The header picture shows the organizers of Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club when they originally met on June 26, 2010 to organize THMDC. The organizers felt it was important to highlight “Music” as well as “Dance”; therefore both words are in the club’s name. The purpose the club was organized was to help keep the heritage dances and their music going for future generations – not on life support, but going strong. To achieve that, we need musicians and dancers of all ages to embrace this music and dancing as part of who they are as individuals, as having certain heritages, as wanting to use the music and dancing to improve their physical and mental well-being. Thanks go out to each organizer and to each club member! Pictured, from left are: Lee Roy Petersen, John Roberts, Donna Roberts, Rosina Christensen, Karl Micklitz, Catherine (Cat) Radziejewski, Gwen Petersen, Arlyn Visentin, Joyce & Willie Bohuslav. Not pictured: Tom Visentin
We formed the Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club in late June, 2010. Our purpose is to help ensure that couples dancing and their music continue for future generations to enjoy as we do. We need YOUR help! As you know, so many who dance the heritage dances and enjoy the music that goes with that dancing, are getting up in years and are not able to dance as often as they used to, if at all. We need to help the younger folks embrace these dances and music that were brought to Texas by our forefathers. We are talking about polka dancing (Czech, German, Polish, Slavic), country-western, Cajun, western swing, big band, Latin, etc. What a great heritage they are! What a shame it would be to have it die out! Those dances need dancers, bands and halls, and by joining our club and by actually going to dances you can help them continue for future generations! You know how much fun it is, and it certainly is good for your health, both physically and mentally. SO, join our club and help us be sure we leave that heritage alive and well, not on life support! For a mere $12 per person per year you can help, and we’ll do our best to keep you informed through our web site. From time to time we’ll “spotlight” a dance where we encourage club members to join other club members. We also teach dancing to anyone who wants to learn. And, of course, we sponsor our own dances. So far we’ve sponsored two dances. If we get enough members we’d like to be able to sponsor two dances a year. For a membership form, click on “Membership” under the header picture of this web site, then on “Join”, and you’ll be able to print out a form to send in to us with your dues. For more information, you can call us at 936-894-2804. Together we can help ensure that the kind of dancing and music that we love will not only survive, but flourish!
This is a new style of polka dancing that should bring new life to polka dancing. It is a style of polka dancing that will be enjoyed by the young kids and couples in the future. It is a combination of steps in the “one-step”, “two-step” and “four-step” polka dance pattern, but with a lot of Latin style hip and arm action. It can be done in a small space and on any type of floor.
You can do this dance by yourself, with a partner or with a small group. Singles can finally get out on the dance floor and enjoy life. It is unique, in that each person can bring their own creativity to the dance according to their feel of the beat of the polka music. If you will watch people standing in front of a group of bands doing a jam session, some will be doing this style of dancing in front of the band without realizing that they can enjoy this style of dancing regularly at the center, corners or ends of the dance floor away from the regular polka dancers.
Gwen and Lee Roy H. Petersen of Plantersville, Texas created this style of polka dancing on their Caribbean cruise in April, 2011, due the lack of adequate floor space like a regular dance hall. They performed this dance on ship cruises and at every polka dance since, with a lot of attention and pleasure of the audience.
Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxWqN1_cchE to watch Lee Roy do this new dance at a polka dance in Taiton, Tx
Also, click on http://www.funuc.com/?p=402 to see “the horniest man on the earth” illustrating this style of a dance.
So, give it a try the next time you go to a polka or country dance.
The sound of Accordion music is wonderful. If you are interested in buying a good used, refurbished accordion, please click on the “Other” caption and sub-caption “Want2Sell” and check out the accordions offered.
We’ve had a week that’s busier than usual, but it’s been great. Tuesday night was the night for the Houston Accordion Association’s 3rd Tuesday gathering. We had lots of accordion players and almost had no time for the jam session. The manager of the Pizza Inn was accommodating, as always, and gave us an extra 10 minutes past closing time. The next night we drove to Shelby between the raindrops (though plenty of them fell on our car), but by the time we arrived at Harmonie Hall there were very few small drops, so all was well. We had a meeting there to plan a dance with some other folks, and on the way home we dropped in at McDonald’s for Quarter Pounders with Cheese. If we had known where there is a Jack in the Box in Brenham we could have gone there for our favorite burger, a Buttery Jack Portabella Mushroom burger. Yum!!! Thursday we had decided to go to the Bluebonnet Opry in Brenham. It happens on the third Thursday at the Silver Wings Skating Rink and Ballroom, just east of the city limits of Brenham on Hwy. 105. It was a “regular” program, meaning it was basically country. Twice a year they have a polka program, in May and October. We always try to make those. They usually have 3 guest artists, although next month they’ll have only one, Dennis Ivey, who will be doing a tribute to Merle Haggard. This month, McKenzie Jones, a 12-year-old from Llano, and Bryan Su, 15, from Sugar Land, were the guest artists. McKenzie has a good voice, and with a few more years she may even be “great”. Bryan has a wonderful grown-sounding voice and also plays the fiddle quite well. In addition, his showmanship is terrific. He’s well on his way to being a full-fledged entertainer. The third scheduled guest artist was Lynn Landry from Slaughter, Louisiana. Unfortunately, he was unable to get out to come since they have had such terrible floods there. Pray for him and his family. They definitely need it. The opry will book him for another time. Friday was Lee Roy’s 80th birthday, and we celebrated with family, two of his daughters and some of their family members. We had a long drive, to Pearland, to go to the King’s Biergarten, which is a restaurant and biergarten owned and run by a German man, Hans Sitter, who wears lederhosen and has a very strong German accent (clearly a native of Germany). Man, he has a tremendous business! We could hardly find a parking spot and parked on a neighboring business’ parking lot (where there are signs indicating it’s additional parking for the biergarten). We had reserevations for 6 PM, so we would recommend that if you go, go earlier or later. We wanted to be close to the band that was entertaining, Enzian Buam. Two gentlemen were in the band that night, as our friend Robert Herridge was in San Antonio. We missed him, but the music was quite good. Jason Keepeers, who wrote the very beautiful Catherine’s Waltz for his mother, did almost all the singing, did all the yodeling (very well!) and played accordion. The other young man was named Drew, and he played guitar. The food was very good, and everyone said the beer was quite good. I drank only water, as usual, not being a fan of beer or other alcoholic beverages, and I still have a good time! It was a VERY busy restaurant and biergarten, and Hans was ever present, being sure the guests were happy with the service, the food, and the drink – and the music, of course! And we were. I can well imagine that this is the busiest and most popular business in Pearland. A gold mine! We did get to dance, but we had to do it in a tiny bit of space close to the stage, except that Lee Roy danced with a lady farther back toward the bar, and with two of her friends (one of which came and asked Lee Roy to dance). The first one he danced with (besides myself, of course) was celebrating her birthday that day also. I recommend this as a place you might want to check out for something different than what you’re accustomed to. Lee Roy’s daughter and her husband, who live in Pearland go there most Sundays for brunch, as well as at other times. We’ve since learned that Harold and Mary Lou Lawson go there sometimes. Some day give it a try. It was a good decision for us to go. I’d bet you’ll like it.
Well, that was just part of our busy week. Saturday we went to the Wallis American Legion for the monthly club dance, of which we are members. You don’t have to be a member, though. Guests are definitely welcome! Charles & the Fabulous 4 played for us. They have really improved since they hired Martha, who is skilled on the guitar and also has a very good voice for singing. We’ve danced to them a lot recently. We had fun and also celebrated Harold Kosel’s 89th birthday, which was that same day. Jane, it was a delicious German chocolate cake! We got into bed about 2 AM, so we were not “up and at ‘em” too early on Sunday. We had received an invitation to a dance that day at Shelby, and we always try to go when invited if we can. It was a good dance, with Central Texas Sounds playing. They were in their usual good form. Saw lots of friends there and met a few new ones. It was definitely a full week, but one that we enjoyed.
It’s time to mention a few things that you might need to know so that your dancing will be (1) easier and (2) better. Those two things equal: More Fun!
For starters, be sure to face your partner before you start. When we see one partner going forward and one going sideways we groan because that can’t be comfortable for either one. Face to face and chest to chest, with toes pointing at each other (except offset the feet so they are between each partner’s feet). That way you won’t be stepping on their toes and struggling. Beginners, don’t forget that when you move one foot, the next step must be taken with the other foot. Just like walking, it’s left, right, left, right (or right, left, right, left). Put your weight on the foot you have moved so that you KNOW it’s not the foot to move next. And, yes, if it helps you when you’re “new” to dancing, count as you dance. A waltz is 3 steps of equal duration. A polka (the kind most folks do) is 3 steps also, but those three steps are “step-quick-quick”. The foxtrot (or two-step as so many Texans call it) is to the count of 4. That’s plenty for this quick lesson. Practice these things and it will make your dancing easier and more fun.
We danced Saturday night at Houston’s SPJST #88 and thoroughly enjoyed the musical offerings of Mark and John Dujka, known as the Dujka Brothers. They are SO talented and such very nice men also. We were also happy to see the Mason Nesvadba there, and the Dujkas let him sit in on a few songs and play the tuba, which he does quite well. Mason is a sophomore at Blinn College where John Dujka teaches and it is his intention to become a band director after he gets his bachelor’s degree. He’s another very nice young man. It was quite rainy that evening, sometimes coming down so heavily that I was wishing my windshield wipers had a faster speed. When we arrived at the lodge there were not many folks there and we were afraid that the rain would keep folks at home. Fortunately, people kept arriving and they ended up with a good crowd. What a gift we got that evening! Eight young adults (I believe all are degreed) sat at the table next to ours, at the end near the wall. Lee Roy was the first to get to know them, and Rosina Christensen was so excited about the opportunity we all had to interact with them. They all said they LOVE to dance and they go quite often. One of the young ladies grew up in East Bernard, and yes, she has a Czech surname. We welcomed Melissa, Sara, Robert, Scott, Joe and Mark and told them about the cancer fundraiser the next day at Hungerford (and BTW, three of them showed up!). This is a group of VERY NICE young folks who have discovered that dancing is a fun way to spend their time. We do hope that we will see much more of these young adults. And there’s more to the gift we got that night. There was another table (several over from ours) that had quite a few Mexicans there (including a darling little girl, Lizzie), and they also had two female friends who were Asian and two who were black. All of them seemed to be having a wonderful time and we tried to make sure they felt very welcome there. They really joined in the dancing, especially the polkas (we all know how fun those are!), and they were doing great with their dancing. How lovely that all these folks have discovered the joys of dancing! We certainly hope to see them some more also. I think all of these “newcomers” to Lodge 88 plan to be there on September 10 when the Red Ravens will be playing. We promised some of them that we would come that night so that we can dance together some more. If you encounter any young folks at a dance (hey, they almost all are younger than I am at this point), do be sure to make them feel welcome and want to return and make dancing part of their lifestyle. Dancing needs them, and we hope all of them will recognize that they need (and enjoy) dancing. To top it all off, there was a young man named Trevor, who is about 5 and a member of Lodge 88, and he found Lizzie and they were on the dance floor together much of the evening trying to dance! They were SO CUTE together, and what a pleasure it was to see that they were really interested in learning to dance. Trevor has been to enough polka dances that he already has several favorite polkas that he requests from the band – and he’s also a fan of the Dujka Brothers! We left the hall so happy thinking about all of these people as part of “the future” of polka dancing.
Sunday morning we got up early enough to get to Hungerford’s community center in time to grab a table to save for friends and club members – whoever wanted to sit there. I had ordered a big birthday cake for Lee Roy (whose 80th birthday is actually August 19), so I had to take that inside, and since it was a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society Lee Roy took a pot of Spanish Petunias for the silent auction. They ended up selling for $30, so that was good. People were very generous with the silent auction, the live auction, and the raffle. The Red Ravens and The Velvets always play for this event. Ron Foley commented to me that he thought The Velvets played better this year that he had ever heard them play, and I responded that Lee Roy and I also thought the same thing. Earlier we had thought we might leave before The Velvets got through playing, but we didn’t want to miss any of it, so of course we stayed. It was a very good dance, and we were so happy to see so many good friends there. I won’t mention names because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but we definitely loved seeing so many of our friends there – as well as the three young adults from Saturday night at Lodge 88. I think our weekend couldn’t have been better! (And everyone loved the cake I had brought that was baked and decorated at Brookshire Brothers in Magnolia.) I can’t believe August is flying by so fast – and this week and next will be extremely busy ones for us. We hope you enjoyed dancing and socializing (definitely an important part of dancing), and hope we’ll be seeing you soon.
We didn’t make it to Rosenberg’s American Legion on Saturday night for the Happy Cousins Dance Club since we can only be in one place at a time. We talked with people who were there for Charles & the Fabulous 4 and most were happy with the music that was played. They said it was a good crowd, which gets more and more important. Be sure to do your part and go as often as you can! God bless!
At Houston’s Lodge 88 Saturday night, they announced that Mollie B (and I suppose Squeezebox) will be at the lodge on January 15, 2017. That’s a Sunday, and I’m guessing it will be during the afternoon. The lodge will start selling tickets on November 1. No tickets will be sold at the door!!! Mark your calendars if you are interested in getting tickets for this event. I have not checked to see where else they will be appearing in Texas, but if it is like the last time, they did a gig at Hallettsville, one at Granger, the one at Lodge 88 in Houston, and two in the Valley (McAllen and such). You might want to check the web site for Squeezebox, which is: www.squeezeboxband.com.
Friday, Saturday AND Sunday – what we call a GOOD weekend! We had not been to the dance in Eagle Lake in quite awhile, but on this month (first Friday of each month) we decided it would be worth our time, as they had the Lazy Farmers playing. The last time we went to Eagle Lake the Lazy Farmers were playing, and it’s a very decent band. They play a nice variety of music including polkas, waltzes, country, jitterbug, even the twist – and the last song of the night had lots of the dancers on the floor “doing their own thing” to what might be described as 60′s or possibly 70′s music. You see, I’ve gotten so old I can’t exactly say what decade we heard what kind of music, and with polka in the mix all the rest fade into the background. Some of it I’d definitely like to forget – like “heavy metal”. Heck, even “light” metal wouldn’t have been appealing! Anyway, the hall had hardly any seats not taken, so I’d call it a successful dance. In case you don’t remember, this dance asks folks to bring food to share at intermission, so we took a dump cake (easy to make and also delicious!). We also took an item for the door prize, and for a change we actually won a door prize, which was interesting. Some thoughtful person had packaged into a gift bag two Nutter Butter bars (which Lee Roy gets to eat, since I don’t do peanut butter EVER), and three cup-sized containers of mini Nabisco cookies: mini Chips Ahoy, mini Oreos, and mini Nilla wafers. We shared the mini Chips Ahoy Saturday night with our table mates, and I finished them off Sunday at that dance. Shouldn’t have, but who wants to bring home a few mini cookies in an open container? Anyway, Friday night at Eagle Lake was a fun dance. We always see lots of friends there, and when we go it’s because the band is one we like. Next month they’ll have a fairly new band, Lost Cause, led by Tim Kulhanek, who also plays with Central Texas Sounds. We’ve heard them a couple of times, so we know they are capable of playing well and including Czech polkas and waltzes, which we love so much. No, I’m not Czech, but I am married to one (well, half of one) – but the Czech music is wonderful and a great heritage to pass along to future generations.
I was in the kitchen all day Saturday except when I was taking care of three loads of laundry – so it was a wonderful change to dance that night. Part of the reason I was in the kitchen was to make Buttermilk Salad (yum-yum) to take and share with our table mates on Saturday when we danced at the Sealy American Legion hall when the Sealy Dance Club held its monthly first-Saturday dance. BTW, in September, the first Saturday got booked by someone else, so their next dance club dance will be on Saturday, September 24, which will be followed quickly on October 1 for the monthly dance in October. We surely hate to miss the September 24 dance, as the Country Knights will be playing. We seldom get a chance to hear them, but they are good musicians. This month the Kreneks were hired to play. Our opinion is that they have left their roots (can you tell by the name that they came from a Czech background?). They did an okay job, and certainly they were pleasant enough. Their drummer has a wonderful voice, deep and resounding. Mostly these days they are playing country music, which “will do”, but is not our favorite.
Sunday we had plans to go to Cyclone for the fundraiser of the Texas Polka Music Museum, and we got up and on the road early, as we didn’t want to miss any music. Well, we definitely did not miss any music. We had planned on needing 3 hours or more to get there, but it took only 2 hours, barely more than it takes us to get to Rosenberg. Lee Roy navigated and decided we should take an FM just north of Hearne, off Hwy. 6. From there we had NO MORE turns to make until we got to the hall. That kept us away from the “big city” of Cameron. We had been there once before, but I had forgotten that it takes only 2 hours to get there. It’s a nice SPJST hall, known as Flag Hall. The doors officially opened at 11:30, but when we got there at 11:05 no one told us we couldn’t come in yet. That was good as we surely didn’t want to wait in our car on such a hot day! We took along a batch of pecan pralines that I had made on Saturday (part of the reason I was in the kitchen so much on Saturday). That was to donate to their silent auction, one more way we can help keep polka music alive and well. It did bring a nice bid, so that was good. They also had a live auction which seemed to be quite successful, a 50-30-20 pot, and a “cut-the-cards” raffle. The hall sold hamburgers and BBQ buns. Our burgers were delicious, and Lee Roy brought home some of the BBQ that was left. Lee Roy made a mistake, though, and ordered a double meat burger. He didn’t realize that the meat patties were so large. I would bet that they weighed 1/3 pound each. I’m surprised that Lee Roy could dance without having digested the burger yet, but of course he could! The music was a battle dance, with the Praha Brothers sharing the stage with Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5. The Praha Brothers’ music is quite peppy and was really a pleasure for us – and for other dancers. We were happy to learn the the Haisler band will celebrate 50 years in October. They do a good job, but their music is more laid-back than the Praha Brothers, which is okay, especially when paired with the Praha Brothers. It sort of offers a respite to the dancers. I think both bands hail from the Temple area, and that’s probably one reason we don’t hear them often, though we’ll be dancing to Haisler later this month. We saw TONS of folks that we know. It was a pleasure to see Anton & Albina Vrazel and their family there. Lee Roy danced with their daughter, Rose, several times. She knows that Lee Roy will always be happy to dance with her, and that helps make her day a good one. Every time we get out of our “home territory”, we think we won’t know many people at the dance, and every time we are wrong. Isn’t that nice? Another benefit of dancing! It was an afternoon dance, with music from 1-6, though with the sing-along at the end, the jam session in between, and a special drawing after all the music had been played, we didn’t leave until 6:30 or so – but even so we were home before dark!
We hope you had a dancing weekend. Lots of dancing is coming up for the rest of August. In fact, I can’t believe how busy we are going to be – but that’s definitely not a complaint! Be sure to check out our dance schedule posted on this web site and plan your dancing for the rest of the month. There is plenty to choose from, and that’s a blessing!
Visit our site often to plan your dancing!!!
We had a longer-than-usual drive this past Sunday when we went to Penelope. ”Where?”, you ask. Penelope, a little bit (yes, just a little bit) southeast of West. You take 308 northeast off of I-35 just a little bit (yes, just a little bit again) north of Bellmead, which shares a boundary with Waco. The first “town” you come to on 308 is Leroy (exit is called Leroy Parkway). BTW, I bet you didn’t know there is a place in Leroy called the Chicken Bank. Yes, really. We saw it firsthand. Leroy is followed by a couple more tiny “towns”, and about 20 miles off I-35 you come to Penelope. I’ve wanted to go for its late July dance ever since they started having one a few years ago (thanks to the efforts of Karen Osborne), but something was always happening that kept us elsewhere (such as teaching KJT campers how to dance). This year we were able to make it. The Catholic church there (Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary) is pretty small, and we did not get into the church because by the time we arrived Mass was underway. So, we went directly to the family center, a metal building where they apparently had Vacation Bible School last week. Our Penelope experience started by meeting some folks and visiting with them until the folks arrived after Mass. We met a delightful couple there and enjoyed their company at our table for the entire day, Barbara and Brent Thorndike from Italy, Texas. Very nice folks whom we hope to see more of in the future. There was a lady and her three young daughters at the dance also from Italy, Texas, and Lee Roy got to teach two of those daughters how to dance, though mom had already done a great job of that. Barbara and I got in line to serve ourselves to the dinner which smelled very enticing. Our sense of smell did not let us down! The turkey was so moist and delicious! Since I am trying to lose some weight I did not eat any of the dressing and very little of the boiled and buttered white potatoes. I decided that Lee Roy could eat all of the sauerkraut, although it looked good, and all of the sausage. There was a variety of desserts from which to choose, and I chose a brownie which I split with Lee Roy. Tea was included, and bread, so I was a little bit naughty, but not too much. The band set up in one corner of the room. It was the first time in a good while that we had heard Czech and Then Some. We always enjoy their music, especially when the entire band is playing. Initially they had too much dance wax on the floor, and it had to be dry mopped to remove a lot of the wax. Then it was a very good floor to dance on, even though it was tile (the flexible kind like they have at Sweet Home, not ceramic). We were surprised that we saw so many folks we know, although most of them live in the general area, even up in Fort Worth. Sanddra and Andy Mikula (he’s the drummer for the Jodie Mikula Orchestra) celebrated their 33rd anniversary there during the dance, and I was weak and accepted a piece of the anniversary cake. It’s always nice to see friends at dances, and it’s always nice to meet new friends, and this offered both to us. It was a long drive getting there and back, but we thought it was well worth the time and the gas. We went to bed that night more tired than usual, but definitely happy. Karen told us that they will have another dance at Penelope the end of January, so keep your eyes open for that to be publicized. We definitely recommend Penelope as a nice place to go polka dancing!
I do hope John Kerry (Secretary of State) reads this posting. HE may believe that A/C and refrigeration pose a much greater danger than ISIS (I surely do NOT!), but we are always grateful that air-conditioning was invented, especially during July and August. And especially when one is dancing. (Yes, I know that is not a grammatically correct or complete sentence.) Some nice folks gave a lovely dance at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall on Saturday afternoon, and we were honored with an invitation. Fortunately, I noticed on Thursday evening that on the bottom of the invitation it said to bring our favorite snacks to share with everyone on a buffet at intermission…….so Friday evening I made a Lemon-Pecan loaf to take with us to the dance, along with some red seedless grapes. Apparently, the host couples brought sandwiches, and perhaps more, as there was LOTS of food on two tables at intermission. In the interest of my weight-loss efforts, I did not pig out, but I did eat 1/4 of a truly delicious chicken salad sandwich, along with a few other things (incuding a piece of my lemon-pecan loaf). It was “just right”, and the only thing I ate after we got home was a square of dark chocolate (which, by the way, doesn’t have too many calories and does a great job of satisfying a sweet tooth). It was a nice dance, and we enjoyed the music of Charles & the Fabulous Four. Lee Roy and I think this band’s offerings have improved, and we enjoyed their music on Saturday. They even played 6 or 7 polkas and 5 or 6 waltzes, which we definitely enjoyed. There were so many friendly and nice folks at that dance. All of the host couples were exceptionally friendly, as hosts should be. We saw friends and met some folks we had not known previously. It was definitely a pleasure to be a part of those enjoying the music, the dancing, and the socializing – and don’t forget: the food!
On the way home from the dance, (which was odd to be going home from a dance at that hour on a Saturday), Lee Roy inquired what our plans were for the rest of the weekend. I told him that we didn’t have any dances planned and didn’t even know offhand if there were any dances happening Sunday. After we got home, I looked at the schedule I had picked up at the dance and saw that Charles & the Fabulous 4 were scheduled to play Sunday afternoon at New Taiton. So, I told Lee Roy we could dance at Taiton on Sunday from 2-6. (That’s the area where he grew up and he’s quite familiar with that hall. In fact, he feels like he’s “at home” there.) He asked who was playing, and when I told him, his response was that they had played well Saturday, so we decided to go. The band played very well again on Sunday, and we enjoyed the company of so many friends at that dance. Many of them live in the general area, and we saw a lot of folks that we don’t get to see very often. It’s so nice to have friends who enjoy dancing like we do! Don’t you agree? Well, we don’t know when we’ll see you again, but I’d be willing to bet that it will be at a dance fairly soon. Meantime, be sure to utilize that wonderful air-conditioning that we are blessed to have! I remember growing up in this area with NO air-conditioning. I bet you remember that, too. No A/C at home, no A/C at school, and remember the single pedestal fan at the front of each classroom? And windows that opened to let the air in? Yes, we are blessed in so many ways!
We had a great time, as we always do, at the Houston Accordion Association’s gathering last night at the Pizza Inn in northwest Houston (Mangum & 18th), which happens the third Tuesday of each month, rain or shine, freezing or hotter than a sizzling skillet. Arlyn Visentin leads that group and does a terrific job of that. There’s no charge to go just to listen or to play an accordion or other instrument. This organization has no dues, either! Just a lot of accordion lovers! Musicians of every level of ability are welcomed, and guests who just want an evening of free entertainment are also welcomed. All instruments can join in the jam session that is held after each accordionist has had an opportunity to play 3 songs of his or her choice, and requests from the audience are welcomed during the jam session. It’s always a fun night. A few of our regulars were not there last evening, but some “irregulars” were there, including Robbie & Charlie, the 16- and 15-year-old sons of Margie and Bob Suttie. It’s always a joy to see those young men. Each of them played a polka and a waltz on the accordion, and Charlie and Bob joined Robbie when he played his selections, Charlie on the trumpet and Bob on a tuba-style instrument. I’m not certain it was a tuba, but it was something closely related at minimum. By the way, Bob told us that he and the boys will be playing outside at the Shiner picnic (believe it will be at KC Park in Shiner) on September 4, a Sunday, and afterward Bob’s band, Texas Legacy Czech Band, will be playing inside the hall for dancing. If I’m not mistaken, this annual event is the one which sells a self-serve 3-meat dinner in the hall. I must say it’s a delicious dinner! So, there’s another musical and dancing event you can put on your calendar. Maybe by then I will have lost most of the weight goal I have set for myself….. Whether that happens or not, I’ll definitely plan on enjoying that wonderful dinner – and the music! That’s another thing to put on your calendar. It will be Labor Day weekend, and that’s a good weekend to dance inside an air-conditioned hall.
Mid-July is time for an annual reunion of Lee Roy’s cousins and their offspring, including some great-grandchildren of some of the cousins. That happens at Brackenridge Park at Lake Texana near Edna & Ganado. Mid-July doesn’t seem like a good time to have a camping reunion in Texas – yes, the temperature was well into the 90′s – but this park almost always has a wonderful breeze in the afternoon, which really makes it feel pleasant. We share a meal on Saturday evening, with the treasury of the reunion buying the meat and everyone providing both a side dish and a dessert. Some, including us, gather in the pavilion on Sunday morning to share a brunch. Other than that, everyone is on their own for meals, but there’s lots of visiting and catching up on everyone’s health, who has new children since we last got together, learning who plans to retire soon, etc. Some folks boat and otherwise enjoy the lake, but I’m chicken. Really NOT fond of alligators and definitely prefer not to occupy the same territory that they do. We always enjoy seeing the deer which usually are quite numerous, but we didn’t see a single one this year. Their relatives are probably enjoying our veggies that they think we planted just for them! We took our little travel trailer down to the lake on Friday and came back home on Monday. We bought the uncut brisket at the live auction that followed Saturday night’s meal. We’ll enjoy some of it tonight. Troy Shimek and Carl Filip did a great job of barbecuing the brisket – nice and tender, juicy, and delicious. Thanks, guys, for all your hard work. Thanks go to Tena Frick, Troy’s sister, for taking good care of our treasury and buying the plates, utensils, and whatever else is needed, and for keeping all of us informed about time to make reservations, etc. Clarence and Rose Marie Filip did those jobs for many years, and prior to that, Marilyn Powers kept things going. To everyone who brought auction items and Bingo items, we thank you, and also thanks to everyone who purchased items in the auction. It takes everyone, doesn’t it?
Because we were busy with reuniting all weekend and more, we did not have an opportunity to dance. Normally we would have been at the Wallis American Legion for the monthly dance of the Wallis Dance Club (always on the third Saturday). This month it was Central Texas Sounds that provided the music. I haven’t heard anything about that dance or any others, but I feel certain there were a good number of folks that went there to dance. Maybe we’ll get to see some of our dancing friends soon. We hope so!
As for the exciting news, we have an announcement regarding our own club’s upcoming dance, which will happen at the Sealy American Legion hall on Sunday afternoon, October 30. We’ve booked a band, and we are so thrilled to announce that it will be the Dujka Brothers band that will provide our music. Most polka dancers are quite familiar with this band. Not only are they excellent musicians and all-around nice guys, but their music absolutely demands that we get up and dance! There is so much “life” in their music that it’s impossible not to dance to it! Go put this dance on your calendar right now so you don’t accidentally plan something else for that day! You won’t want to miss it! As a member of THMDC you will get into the hall for free, but we always welcome the public to our dances for less than they’ll pay elsewhere. Come one, come all, and be sure to come ready to dance, or if you have a broken leg or something like that, you’ll still want to be there to enjoy the music these guys will play for us. We’ll see you before then, I feel certain. God bless!
I know it’s gotten late to be reporting on our extended weekend activities last weekend, but I’ll try to get it done tonight! We started the weekend on Thursday, going to Schulenburg’s KC hall for a dinner hosted by about 20 couples and singles. These dinners always have plenty of time for socializing ahead of the dinner, with a variety of help-yourself drinks. After the blessing table names are called (this one was travel-themed, and our table was Nova Scotia). Then it was self-serve for the meal. There were three meats, though I had only two varieties. It was very good, catered by Peters BBQ in Fayetteville. Everyone always seems to enjoy visiting with not only their table mates, but also with others.
Friday we returned to the Schulenburg KC hall for a dance where the Central Texas Sounds band was playing. It was an early dance, from 7-10:30, so we weren’t too late getting home. A second cousin of Lee Roy’s had invited us, and we knew some of the other folks they had invited, but also met folks we had not previously met. Everyone seemed to enjoy the music and the dancing as well as the socializing.
Saturday we went to the Happy Cousins Dance Club dance at the Rosenberg American Legion. The Red Ravens were playing at that dance, and we barely got there before the music started. It was the first time I got to celebrate my birthday this year. I always enjoy birthdays, especially mine! Now I’m officially 3/4 of a century old and glad for each year and each day as well as for the good health that God has blessed me with so far. We spent the night at John & Donna Roberts’ house since we were planning to dance on Sunday at the Sealy American Legion hall. What a shocker it was to step into the bathroom across from the bedroom we stay in and find that I was walking in water!!! No, I wasn’t walking ON water….. For whatever reason, the builder had put the A/C overflow drain into the P-trap of the vanity in that bathroom, and over the years the gunk (do we have a good definition for gunk? – I think it’s also called crud) from the A/C condenser unit had built up over time and Lee Roy couldn’t even get a snake (plumbing device, ladies) any farther than 4 or 5 feet into the plumbing. Meantime, I asked for a wet-dry vac. Among the 4 of us, we did the best we could to mitigate the problem. We went to bed with 2 fans running so the carpet and padding could have a chance to dry out. I was afraid that the light we had left on in the bathroom would keep me awake, but I must have been tired, because I fell off to sleep quite soon after getting into bed at 1:30 AM.
Sunday’s dance was just part of an all-day event put on by the Po.L.K. of A., starting with dinner (polka Mass had to be canceled), then a meeting, and dancing at 2:30, with the Czechaholics playing. It was another opportunity to celebrate my birthday, and also our 38th anniversary, which is on July 14. It was free to the public, and lots of the public came. They also had a silent auction, a refreshment basket to be raffled off, and a 50-25-25 cash drawing. All three of those prizes were won at our table and the table next to ours – and all three of the winners are members of our dance club, Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club (aka THMDC). Those winners were Walter Kennon, Dennis Sumbera and JoAn Slafka. People brought desserts to share at dinnertime. I liked the dessert I had made the best. Is everyone else like that? You like your own cooking? We also took home a silent auction item, which was a plastic bag filled with second generation cherry tomatoes. Those were donated (and grown by) Bennie & Bernice Stolarski. I’ve been enjoying them all week! Because they were second generation fruit from hybrids, they weren’t quite as small as most cherry tomatoes. No matter to us! They are quite yummy! Thanks, Bennie & Bernice! And I also saw a home grown watermelon donated by Bernard & Pearl Greener. They do a great job of raising veggies and fruit. I’m guessing they don’t have any deer munching on their veggies and fruit – or any squirrels stealing the fruits of their labor.
We won’t be able to dance this coming weekend, as we have a family reunion at an area lake with Lee Roy’s cousins and several generations of offspring. Yes, we are the oldest generation now. Dance a few for us wherever you go!
For a change, our Fourth of July weekend wasn’t incredibly hot. Hot, yes. Uncomfortable, yes, but we’ve certainly seen worse over our lifetimes in this part of Texas. Saturday, July 2, was the date for the Sealy Dance Club, held each first Saturday of the month at the Sealy American Legion. Once again they held a silent auction, this time a baked goods silent auction, to help stabilize its finances so they can keep holding these dances and we can know the dances are going to happen. I don’t mind baking something and bringing it – and we don’t mind buying some of the items for auction. Of course, it shouldn’t happen every month, but to help ensure that this club will continue, that’s a good cause that we can all benefit from. This month the band was Charles & the Fabulous 4. Decent music, but we’d always prefer to hear more polkas and waltzes, especially those that fall under the category of “Czech” or “German”, or even “Polish”.
This was our only dance the first weekend of July because our July 3 (when we think of Dubina’s annual church picnic) was the date our friends selected for their Fourth of July celebration with a barbecue and a pool party. We all took something to contribute to the meal, of course, and I didn’t find anything on my plate that I didn’t like. It didn’t necessarily go with my eating plan, but it was good. Even though I ate outside of the eating plan, I was down one more pound this week – slowly but surely. Currently 10 pounds down, with 15 more to go. We heard that folks that did get to Dubina (music by the Shiner Hobos, Mark Halata & Texavia, and Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six (I think – I know they were there last year), and those that got to St. John on the Fourth for the Red Ravens and the Dujka Brothers had a great time and didn’t mind the heat too much. We hope you were among them!