This is one of my most popular posts; back by demand
Happy May Day
May 1st traditions in Czech Republic & around the world
By Emma Palova
EW Emma’s Writings
Lowell, MI – Every year, I observe May 1st as May Day in the renaissance Czech tradition with warm memories of the socialist past. If I close my eyes, I can still see the parades, the tribunes and the socialist propaganda with the slogans and the banners on the backdrop of the blossoming lilacs. The socialist patriotic anthems were blasting from the loudspeakers including the Soviet anthem “Coyuz Nerusimij.”
Today, Czech Republic still celebrates May 1, as an official holiday with a day off to commemorate the union manifestations in Chicago in 1884. Only this time around, without the parades or the slogans.
But most of all, May Day, was a great day off known for its official opening of the beer gardens, and the infamous “march of the thieves.”
The organized labor from the factories marched in the parades, while some individuals used the opportunity to steal from the gated factories because of less supervision. Therein the name “march of the thieves.”
First and foremost, May is the month of love, not just labor.
And I write about all this in the memoir “Greenwich Meridian” with a light heart and a smile on my face with a touch of nostalgia.
I admire the old Czech country for being able to keep both the old socialist holidays, take on new ones, and tamper with the most important holiday of all that is the liberation of the country from the Nazi occupation in 1945.
New politicians with new agendas changed the date of the liberation of former Czechoslovakia from May 9th to May 8th based on the controversy who really liberated the country, whether it was the Soviets or the Americans. The question at hand; who was the first and where?
Having lived in many countries around the world, our family always honored the holidays of that particular country, otherwise we would have time off all the time.
Looking at my calendar last week for a summary, I found amusing that Canada also has Easter Monday off as an official holiday, just like Czech Republic.
However, any holiday can take root in any country as I have witnessed in my hometown of Vizovice.
I remember our neighbor bus driver Mr. Hlavenka in Vizovice, used to celebrate Fourth of July by taking the day off in the old socialist era.
I’ve always wondered, how did he know about Independence Day with all the propaganda against American capitalism.
But, May 1st has deep agricultural connotations as well. People gather wildflowers and crown a May king and queen, weave floral garlands, and set up a maypole.
They also have bonfires to encourage the fertility of the land and animals in the coming year.
It is fascinating how different traditions and believes take roots in different countries, and how they continue to evolve.
Watch for more upcoming May posts.
Copyright (c) 2013-2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
I have completed goal one for the April Camp NaNoWriMo which serves either as an extension of the novel challenge started in November and/or fuel for new writing.
I penned the core of “Secrets” during the November challenge reaching 56,433 words. The anchor story in the collection is “Silk Nora” inspired by my multiple visits to the Belrockton Museum in Belding.
I going through the stories for content and insights. I will be submitting some of the stories via app Submittable for reviews to magazines.
I am sending the manuscript “Shifting Sands: Secrets” (c) 2019 Emma Palova to the editor this week. Thank you Carol.
Camp goal no. 2 is to recast the Konecny family immigration saga. This includes the title and the cover.
Follow me on my publishing journey.
Shifting Sands: Secrets
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Camp NaNoWriMo in April is an extension of the National Novel Writing Month in November. We’ve entered the fourth day of the camp already.
I penned the core of “Secrets,” which is a sequel to Shifting Sands: Short Stories, during the November NaNoWriMo project.
From my camp cabin log:
Since, I have two goals for my camp 2019, I am moving ahead to finish the last story in the collection “Secrets.” I will be done with that shortly. Then comes formatting. No.2 goal is to recast the familly immigration saga “Greenwich Meridian: Where East meets West. Instead of discarding 11 chapters, I will just shuffle content around. I have to get the memoir going in the right direction. I don’t want it to be a list of facts. I hope for all us campers that we can get done what we have set out to do; the camaraderie and support help. I have family here from Europe, so it’s hard to get in my actual “butt in chair” time.
Copyright (c)2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
The key to a good story is balancing all its elements as well as the mental composure of its characters, while pitching them against each other.
It’s a juggling act.
I realized that while writing the sequel “Shifting Sands: Secrets” in the characters of Amora and Margot.
In the final story “Six Palms by the Tiki”, easy-going Margot, an Irish catholic from Chicago offsets Amora’s hardline self-imposed principles.
Check out the excerpt from “Secrets.”
haunt me at night. I wanted to let you know that, even though we’re friends. I
am not going to apologize for leaving you at that old Irish Pub, because you
hate gossip. Gossip is worse than lying. Gossip is immoral. Gossip is the
sister of secrets and lies. You should have asked me first about seadog George.
You know I still have Anthony.
both old, and we can die any day.
But you were the only friend I had at that looney “Cottage Nest” down South. Friends are hard to come by. The older you get, the harder they are to find. You know you should be picking up your phone. I hate when you don’t answer your phone.
I also know if I lose you, I won’t find a new friend.
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Lent is a spiritual time of reflection for 40 days before Easter observed by Christians around the world. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday, April 18 this year.
It is marked by the color purple and fasting. On Lenten Fridays, Christians should abstain from meat and excessive drinking.
One of its traditions are Lenten soups served by many local parish communities such as The Franciscan Life Process Center. The following soups, donated by the area restaurants, will be offered on Lenten Wednesdays:
March 20th Cannonsburg Catering Potato Soup Dilly Bread Cannonsburgcatering.com
March 27th Applause Catering Broccoli Cheese Oatmeal Bread Applause-catering.net
With its deeply embedded traditions, Lent has inspired many of my stories and writings. My favorite soup, not only for Lent, is Mediterranean lentil soup with lemon and turmeric.
Excerpt from “Shifting Sands: Secrets”
decided to further think about a night walk under the moon in pursuit of a
glimpse of the giant silk moth.
the meantime, she would do some research about the luminous winged wonder, and
find a clock that wouldn’t be as noisy.
even yet in the cottage living, you couldn’t release any stink either; like
frying a fish on a Lenten Friday or on any Friday. Being a good Catholic, Amora
made sure she never ate meat on Fridays. Unlike Margot, who both ate meat and
drank on Lenten Fridays, Amora stuck to her acquired routine.
Undisciplined Amora had to build up her routine like a bee flying from a wild flower to an order trapped in her own beehive.
we going out on Friday, Amora?” Margot asked when they were gossiping on the
shouldn’t,” Amora said. “It’s Lent. You should know that, you’re Irish.”
decided to go anyways to the old Irish Pub with dubious reputation in downtown.
They settled at their favorite table in the corner.
it be the usual two Killarneys for the ladies?” asked the waiter.
one,” snapped Amora. “It’s Lent.”
you, mam?” the waiter looked surprised at Amora.
for her,” Amora pointed at Margot.
Margot smiled at the waiter. “That’s cheers in Irish.”
The waiter brought the reddish beer and a glass of water full of ice. for Amora. Margot disciplined herself and ordered fish and chips like Amora.
least it’s cheap,” Margot said eating her chips. “Tell me all about him.”
“Who?” Amora was shocked.
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
On the first day of spring, I drove to the nearby Murray Lake for inspiration and meditation to finish the last story in the new book “Shifting Sands: Secrets” slated for spring publication.
The lake was thawing and the ducks were bathing in the fresh streams.
It was only me, a diehard ice fisherman and a curious blue heron perched on a piece of floating ice. Later, it started snowing mixed together with rain.
I had to get out of the car to get a photo of that brave man, who was literally floating on the remaining ice. The man was totally oblivious to his surroundings.
Did I find my inspiration?
I have to answer the question: I did find inspiration on the shores of a water body. This time 1,000 miles up North from where I found the first pieces of inspiration on the Gulf for the following story.
Excerpt from “Six Palms by the Tiki”
kind of secrets were hiding in those calcium skeletons built by slimy mollusks
that have no spine?” Amora often wondered.
all, the mollusks were long dead when washed ashore eaten by another sea
creature. Most big shells had broken fringes and fragments of shells were more
usual than whole intact shells. To find shells still attached to each other was
out of the norm completely.
paid $2 for a cup of Venetian coffee at Papa’s. The hot dark liquid still
steaming vaguely reminded her of mornings Up North. Seadog George was always
available for a chat. He had a tan of a sailor and considered himself to be
one, since he had spent the last 15 years on the pier’s deck hovering 20 feet
you ever get seasick?” asked Amora naively searching George’s tanned hardened
by wind and sun.
I do when the wind is high and the pier sways in the waves,” he said. “But they
built to withstand anything from Brazilian swamp wood that has already grown in
seadog George wasn’t a native of Florida, although he wished he was. Once he
tried to pretend in front of tourists that he was a Floridian.
on buddy, you sound like the Yankees, you can’t lose that,” laughed the New
Yorker. “I am a fourth generation Yankee, I know.”
then on, George stopped pretending. With blonde hair matching the tan and the
beard, Amora guessed he must have been Norwegian or Swedish. She hasn’t found
the guts yet to ask him; Amora didn’t want to be either too friendly or too
nosy, or worse yet: Seadog George could think she was hitting on him.
She only engaged enough in casual talk to finish the cup of Venetian coffee without having to walk with it.
Copyright (c) 2019. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
I have fond memories of this event aka MDZ from former Czechoslovakia. On this day in history, we received flowers and/or pantyhose to celebrate our womanhood. The celebration mainly honored women as mothers and workers for the common good. It felt good to be recognized for something that is natural to all women in the world.
The Inspiring Women series is dedicated to all the women around the globe for their day to day efforts.
Inspiring Women- Carol Briggs
Person of the Year inspires and motivates others to get things done
“Whether I work
with two or 10 people, I like to share the success, and not to solely own it.
It takes a myriad of people and networking effort.”
MI – If you want to get things done, just ask Carol Briggs.
Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce has named Briggs as Person of the Year 2019 for
her community involvement in multiple organizations such as the Lowell United
Methodist Church, F.R.O.M., the Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce and Relay for
top award came as a complete surprise to Briggs, when chamber director Liz
Baker gave her a piece to proofread on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
found out from the chamber flyer that I was the person of the year,” Briggs
said. “There were friends waiting for me at the chamber to congratulate me.”
is passionate about the Lowell community, and she radiates and spreads that
passion around her.
personal motive is to help our Lowell community to be vibrant, inviting and fun
for those who live here, as well as for those who may stop by for an event,” Briggs
said in her acceptance speech at the Annual Membership Gathering at Deer Run.
Form a committee
special events are her cup of tea. Briggs has a keen interest in organizational
love working with a group of people with the same interests toward results that
are both educational and enjoyable,” she said.
enjoys the most working in committees for special events. Her most recent experience
comes from organizing the 20th Anniversary of F.R.O.M. last summer.
like when everyone takes their piece and follows through,” she said.
She attributes the huge success of the F.R.O.M. event, held at Witt’s Inn and attended by 140 people, mainly to being prepared. The preparations for the event started about a year ahead of time with regular monthly meetings of a committee of nine.
Be prepared, have
started brainstorming with the theme,” she said, “having in mind the main purpose
of the event, whether it’s education, awareness or celebration.”
The committee consisting of nine people picked the theme: “Roaring 20s.”
all evolved from there; from entertainment by Roger McNaughton to catering by Miss
P’s Catering and the silent auction.
used china plate settings from F.R.O.M. and some costumes,” she said. “Eighty-five
percent of people dressed up.”
event was complete with pictures by the vintage car provided by John Sterly.
The key to success
key to success is understanding the purpose of the event,” she said. “That is
what does the organization want to achieve.”
about people and their connections in the area,” she said. “It’s about finding
those connections in the community and expecting people to follow through.”
advises to face challenges by not feeling overwhelmed with an upcoming event.
work through it and you have to be flexible,” she said. “Sometimes I woke up at
likes to break down complex tasks into steps and she definitely makes lists.
I have a lot going on, I have a lot of lists and a lot of folders,” she said.
funds for the event were directed from the proceeds of the Food Fight, while
others were in kind gifts.
am a visual learner,” she said. “I like to see things first, and then the mind
absorbs it. I like to see my task or I can’t sleep.”
like to share the success, whether I work with two people or 10,” she said. “I
am not the only one who made this happen. I try to practice humility.”
person who has his or her fingers in many pots must have a motive,” she said. “My
personal motive is to help our Lowell community.”
offers tips and advise for other women in terms of everyday goals, as well as
long term goals:
try to find good in every day in whatever comes my way,” she said. “I try to
decide how to respond not to react.”
mantra is acceptance.
am accepting of others and their lives,” she said.
response to what makes her feel good about herself, Briggs said: “It’s mainly
family and close friends, if they are supportive you can do so much more.”
you can always do a lot more than you think you can, according to Briggs.
let other people’s comments or your own inhibitions hold you back,” she said. “Ask
for an opinion from a trusted friend, we don’t have all the answers. We’re all
in this together.”
If Briggs has any secrets, we’re not going to find out about them from her.
Copyright (c) 2019 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.
Aboard Allegiant Flight 1600 from Punta Gorda to Grand Rapids
By Emma Palova
In Air- I
am leaving Florida eight days later, just like I have arrived, with the rain.
In between, the sun and the full moon graced the clear skies.
horizon, the turquoise sea touched the blue sky in a magnificent union.
the full moon on Feb. 18, a strong morning tide hit the Venice Beach washing
ashore shells galore and wracks wrapped in seaweed.
perfect morning cup inside a cockle shell was hiding the jewels from the sea;
small olive and bubble shells, sturdy jewel boxes and translucent jingle
I spent a
magnificent week in “Paradise” where the hibiscus bloomed in shades of orange,
the banana trees in white and the palms rendered orange ripe figs.
The front yards were tropical gardens with “Birds of Paradise” just opening up their orange beaks.
The sunsets were a splash from an artist’s palate of yellows, reds, oranges and browns.
It’s February- Soak it up, stir an argument
instructor Elin reminded us this morning to soak up the beach life in February.
walked here, laid in the sand, listened to the waves,” she said. “Soak it up.
Wednesday, Elin held up a large red leaf and said something about mailing it as
a postcard. Since, the wind carried Elin’s words into the sea, I missed the
details. For some odd reason, I thought it had to be a mangrove leaf.
I picked up some reddish leaves yesterday thinking they were mangrove leaves on the dune banks by Sharky’s. Yellow veins branched into the ripe red leaf. It resembled large grape leaves.
My hosts in Venice were my parents Ella and Vaclav Konecny of Michigan. They made fun of me because I believed in the USPS red leaf postcard program. I asked my dad to take me to the post office, so I could mail the red leaf. My mom Ella was convinced my prized leaf wasn’t a mangrove, and that I shouldn’t pursue mailing it.
Siri,” my dad said.
When I asked Siri, and she knew nothing about the mangrove leaf USPS mailing program, doubts also entered my mind.
came to the conclusion that it was an April Fool’s joke. In our homeland we
used the following prank:
“It’s like going to the store to get mosquito fat,” he laughed. “I am not going inside the post office with you.”
it’s not April Fool’s,” I refused to give up.
I found myself in the midst of an argument over the validity of the USPS leaf postcard mailing program.
your dad alone, he needs to get some rest,” mom snapped.
maybe we can wrap up some meat inside the leaf and make rolls,” I defended
my grounds sarcastically.
My dad who never gives up suggested that I ask Elin. After my last morning yoga session on the beach on Thursday, I made my way through Elin’s fans to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
“You pick up some sea grape leaves,” Elin said pointing to the banks by the beach house and take it to the post office. The postal workers get a kick out of it. A lady from my class sent out five of them the other day. The postage is under a dollar. Send it out within five days or they dry out and crumble.”
According to Elin, the post office can even put a dried out leaf in a cellophane.
told you, it wasn’t a mangrove leaf,” my mom persisted.
“You know they wrap up meat in grape leaves in Greece, right?” I snapped back.
Back home at the writing studio Feb. 22, 2019
Lowell, MI -That was it. I was running out of time to go to the post office, since I was flying out of Florida in the afternoon.
I wrote my address on the sea grape leaf, mom provided the stamps, and dad disguised the leaf in a sac and took it to the mailbox. Dad was convinced that I made a fool out of him.
unknown whether he put the sac with the sea grape leaf in the mail, or in the
bizarre way, we were all right; mom with her contention that it is not a
mangrove leaf, me with the sea grape meat rolls and dad with the April Fool’s
prank, that he had probably created by dropping the leaf in the trash.