Category Archives: traditions

Emma’s name day

Emma’s name day is associated with romance

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- Yes, indeed. Today is Emma’s Day, according to the Czech calendar. My mom Ella gave me the name based on a novel she read a long time ago.

The guy in the novel kept writing letters to his love, always starting with:

“Dear Emma, ”

I love you.

Czech name days

Many years later, I would receive letters and postcards from all over the world with that same greeting in Czech:

“Mila Emmo,”

“How are you?” mom always wrote.

I loved the name so much that I gave it to our daughter who is now Doc Emma. Emma permanently lives in romantic Burgundy, France. The romantic name originates in France.

Today is also Emma’s birthday. Every year, she has a double celebration. Happy birthday and name day, dear Emma.

My lifelong friend Eva of Kromeriz loved the name too, and she named her daughter Emma.

When I moved to America,  and started going to St. Pat’s Church in Parnell, I came across another Emma, who sings in the choir, and she also has a matching great last name Darling.

And until this year, Emma was the top name for girls around the world.

And how about poet Emma Lazarus, Emma Watson and Emma Stone?

“We’re losing the first place now,” singer Emma informed me earlier in the year.

Both my husband and son wished me a happy Emma’s Day, earlier in the day. I usually get early spring flowers. This year, I got a purple primrose.

In the Czech calendar, names are attributed to each date. And people celebrate their name days much like birthdays, with family and friends. They get gifts, and a cake.

Due to the recent influx of new names, some dates in the Czech calendar double or triple up on names.

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Sweet gingerbread wishes

I’ve always wondered why Hallmark never really picked up on these charming name days, other than Saint Pat’s.

Name days are often based on the names of saints. For example Saint Terese Day is on Oct. 15 and Saint Mary is on Sept. 9. The wildly popular name day Catherine falls on Nov.25. Saint Martin is on Nov. 11. Saint Joseph/Saint Josephine falls on March 19.

Mom Ella’s name day falls on Oct. 5. Her real name is Eliska. She has always hated that name, so she changed Eliska to Ella. It is pretty much the same name.

Mom Ella just called me from Venice, Florida as I was writing this post. They’re getting ready with my dad Vaclav to head back up North to Michigan.

“See I gave you inspiration with that name,” she laughed.

“Thank you, mom for the lovely name.”

In many villages in Czech Republic, the Saint Days are big parish and community feasts. People bake for these feasts, butcher a pig, go dancing, and some dress up in traditional costumes. Rides come into towns.
Follow me into Easter traditions in Czech and Slovak republics.

Which traditions do you celebrate, how and why?

Copyright  (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Luck of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I love Saint Patrick’s Day and the luck of the Irish

This post is also in response to the Daily Post prompt Luck

Luck

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- I am not Irish by any stretch of imagination, no matter how deep I dig in the Konecny family roots in my immigration saga. But, I love St. Patrick’s Day when everybody is Irish on March 17, no matter where I am.

I totally disregard news media claims that it costs $38 to celebrate Saint Patrick with green beer, corned beef and cabbage.

Believe it or not, the Czech calendar has this saint down for February 19, by the workings of some troll in the pre-press department of the Balousek Tisk.

I have to laugh at this mistake without evil or spite.

Below is a poster for local St. Pat’s celebration in Smyrna still going strong tomorrow on March 18. Same time, same place, same Irish fare.

smyrna saint pats
St. Pat’s at Smyrna still going strong on Saturday, March 18.

I was born in Czech Republic (old Czechoslovakia), and we vaguely knew of Saint Patrick, because it was completely overshadowed by the Feast of Saint Joseph on March 19.

As I permanently started adopting American traditions as part of my new life, I came across Saint Patrick more and more. I definitely cemented the Irish tradition when we moved next to the communities with Irish legacies that is Parnell and Canonsburg in northeast Kent County, Michigan.

My journalism trek through the regional media helped strengthen the tradition as well. My first official Irish story was in Plainwell for the Union Enterprise. It was a lighthearted story about a woman of Irish origin, who each year celebrated her Irish heritage with Bailey’s, and by baking soda bread and making some Irish stew. She invited me for some Bailey’s and cake in her Irish decked out house.

I wrote about the Irish tradition again for the Ionia Sentinel-Standard. I drove my jeep in a snowstorm 30 miles northeast into the Irish community of Hubbardston, and wrote about the Irish pub, Shiels Tavern and the Irish store owned by Pat Baese, The Celtic Path. Shiels used to be a “speakeasy” during the prohibition.

On several Saint Patrick’s Days we tasted the tavern’s version of stew, soda bread and green beer. The Irish Dance Troupe under Baese’s tutelage has always danced at the tavern and at the regional fine establishments.

For the Ledger in Lowell, some fun-minded individuals sent me over to the Irish Larkin’s pub next door to get a photo of the owner Mike toasting with green beer. It worked out excellent for all sides. Mike still has the pic from the Buyer’s Guide.

One of the most shocking St. Pat’s events, was the Saint Pat’s parade in Chicago in 2002. We drove to Chicago for the Czech celebration of the Feast of Saint Joseph. It was a big deal, because in Czech, every other man’s name is Joseph.

Since, we were already in Chicago, we decided to go the annual Saint Pat’s parade.

Wow, speaking about coincidences. Not only was the Chicago River dyed green, but among the green ubiquitous hats, I spotted tall metal frames and people pressing against them. Then, I noticed snipers on the rooftops. We had to go through security to get to one section of the parade.

“What’s going on?” I asked my husband.

Well, it was nothing less than the former president George W. Bush marching in the parade with firefighters. That was the only time I saw a sitting president, shortly after 911.

When I think of it today, other than the fact that the sales of green beer were limited, it was quite brave of W. to march out there, among the Chicago liberals and freethinkers.

Back to the reality of 2017, and its precipitating circumstances in view of tomorrow’s Saint Pat’s party in Parnell, hosted by Knights of Columbus.

We became members of Saint Pat’s Church of Parnell in 2014. Our son Jake got married at the church in 2014, our grandson Samuel was baptized there and granddaughter Ella went to Saint Pat’s summer school in 2016 with the hopes of going back this year.

Like many families in the area, we have become a part of the Saint Pat’s greater church family located in the tiny unincorporated village of Parnell.

And what I love even more about the Irish, and being catholic, is that we got pardoned from Friday’s Lenten abstinence from meat and drinking.

“Saint Patrick is our patron,” explained Father Mark Peacock apologetically last Sunday.

So, let the Luck of the Irish ring

And  to hook my Saint Pat’s Day post to the Daily Post prompt Luck @luck.

It only occurred to me, after I had submitted my resume for the position of volunteer manager for the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park about three hours ago, that it is a sign of luck.

I first submitted the app and resume to the human resources yesterday, but it came back with, this message could not be delivered.

I worked on it some more today, and I hit the send button on my screen today around noon.

And I am in luck of the Irish today.

For info on Saint Patrick go to wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Day

Copyright © 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Mardi Gras

Grease up for Fat Tuesday

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- We’re heading into the Mardi Gras weekend with Fat Tuesday coming up on Feb. 28, which is better late than never.

“Everything is going to be late and screwed up,” said my forever pessimistic husband Ludek.

He was most likely referring to the late onset of the much coveted gardening and yard season in Midwest USA.

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Fasching Fenn Valley winery 1998

The Lenten resolutions, fasting and such

Tuesday is the last day when you can be a glutton, which is one of the seven deadly sins, as I have learned in a recent therapeutic meeting and from Brad Pitt’s movie, “Se7en.” That is if you are a catholic. And even if you are not, the start of Lent on March 1st, known as Ash Wednesday, can become your six-week diet program, depending on the interpretation of Lent.

That way,  you can fit into that nice spring white or green Easter dress.

The newspaper take on Lent, what do you give up?

“What are you going to give up for Lent?” was the standby question  at the newspapers  and out on the streets with the feature, “Man on the Street” before the multi-media journalism take-over.

Whoever was assigned to do this, would usually stand by the US Post Office to catch innocent users and fry them with the question of the week, and a mandatory head shot.

“Oh, I hate my photo taken,” was the common reply, and after a while. “Oh,oh. I usually give up coffee.”

And that was a standard lie, one of the seven deadly sins.

The social media have made this obnoxious “Man on the Street” feature obsolete, and substituted it with voluntary selfies and profile pics. Now, you can freely render your opinion on any platform from twitter to reddit, all the way to the new planetary system of Trappist 1.

“Hey, I love Mardi Gras, I can finally be myself,” posted XOXOX with the profile pic of  a cat.

At one point, I modified the newspaper question along with some other fine writers to, “What are we going to take on that we haven’t done before?”

The Paczki take on Mardi Gras

My American outtake on Mardi Gras is that I go either to the local Meijer store or to the Honey Creek Grist Mill and buy me some greasy Paczki (Polish donuts) and forget about all my diets and resolutions.

I could also go to the Franciscan Sisters Life Process Center and learn how to bake the paczkis, in case I  want to impress.

ew-paczki

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/paczki-class-tickets-31287749501#

What I would really like to do is go to a true Fashing Karnival without having to go to Germany or to Brazil for Mardi Gras drag queens.

Mardi Gras in Lowell, ha,ha,ha

Years ago, my Lowell Ledger editor Jeanne B. laughed at me, when I asked if Lowell was doing anything for Mardi Gras.

“Are you crazy?” she laughed. “Go and ask Liz.”

Liz is the ever populist Lowell chamber director and she can be a lot of fun. Just ask the merchants during the annual Girls Night Out (GNO) events in the spring and fall. But, no fun for Mardi Gras.

“Are you out of your mind, here in Lowell?” Liz gasped for some fresh air.

Well, the Fenn Valley winery of German origin didn’t seem to think that putting on a Fashink Karnival was all that crazy. Although, they  did it only twice, and something probably happened in between.

Fenn Valley winery Fashink 1998

Ludek and I were lucky enough to hit the Fasching Karnival at Fenn Valley in 1998. That was the year when the movie Titanic directed by James Cameron was bigger than the sunken ship itself in 1912.

Check out the 2014 story when Ludek and I dressed up for the only Fasching Karnival we’ve attended so far. We dressed up as Chicagoland gangsters, only to run into more like us at the winery party.

We just didn’t have the violin case. Next time. We’re still looking for a great Mardi Gras aka Carnival or Fasching party, that is something before Halloween.

Halloween seems to consume Mardi Gras masks and costumes for whatever reason.

Go figure.

https://emmapalova.com/2014/03/04/lenten-traditions-mardi-gras/

Mardi Gras crafts DIY

Celebrate Mardi Gras and DIY Mardi Gras Coin Topiaries

The big carnivals that I would like to go to:

Brazilian Carnival

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_Carnival

Carnival of Venice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_of_Venice

Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Happy Valentine’s Day

May all your sweet dreams come true today and every day, because every new day is a celebration in our lives.

Sladkosti k svatemu Valentynovi a ke vsem svatkum. Desserts for your sweetheart for Saint Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Also in response to the Daily Post prompt:

Check out the recipe for the lush Saint Isidore dessert with rum and walnuts at

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lush/”>Lush</a&gt;

Top recepty

https://www.toprecepty.cz/recept/15070-rezy-izidor/

Source: Svatek Svateho Valentyna

Writer’s love picks for February

February drives creative work to fruition

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

There is something about the month of February, you can call it atmospheric . I was thinking that even before I heard that at a therapeutic meeting earlier this week.

Maybe it’s the overall ambience of the month in between the deep freeze of January and the much coveted  arrival of spring in March. If I were to pin the season to the catholic calendar, it is usually the purple time of Lent, except for this year since Lent arrives late with Ash Wednesday falling on March 1.

“Everything is going to be late this year,” my husband Ludek, a chronic complainer, said. “We’re going to have a late Easter.”

No kidding, the Easter Sunday falls on April 16 this year. But, the good news is, the trees here Up North in Michigan will have leaves, and maybe even early blossoms and spring flowers.

We had rain on Tuesday, grayish nothing on Wednesday, a deep freeze on Thursday along with a creepy full moon, and now we are recovering from 20 plus minus degree temperature swings as the work week finally wraps up.

My body” loves” these roller coaster temperatures, and my mind and mood swing accordingly with them.

With the sunshine on Monday, I was at a reasonable high as I met with friends at the “Gathering Place” to discuss progress in our common therapy.

“You know, this really works, let’s do it next Monday again,” T. G. as always was very encouraging.

“I have a lot more stories to tell,” said our new buddy Wendy.

And the mid-week meeting somewhere in the woods next to the old stage-coach road was also a success, all things considered.

I do feel grateful for this overall February gap in between the novelty of the new year 2017 and the onset of spring. This February gap finally allowed me to fill the empty spaces on my huge 17-months desktop calendar with my creative work.

Along with Ludek, we made an executive decision that I will self-publish my collection of short stories “Glass Flowers” Copyright (c)2017 Emma Palova. On Thursday, I started pulling the collection of 20-some short stories together after literally years of searching the publishing “maze.”

That search included everything from participating in Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contests, submitting my short stories to literary magazines, of which, many no longer exist, submitting manuscripts to Writer’s Conferences and of course looking for an agent.

This all-inclusive escapade involved interviews with sales people from several publishing houses that have gone the self-publishing route as well.

“You know Amazon is moving quite fast on this,” said the sales person from Author’s Publish. “We’re keeping an eye on them.”

“Thank you Mr. E. for the tip,” I concluded a series of several hour-long phone interviews after my ear almost fell off. I decided to join the self-publishing mainstream.

Stay tuned for more of my “Publishing Escapades.” Have a great weekend, and a great February. Don’t forget it’s the month of the heart and love. Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Also some neat events this weekend include:

“Champagne and chocolates” at the Flat River Gallery in downtown Lowell this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more info go to http://www.flatrivergalleryandframing.com

Screening of the “Interlude” at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts  in Grand Rapids.

http://www.uica.org

Love always,

Emma

This post is also in response to the Daily Post prompt @Ambience

Ambience

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Out of the Woods

A poet’s way

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This poem is in response to the Daily Post prompt @clean
Clean

“Out of the Woods”

By Tubie Gilmore

I see a pleasant path, and I begin to ramble

On either side are thorns and rocks

The ground is full of brambles…..

Fallen trees to trip me, the woods are very dark…

But around the corner, and down the path,

I think I can see a park.

I think I’ll walk on the path today, the woods are too scary…

The path is my way,

It has a few hills as I walk toward the park,

But the sun is shining, I am not in the dark……

To get out of the woods

Is simple to do…

Just stay on the path,

And we’ll all walk with you!

Note: The poem was inspired by a therapeutic session with theme “Are we out of the woods” in the “ABC Rooms” held on Feb. 1, 2017.

Copyright (c) 2017. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

In Retrospect 2016

Looking back at the second half of 2016

Note: This is the second post on the Daily Post theme “Retrospective” on https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/retrospective/

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- The second half of 2016 rocked and we rocked with it. We rocked the Milky Way as we elected the 45th president, Mr. Donald Trump by the vote of the Electoral College.

We’ve seen stars rise, shine and fall; both on the human scene and in the sky. Most recently we marked the death of Carrie Fisher better known as Princess Leia in Star Wars. Her mother Debbie Reynolds, the star of the 1952 “Singin’ in the Rain” musical died one day later.

They joined a string of deaths of famous personalities in 2016, starting with David Bowie in January and Prince in April.

We proudly watched the summer Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

We lived through nature’s wrath at us in tornadoes and fires, as we ran human stampedes in malls seeking deals after Christmas.

Finally, we were so disappointed after the much coveted “Hatchanimals” that didn’t hatch.

It was a year to remember, personally and nationally.

Things lost, things found in 2016

Summer breaks rediscovered 

In July, I rediscovered the magic of the summer break as our granddaughter Ella Chavent, 6, of Fixin’, France spent her first summer on our three-acre ranch in northeast Kent County.

Starting in July, every morning I took her to the St. Pat’s summer school in Parnell, MI so she can improve her English.

“Grandma, tell me one of your stories,” she asked.

During our brief ride, accompanied by the music of Queen, I told Ella about “that dude with the fancy Corvette,” who almost ran over a boy.

Together, we celebrated Christmas in July after I bought Santa and rocking horse ornaments at an estate sale in Fallasburg for quarter a piece.

“Who died?” I asked at the sales tent which featured lovely items like a black J. Marco Galleries dress with a perfume bottle pattern.

“Our sister did,” said the lady at the dress tent. “We miss her.”

We went to the Picnic Pops concert in Canonsburg to listen to the music of Queen. We beat the heat on the beach in South Haven and explored Ella’s first fairs: the Ionia Free Fair and the Kent County Youth Fair in Lowell.

We gardened and picked red currant to make currant pies, we bought tart cherries at H&W Farms in Belding and made tart preserves and syrup.

Ella went on her first field trips to local farms.

Motivated by Ella who was going to a catholic school, I returned back to church after a 10-year long sabbatical.

And a new journey has begun. I still have on the fridge Ella’s paper star with these words:

“You were made for greatness,” Pope Benedict.

August, Burgundy revisited

 Ella and I headed back to France in mid-August. I had her on a leash and she carried in her backpack a collection of stuffed animals.

“They are my tain tains,” Ella said passionately. I could only feel what tain tains mean.

“Grandma, hold on to me, I need you,” she said.

We held on together as we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris after a sleepless flight.

“Nice to meet you,” said a woman in a short skirt.

“Selene, this is mom,” Doc Emma introduced us. “Mom, this is our friend and au pair, Selene.”

Selene was the first of a colorful set of characters, I was to meet during my third stay in Burgundy.

From my studio on Rue Magniens in the peaceful wine village of Fixin’ I wrote about the “Climates” aka vineyards in the aftermath of the Bastille Day killings in Nice.

September, things new. .Podcast platform

 Upon my return from France, I dedicated my studio time to new accounts, such as the Americas Community Voices Network as we headed into the election.

It was a feverish time of exploring and discovering on both the WordPress and Podcast platforms.

The fall at the Pala ranch means preservation of pickles and tomatoes. Why? Because you have to answer to winter when she asks.
“What did you do in summer?” so goes the old Czech saying.

October, things old, things new

October delivered a bang in many different ways, on many different levels. My cousin Brona Pink of Stipa, maintenance manager for Zoo Lesna, visited the USA for the first time. He stayed at my parents’ Ella & Vaclav Konecny in Big Rapids.

Today, I wish we had spent more time together.

We also celebrated our wedding anniversaries, Ludek and mine, along with our son’s Jake & Maranda.

On Oct. 21, the Rockford Ambulance took me to the Metro Hospital on M-6 aka “Hotel.” I passed out from exhaustion and dehydration, and I started a new path to better health and wellness.

November ushers in president-elect Trump

 In spite of my better judgment, I voted for Mr. Donald Trump on Nov. 8th. As a lifelong Democrat I voted Republican for the first time. Doc Emma missed the election by one day.

“Good, at least she couldn’t vote for Trump ,” my mom Ella said angrily.

Tired of old Washington tactics, much like the rest of the nation, I was ready for a change.

A spiritual and physical change in everything.

I started with myself; I did a thorough inventory of my mind and my physical belongings.

I have fiction manuscripts collecting dust on the shelves in my studio. They’re good stories. I was the bad one.

I stopped the rut of yo-yo dieting and overeating. I cleaned the shelves of my pantry and threw out a lot of old things.

If perfection exists in this world, the family Thanksgiving 2016 was next to perfect. As a family we got together, we didn’t fight, nobody got drunk and we didn’t burn the turkey.

After the holiday, my parents left for their winter stay in Venice, Florida, as fires blazed in Kentucky and tornadoes whipped Alabama.

December whips and shakes

 Dec.7, 2016- On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I tied yellow ribbons of hope around our ranch.

On Dec. 7th, I  published the first installment of the 2016 IW Inspiring Women series featuring artist Linda Kropf Phillips of Lowell at https://emmapalova.com/2016/12/07

Dec. 8- I started marketing a brand new account for Costa Rica on ETravel & Food at https://etravelandfood.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/visit-jaco-costa-rica/

Dec. 10- Together with the Fallasburg Historical Society, we celebrated the biggest “Christmas at Fallasburg” party ever, thanks to the power of the social media.

“Thank you Mr. Zuckerberg, your Facebook helped me make the party a huge success.

No pun intended, but it was a party for the “history books.”

On Dec. 17, I passed the Czech Christmas baking tradition on to granddaughter Josephine Marie Palova, 3. She joins the gallery of the Palova bakers spanning generations of traditional Czech baking.

Yesterday on Dec 28, I mourned the loss of my doggie friend, Annie. Annie was the neighbor’s dog who filled in the gap after my dog Haryk died almost three years ago.

“We’re heartbroken,” our neighbor announced Annie’s death.

“I loved her like my own dog,” I responded in tears. “Goodbye, Annie.”

As we close on this year, and the red dogwood twigs in Christmas bouquets have new shoots, the yellow ribbons are still hanging around the house.

Dec. 29- Today is my brother Vas’ birthday. He has completed 55 trips around the Sun. May he enjoy many more.

“Happy birthday, Vas.”

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

END

2016 Retrospective Kaleidoscope

Looking back into the future

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – As I look back at 2016 like into a colorful kaleidoscope that keeps changing when I move it, I see a clear picture of the past.

I move it again, and I can see how the little pieces are transforming into the future, that is the upcoming year 2017.

Sometimes I shake that kaleidoscope violently, so that the picture changes into what I want it to be.

Well, it never is what I wanted it to be. Just like the molecules and atoms in space keep fusing and defusing, so do the events that these little pieces form not always to our liking.

And I have to quote Mr. Albert Einstein:

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

As in years previous, I looked deeper and deeper into what I saw around me. At times, experts call this,” being aware.”

Things lost, things found in 2016
Things lost, things found in 2016

Things lost and found in 2016, things old and new

On the last day of January in 2016, I rediscovered the power of the church in the christening of grandson Dominik Ludek Pala at St. Rose Catholic Church in Hastings, MI.

I had broken away from the church for many years. As I watched the christening rituals and both of my adult children, Emma & Jake, standing at the altar with the baby at the center of attention, I realized something big was happening inside and out.

My brother Vas was sitting in the first pew to the right, Dominik’s uncle, war veteran Tony was holding the baby, and my daughter Doc Emma Chavent flew in from Dijon, FR to be the Godmother to Dominik.

The power of church, 2016
The power of church, 2016

The church united us all together regardless beliefs, distance or occupation.

Things lost for 10 years: the church, but not faith

In February, I rediscovered Florida, that some people Up North lovingly call southern overrated “Hicksville,” either flooded by tourists or college kids on their spring break.

I’ve been going to Venice, FL for writer’s retreats since 2009. This time, our entire group led by Doc Emma went to Saint Petersburg. And I loved it. I loved St. Pete for its cosmopolitan feel, culture and secluded historical beaches.

Things lost:  St. Pete’s city pier that has been rebuilt many times was gone to make way for a new one.

In March, I observed my son Jake’s birthday too sick to go to Hastings. On March 8th, which is International Women’s Day, I gave accolades to all the women who are making a difference in this world in my popular series on EW Emma’s Writings “Inspiring Women.”

Also my favorite feature post on March 19th is “Czech Name Days” honoring my grandpa Joseph along with millions of Josephs around the world.

Czech & Slovak Easter traditions
Czech & Slovak Easter traditions

We celebrated Easter on March 27, still without my parents Ella & Vaclav, who winter in Venice, FL.

I wasn’t even a CEO (Christmas, Easter, Only) visitor to church on that festive Easter Sunday, when most of the women wear white dresses.

However, I wrote about the age-old custom, the whipping of girls and women in “Memoir highlights Czech & Slovak Easter Traditions” in Czech Republic. The post generated incredible controversy about being evil to women.

See post :https://wordpress.com/post/emmapalova.com/167550

Things lost: me

 April to me signifies spring, here in the North. I gave it salute in many different ways: April 8th, according to Czech calendar is Emma’s name day. Throughout the year, I write posts about Czech name days wondering why Hallmark has never jumped on this social occasion. Many countries around the world celebrate name days, not just Saint Patrick of Ireland.

My daughter Doc Emma was also born on that day in the old country Czechoslovakia.

Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL
Inspiration: the spiral staircase at the Dali in St. Petersburg, FL

Her birth certificate is now a historic document, a testament to the changing times in the former socialist country. It reads, born in Gottwaldov, Czechoslovakia. The Moravian city Gottwaldov no longer exists under that name. It took back on the old name from the capitalist times under the industrialist Bata, and that is Zlin.

It was also the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. I usually write the post “Earth Day” to honor Mother Nature. Locally, the sign by Wege/Wittenbach Environmental Center in Lowell best expresses my feelings at any time of the year, and especially now as we enter 2017:

“May Peace Prevail on Earth.”

 May is big, anyway you look at it. It’s “Mother’s Day” and the earth blossoms to honor all mothers. I celebrate my birthday on May 9th with my family and my friends. The annual get together on our three-acre ranch surrounded by lilacs in northeast Kent County is the highlight of my year.

Anna & Anna Drabkova
Greenwich Meridian memoir inspiration; the family Drabkova. Front row from left to right: grandparents Anna & Joseph.
Top row: Eliska and Anna.

May 9th also coincides with the “Czech national holiday” that celebrated the freeing of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi occupation in 1945 when Soviet troops arrived in Prague.

The modern calendar changed it to May 8th when the Americans freed the beer city of Pilsner in western Bohemia.

I call the change in the date of the biggest Czech national holiday, a farce in history, depending on who you are currently serving. Actually, it is a little piece in that ever-changing kaleidoscope.

 Naturally, people critiqued me for using the real date of freedom for the Czech national holiday. For me it was a lot like changing the American Fourth of July Independence Day to let’s say July 3rd.

History, and the way we live it and change it to our own fancy, is an endless source of inspiration to me.

On May 13, 2016, I picked back up the “Greenwich Meridian” memoir which was the reason, why I started blogging in the first place in January of 2013.

Based on that, I published the post “Picking up the Pieces” on https://emmapalova.com/2016/05/13/picking-up-the-pieces/

 I call June the month of the Gemini and the Summer Solstice. I write about both in my posts. Three of my great friends are all Geminis. I don’t know if that is a coincidence or some kind of a card trick that I could use.

In June of 2016, I found a friend that I thought I had lost a long time ago. I found her in such a way that even a kaleidoscope couldn’t put a picture like that together. I am sure I will write about this in 2017.

Right now she is calling me for the fourth time, so I am wrapping up the first half of the year 2016.

Written also in response to the Daily Post Retrospective

Retrospective

The second half of 2016 will continue, stay tuned…..

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Czech Christmas

Czech Christmas at the Palas

Note: This account of Czech Christmas contains excerpts from my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” © about the family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the USA dedicated to my mother Ella.

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – I carefully set my foot on the American soil for the second time on Dec. 22, 1989 at the frozen John F. Kennedy airport in NYC. I had two children by my side: daughter Emma, 10 and son Jake, 2.5.

With a shaking hand, I signed off on the US resident’s green card long before (Transportation Security Agency) TSA came into existence.

The night had already set in on the city with its million lights and bridges.

Before we headed out west like the early settlers, we stayed overnight at my parents friends’ house for some respite from the travel across the Atlantic.

In the meantime, my husband Ludek was waiting for us in Montreal, Quebec. He received immigration visa to Canada, while I received mine to the USA.

After two days on the road in a frosted car on the deserted turnpike, we arrived at our destination: the college town of Big Rapids in Northern Michigan on Christmas Eve.

Mom Ella had already prepared everything ahead of time as we picked up brother Vas in Roger’s Heights for my first Christmas.

Later, in the early years around holiday time, I would drive to the Gerald Ford International Airport in Kentwood and nostalgically dream about hometown Christmas in Czechoslovakia with all its magic under the chestnut trees. That meant treasures bought at the Zlin Christmas market. I brought a piece of that Christmas magic with me to the new country in 1989. This included the hand-crochet yellow doilies for afternoon high tea and tablecloths made by ladies from Slovakia.

Whenever I get homesick, and I still do, I pull these treasures out of their drawers at our Pala homestead in Lowell. I try not to use them so I can preserve them forever. I usually have a story attached to whatever I keep, and my adult children and friends can attest to that.

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I think of that time long ago at the market under the chestnut trees. It must have been that first bronze shopping weekend in Advent when I walked past the booths with silver and golden coated mistletoe all piled up into these pyramids.

I was immediately drawn to a lady dressed in a folk costume called “kroje.” She was always there also on Saturdays throughout the year. I wish I had asked for her name.

“I am looking for a Christmas present for my mother,” I said.

“What does she like?”

That made me think; what does my mother like? Do I know her?

I picked up the yellow hand crochet doilies set and admired the craftsmanship that would become lost art. I looked up at the woman with an old wrinkly face from the sun in the Slovakian highlands.

“How much are they?”

“Your mother is going to love them,” she smiled as she held up the biggest met for the coffee table.

I was a student at the time, and I didn’t have a lot of money.

I remember exactly, they were 220 Czech crowns which was a lot of money for anyone to pay for a fancy fragile cloth.

“I’ll take them,” the lady wrapped them in a brown paper.

At our Southern Slopes apartment, I hid them in a closet. The Sunday after we came home from church, my mom made festive dinner and we sat down for desserts in the living room. We reserved Sunday afternoons for guests. Mom, like most women in the old republic, always baked for the weekends, not just around Christmas.

“You’re such a bake nut,” aunt Anna always laughed at mom because she was jealous.

I noticed the old worn-out coffee table met.

“Mom, I got something for you,” I said.

“Why? What is it?” she asked.

I came back and gave her the Christmas gift wrapped in brown paper three weeks early.

“That’s beautiful, but why?” she pursued. “It’s not Christmas yet.”

“Because I can’t wait for you to have it,” I said smiling. “I would die waiting. Please, please take it.”

That little episode still brings a smile to my face. Mom Ella knew how much I loved that set. When she moved permanently to the USA to join my father Vaclav in 1980, she left the yellow doilies set at home.

“Mom, you forgot your yellow tea crochet set,” I said in a phone call months later.

“I know, I left them for you.”

Merry Christmas 2016 and a sincere thank you to all my followers.

May peace prevail on Earth.

Czech Christmas to be continued……….Excerpts from the “Greenwich Meridian” © 2016-2017

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

White Christmas in Fallasburg pioneer village

Experience an old-fashioned white Christmas at Fallasburg tonight

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Fallasburg, MI- Come and chat with an old friend tonight during the annual vintage Christmas party. The topic will be “Christmases of the Past” at the historical village of Fallasburg.

Create some memories forever. Thank a volunteer from the Fallasburg Historical Society. They make things happen your round at the sleepy hamlet northeast of Lowell.

The FHS mission is to preserve Fallasburg history for future generations.

Visit Fallasburg tonight at 6 p.m. for a memorable white Christmas . Experience a white Christmas of the past inside the old 1867 Fallasburg one-r…

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