaps about a tablespoon, but I have a hard time getting that much down), and swallow it.  You’ll be quite surprised to find that it works almost instantly.  Yes, almost instantly.  Lee Roy thinks that it may be the vinegar, and that drinking pickle juice would probably work.   I’ve been told that water also helps (logical if the cause is actually dehydration), and a friend experienced severe leg cramps after working in the attic of the home they were building – lots of being down, then up, etc.  He was told by his doctor that sports drinks (think Gatorade) would help because they replenish your electrolytes.  So there you have it.  I can personally vouch for only the mustard, but definitely know from our friend that the Gatorade helps.  Mustard is cheaper and usually on hand.  Try it.  Oh, I’ve also noticed when we are at Wurstfest and it’s cold enough to want to wear socks to bed, my feet sometimes start cramping.  Usually that happens when I haven’t put on socks, and if I get up and put on socks it helps the foot cramps go away, and usually they stay away once I have put on socks.  I don’t know if the same would help during warmer weather.  Good luck!

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