Tag Archives: Emma Palova author

day 31: poetry in the covid- 19 quarantine

Opening Michigan economy in waves

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – April is poetry month. The featured photo is a poem “Love’s Omnipresence” by Joshua Sylvester printed on an Almond Butter chocolate wrapper.

My hopes are high as we await Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s word on Friday about the possible extension of the stay-at-home order and mainly about the reopening of the Michigan economy.

Coronavirus isolation.

To the dismay of the most vulnerable people in the COVID-19 pandemic, protests have been sweeping the country to reopen the economies.

In the meantime, I moved ahead with the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” formatting on Kindle Create. The manuscript is now available for reviews. Please email Emma at emmapalova@yahoo.com for Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs).

Visit the page for reviewers:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/emmapalova.com/325962

Overall, it’s been a dark, cold and cloudy April in Michigan. We had an occassional frost in the morning. I managed only three walks to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, two walks on the trails, and a total of four zoo room meetings. But the main thing that I really feared is done until the next formatting comes up for the paperback.

I also filed for the Library of Congress cataloging number for the upcoming “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” If you wish to check that out go to:

https://www.loc.gov/

I have just found out that April is poetry month from the Library of Congress website. That’s good to know, since I love poetry, so I used Sylvester’s poem for the featured photo.

Hopefully, the economy will reopen to the satisfaction of everyone; I would be surprised if it did.

Introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir

I wrote this introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir during the unprecedented time of the coronavirus pandemic, as we celebrated the Easter Triduum in front of televised services in empty churches across the nation without audiences. 

More than half a billion people around the globe are under a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. This includes my homeland, the Czech Republic. The coronavirus did not discriminate or recognized borders between the states, the countries or the continents. Time will show if this was a modern apocalypse. 

Our immigration story from former socialist Czechoslovakia to the U.S. has come full circle; from one history milestone to another one. 

The milestone that offset our journey across three continents–Europe, Africa, USA– was the reformist movement known as the Prague Spring 1968 under the leadership of Alexander Dubcek.  

The epic story of love and desire for freedom spans 52 years at the date of publishing of this memoir. The major characters, Ella and Vaclav Konecny, are my parents, to whom I have dedicated this memoir. Mom Ella was a happy pharmacist in former Czechoslovakia, while Dad Vaclav was an unhappy mathematician in the old country. 

Dad’s quest for his career fulfillment has been a constant source of inspiration for me in good and in bad times. Recently, I found out that dad was afraid in the old country of persecution by the communists due to our religious beliefs. He thought that he wouldn’t be able to fully realize his teaching ambitions. 

From the humble hometowns of Vizovice and Stipa in the hilly Moravia, we traveled to exotic places such as Khartoum in Africa, to the ancient Byblos known for its papyrus and the “City of Jasmine” Damascus in Syria with the Roman Temple of Jupiter. 

We were no strangers to dangers connected to travel in the Third World Countries. My parents had a few close calls: the tourist boat on the Nile capsized with all the people on board either drowning or the crocodiles ate them in the murky waters, a week after we were aboard the cruise. 

Then a cable car to the second highest peak in the Alps, Matterhorn, crashed also a few days after my parents were on it. 

An interview with my parents in Venice, Florida in March of 2013 revealed that the hardest trial of all was the separation from the family back in Czechoslovakia. Nothing can bring back the lost time or not being able to say the last good-byes to the loved ones, as we have recently found out during the COVID-19 quarantine. 

My parents both surprised me with an answer to my question about immigration. 

“Would you do it again?” I asked seated in their pretty white dining room with mirrors in Venice. 

The unison answer from both was a definite no. They both added their own written accounts of the immigration experience to the memoir, which I am grateful for. 

I structured the memoir in a way that all three of us tell our stories. I lead off each chapter with the storyteller part, as I remember it. Then follows either my mom’s account titled “In her own words” or dad’s experiences. 

I put emphasis on the phrase, “As we remember it.” 

The accounts may wary in details, but together they bring forth a cohesive picture of immigration through the eyes of both adults and a growing up kid. The immigration experience has left its scars on all four of us, but it has also transformed us. 

We lived through the hardline communism and the rolling capitalism. In addition to that, we are Catholics, so we have had the religious experience that is often tied to different regimes. Religion gave another dimension to our story, since it stood at the roots of our immigration together with the Prague Spring movement. 

The immigration experience touched each one of us in a different way. Here is quote from my mom Ella: 

During my lifetime, I have met a lot of good people that I wouldn’t have met in Czech Republic, because of limited travel. USA has its pluses and minuses–the society is too materialistic. In Czech Republic, we didn’t make a lot of money, but we were all equal. We had basic rights: right to work, right to education and healthcare. USA does not have that. People are afraid of socialism, but they basically don’t know what it is. I lived in socialism and I will continue to live in capitalism; one must try both regimes to know what’s better. 

On the other hand, we most likely wouldn’t have houses, if we had stayed in Czech Republic. The majority of the population lives in apartments, that is if they are lucky waiting it out on long lists. I wouldn’t have realized my author’s dream in the old country. 

The Greenwich Meridian Memoir is by no means a treatise on either of the above- mentioned regimes, then or now.  

We each were free to return back to our homeland at any point in time during the 52 years. And we have. That is our story. Come along on a journey of a lifetime. 

April, 2020 

The latest COVID-19 tally in Michigan on April 22, 2020.

Total cases: 33,966

Total deaths: 2,813

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 30: Earth Day in COVID-19 quarantine

Where is spring?

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – As days flow by, nice reminders like the Earth Day tell us that everything has its place in time and space, even in the quarantine. I often miss this very important day because of other stuff on my calendar. This year all events, like planting trees around the community, have been cancelled. The Wege Wittenbach Nature Center cancelled maple syrup community breakfast among other events.

Not only, did we miss Easter in April of 2020, but spring doesn’t want to come either to Michigan. We’ve been waking up to 30-degree temperatures and frost on the cars. Light snow was flying in the morning. Even the furnace sounded tired of the cold. The birds disappeared from the patio.

Silver linings aka good news

My seeds in the mini professional greenhouses have sprouted including the much -coveted cucumbers for our future sweet and sour dills Znojmo style.

Zoo room

The meeting went well today except for a few glitches when I disappeared from the screen and someone else didn’t appear at all, only with lines like a blind. However, a friend informed us of a close Coronavirus death.

Take-outs

We got take-outs from Mynt Fusion- a delicious red curry dish with three way protein and a gyro from Arby’s.

Kindle Create

I am learning a new formatting tool kindle create for publishing. Once I reach the apex on the learning curve, it should be easier to format both kindle ebooks and paperbacks. Kindle Create converts files to a reflowable eBook, which allows the reader to resize text and is available on all kindle devices and free kindle reading applications. Kindle Create works with several word processing applications.

Stay tuned for more info about the newest in formatting.

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the Coronavirus quarantine.

Copyright (c)2020. EMMA Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

DAy 29: Working in the COVID -19 quarantine

“Hope…is the companion of power and the mother of success, for who so hopes, has within him the gift of miracles.”

– Samuel Smiles

Greenwich Meridian Memoir project update

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI -Following the quote above, I am hoping to launch my new book the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” at the Lakeshore Art Festival in Muskegon on July 3 &4. At this point in time, there are no further details available about reopening the economy in waves in Michigan beyond May 1.

Coronavirus distancing.

I am moving ahead with the formatting of the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir” on the Kindle Create platform by Amazon. I finished the front and the back matters for the book: these include the acknowledgment, dedication and intro to the book and the biography on the back.

I am including the full introduction to the book here:

Introduction to the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir”

I wrote this introduction to the Greenwich Meridian Memoir during the unprecedented time of the coronavirus pandemic, as we celebrated the Easter Triduum in front of televised services in empty churches across the nation without audiences. 

Greenwich Meridian Memoir cover designed by Jeanne Boss.

More than half a billion people around the globe are under a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. This includes my homeland, the Czech Republic. The coronavirus did not discriminate or recognized borders between the states, the countries or the continents. Time will show if this was a modern apocalypse. 

Our immigration story from former socialist Czechoslovakia to the U.S. has come full circle; from one history milestone to another one. 

The milestone that offset our journey across three continents–Europe, Africa, USA– was the reformist movement known as the Prague Spring 1968 under the leadership of Alexander Dubcek.  

The epic story of love and desire for freedom spans 52 years at the date of publishing of this memoir. The major characters, Ella and Vaclav Konecny, are my parents, to whom I have dedicated this memoir. Mom Ella was a happy pharmacist in former Czechoslovakia, while Dad Vaclav was an unhappy mathematician in the old country. 

Dad’s quest for his career fulfillment has been a constant source of inspiration for me in good and in bad times. Recently, I found out that dad was afraid in the old country of persecution by the communists due to our religious beliefs. He thought that he wouldn’t be able to fully realize his teaching ambitions. 

From the humble hometowns of Vizovice and Stipa in the hilly Moravia, we traveled to exotic places such as Khartoum in Africa, to the ancient Byblos known for its papyrus and the “City of Jasmine” Damascus in Syria with the Roman Temple of Jupiter. 

We were no strangers to dangers connected to travel in the Third World Countries. My parents had a few close calls: the tourist boat on the Nile capsized with all the people on board either drowning or the crocodiles ate them in the murky waters, a week after we were aboard the cruise. 

Then a cable car to the second highest peak in the Alps, Matterhorn, crashed also a few days after my parents were on it. 

An interview with my parents in Venice, Florida in March of 2013 revealed that the hardest trial of all was the separation from the family back in Czechoslovakia. Nothing can bring back the lost time or not being able to say the last good-byes to the loved ones, as we have recently found out during the COVID-19 quarantine. 

My parents both surprised me with an answer to my question about immigration. 

“Would you do it again?” I asked seated in their pretty white dining room with mirrors in Venice. 

The unison answer from both was a definite no. They both added their own written accounts of the immigration experience to the memoir, which I am grateful for. 

I structured the memoir in a way that all three of us tell our stories. I lead off each chapter with the storyteller part, as I remember it. Then follows either my mom’s account titled “In her own words” or dad’s experiences. 

I put emphasis on the phrase, “As we remember it.” 

The accounts may wary in details, but together they bring forth a cohesive picture of immigration through the eyes of both adults and a growing up kid. The immigration experience has left its scars on all four of us, but it has also transformed us. 

We lived through the hardline communism and the rolling capitalism. In addition to that, we are Catholics, so we have had the religious experience that is often tied to different regimes. Religion gave another dimension to our story, since it stood at the roots of our immigration together with the Prague Spring movement. 

The immigration experience touched each one of us in a different way. Here is quote from my mom Ella: 

During my lifetime, I have met a lot of good people that I wouldn’t have met in Czech Republic, because of limited travel. USA has its pluses and minuses–the society is too materialistic. In Czech Republic, we didn’t make a lot of money, but we were all equal. We had basic rights: right to work, right to education and healthcare. USA does not have that. People are afraid of socialism, but they basically don’t know what it is. I lived in socialism and I will continue to live in capitalism; one must try both regimes to know what’s better. 

On the other hand, we most likely wouldn’t have houses, if we had stayed in Czech Republic. The majority of the population lives in apartments, that is if they are lucky waiting it out on long lists. I wouldn’t have realized my author’s dream in the old country. 

The Greenwich Meridian Memoir is by no means a treatise on either of the above- mentioned regimes, then or now.  

We each were free to return back to our homeland at any point in time during the 52 years. And we have. That is our story. Come along on a journey of a lifetime. 

April, 2020 

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 28: Friendships in COVID-19 quarantine

Contagion cannot stifle relationships

Contagion: coronavirus

By Emma Palova

Among a multitude of other things COVID-19 has impacted how people meet due to social distancing. Since there are no coffee shops or restaurants open, a meeting alternative is nature. Even some parks are closed in Michigan.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we sat on the shore of Murray Lake with a friend. I will call her Lilian. She is a pretty blonde, who usually dresses up for the smallest of occasions. Lilian arrived all disheveled, wearing her black tights and a skirt with a flashy pink sweater. Her mask has slid down her chin to the neck. She drove 18 miles so we could talk about life’s troubles outside of the contagion realm.

We didn’t hug. She rolled out her sleeping bag on the green grass. I pulled out a folding chair from the trunk, that I didn’t know I had, and set it not quite six feet apart in order to hear her in the wind.

We watched the wind whip the waves on the lake from west to northeast as a blue heron glided above the water, swiftly navigating the wind. The water in the lake had a soothing feeling on the emotions that were riding high. Even though cars and bikes kept flying on the road behind us in spite of the quarantine restrictions, we felt a sense unity in the Coronavirus isolation.

Of course, we could have talked on the phone or texted. However, some things don’t convey well via media, and this was one of them. Just the fact that we could get together helped us both relieve the tension and anxiety of the last few weeks.

“Sorry, that I look like thrash,” I apologized for my Up North orange sweatpants and a black jacket with a ripped zipper. My hair was a mess too, due to the wind and the lack of a proper haicut.

“That’s ok, I had the same clothes on yesterday,” Lilian said looking at me.

“We finally meet under these circumstances,” I said. “It took Coronavirus for us to meet.”

During normal times before the virus, we had ample opportunities to meet in the eclectic cafes or restaurants in the Grand Rapids area. Seldom, we took the advantage of our freedom to meet, until yesterday.

What will the next meeting look like?

Work front in the quarantine

On the work front, I continued with my front and back matters for the upcoming book, the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” I will include the introduction in one of the upcoming daily posts.

Since the COVID-19 quarantine has impacted everything around us including book marketing, I was happy to find out that May is the National Novel Promoting Month brought to us by the goodwill of the NaNoWriMo organizers.

Join us in May.

Michigan may re-open on May 1

Below is a link to a warning from Dr. Fauci about premature opening of the economy.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/493647-fauci-warns-protests-against-against-stay-at-home-orders-will

Check out also the newest post on our partner site “Fallasburg Today” at

Thank you health care heroes and essential workers for keeping us alive and fed.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 26: COVID-19 quarantine insights

What I have learned in the quarantine

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- It’s a sunny Saturday in the quarantine so I write this with a light heart filled with hope.

As I journal through the Michigan Coronavirus quarantine, I have gathered some insights over the last four weeks. I’ve also learned new terms and words to enrich my vocabulary.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE can take on many different shapes and forms.

For me PPE constitutes a box of chocolates,candy bars, a head band flipped into a mask and winter gloves. For my husband Ludek, it’s a box of red Cabernet, a respirator and gloves. And for our son Jake, it is a six pack of Bell’s Two-Hearted, Jelinek’s plum brandy, gloves and a mask. Our daughter Doc Em just alternates the real hospital PPE gear with sweatpants in France.

New normal shopping

Number one: shopping in the quarantine is a mission and a challenge. First, we have to get ready our PPE consisting of masks, gloves, a sanitizer and a list. I don’t think bags are allowed or returnables in the stores. Usually Ludek goes by himself, but this time I was brave enough to join the adventure. I suited up with an orange headband that I slid down my face for a mask; I couldn’t wear the respirator because I couldn’t breathe in it.

Some shelves at Ric’s on Belding Road were completely wiped out. Most shelves had signs with limitations on the number of purchases. The dairy aisle was half empty offering only real butter. The store offered no ads, off course.

“I couldn’t believe there was no fake butter spread like the brand ‘ I can’t believe it’s not butter.”

Meat was expensive and nasty. We’ll see what happens with pork next week in the aftermath of the Smithfield plant Coronavirus disaster in South Dakota.

Just to make sure we have meat, we drove out into the country to Jones Meat Market near Saranac. The family-owned butcher shop offered high quality meat and sausages. Ludek spent another $80 and I restocked the freezer. People were properly social distancing outside the shop, while the strong wind was lifting their bandanas aka masks. I felt like in a bandit movie.

On our way back via Potters Rd., I noticed the signs by the road:

“Pharaoh, let us mow.”

Liberate Michigan

I’ve learned that Gov. Whitmer is now a pharaoh ordering her subjects not to mow, not to golf and not to plant, in the wake of the protest rally in Lansing on Wednesday. But, I’ve also learned she is being considered as Joe Biden’s running mate in the fall presidential election.

How did a medical problem turn political so fast? The political game has started.

Contagion

I’ve learned that the contagion may have accidentally escaped from the U.S. biochemical labs, if it first hadn’t leaked from the Chinese labs or maybe European? Which will it be? The blame game has started.

Parade of Planets

Early in the morning before the day brought in disturbances, I watched the “Parade of Planets” as the morning planets Mars, Saturn and Jupiter perfectly lined up.

The morning planets created the “Parade of Planets.”

Planting in a professional greenhouse box

I used a brand new professional mini greenhouse to plant seeds for our future dills. The store- bought seeds for $2.29 looked exactly like the ones from an overgrown yellow cucumber I had discarded into our manure pile last year.

Bummer, I should have known better. I’ve been growing veggies from seeds for the last two decades.

It was another great day in the quarantine.

Thank you essential workers for keeping us alive. We salute you.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the coronavirus quarantine.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

DAY 25: COVID-19 QUARANTINE LIGHTENED BY INNOVATIONS

Gov Whitmer: “It’s better to be six feet apart than six feet under.”

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- It almost felt like a normal Friday: Work, journaling on Murray Lake and a dinner. Except it was a take-out due to the closing of the restaurants complying with the social distancing golden rule of six feet, as referenced by the governor.

The good news is, that there is a light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel. This morning Gov. Whitmer announced she is hoping to have some relaxing of the coronavirus limitations by May 1 in Michigan.

Coronavirus distance, isolation

As time flies by even in the COVID-19 quarantine, people are getting more innovative.

My husband Ludek came across this new invention during the COVID-19 closing of the restaurants and bars worldwide on Facebook. This comes from the Czech Republic and my friend Eva from Kromeriz told me about it as well.

The Little Beer Booth in Czech Republic- a complete self-serve. Photo by Tomas Babek.

It’s called either a beer booth or a thirsty window. The little beer booth allows you to serve yourself draft beer or soda, in gloves of course. There’s a slot for money and paper cups. It’s a lot like our little libraries in the U.S.

I saw on the news last night that the alcohol sales have skyrocketed by 300 percent during the state lockdowns. That’s not good, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, since alcohol lowers body’s immune system to fight diseases.

Other innovations include buying a gift card from a local hair/nail salons, restaurant or a massage, and Canfield Plumbing & Heating will match it. Just send a pic of the gift certificate to office@canfieldph.com

Canfield COVID-19 matching

We even got a take-out from Vitale’s after the owner showed up on TV reminding us that they were originally designed for take-outs.

Geez, we almost forgot about them.

I knew I was in for a treat today when I read my horoscope this morning.

TAURUS HOROSCOPE

Behind your proper exterior beats the heart of a rebel. People would be very surprised to realize how offbeat you really are. Work is your favorite outlet for creative ideas and colleagues treat them with great respect. That’s because you not only propose new ways of doing things, but you have practical methods of implementing these concepts. As a result, you could get a reputation for being a mover and shaker in your desired field today. Blowing off steam with fellow visionaries may be appealing tonight. Call up some like-minded friends to share your experiences.

And the second cycle of Hope meditations by Deepak & Oprah started up again. Get rid of your anxiety and meditate for free at https://chopracentermeditation.com/

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine in Michigan with an occassional glimpse from Czech Republic.

Thank you essential workers for keeping us alive.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

DAY 23: COVID-19 Quarantine sinks in

A long road ahead

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Like on a transatlantic flight after four hours, the quarantine in its fourth week, is also beginning to sink in. After all just like aboard that jet, you have nowhere to go. You keep putting one foot in front of the other on the long road to full recovery from the COVID-19 global crisis.

Downes Road

By now you have found out that you can sleep in without feeling guilty about it, you can have a full sit-down breakfast rather than grabbing a granola bar and nasty coffee at the gas station, and you are the boss of each new day. You have polished up your cooking skills, that you feel like a chef at a first-class restaurant and you acknowledge your partner at the dinner table. Your relationships either get better or worse in the quarantine.

You can schedule a zoom or a zoo room meeting to get business done in the morning, you can stretch it into the afternoon or not. You call the friends and family on your list. You are finally in charge of your own life.

The government stimulus check has arrived in your checking account at the bank; for once as promised. Instead of blowing the money, I decided to plant my seeds so I have veggies and I can also monitor time by the growth of the seedlings.

Planting seeds to also monitor the passage of time in the COVID-19 quarantine.

You now have time for your own well-being and your friend’s well being. You’re not killing your plants by forgetting to water them, and you can start new plants from seeds. Your dirty laundry pile is getting smaller and your clean clothes are neatly organized in orderly stacks.

All this said, your beard and your hair may be growing longer. You can also find yourself visiting the pantry with goodies more often. But, aha, you can finish reading or writing that long-forgotten book. You can spend more time on the phone with your friends.

That’s what happened to me today. I usually procrastinate before I start writing; anything serves as a good excuse. In front of my eyes I could see the TV commercial where Sam encourages “to call them, not Sam.”

I’ve been meaning to call my lifelong friend Eva from Kromeriz in Czech Republic for the last year. To my credit, I really did lose her phone number and I emailed her before Christmas without hearing back from her.

I quickly messaged her son John who connected us like a true phone operator after many years. I found out about a Czech quarantine invention. The conversation was priceless. More about that in another post.

Now, this all wouldn’t have happened if there was no COVID-19 crisis. I would have just continued to quietly think about my friend Eva without any action to “call her.”

Thanks, Sam, for connecting us.

Stay tuned for day-by-day coverage of the COVID-19 quarantine.

Watch for a story about Hastings woman infected with coronavirus. Her plea is.”

“Stay home, do not be selfish.”

Featured photo: Pixabay, coronavirus isolated.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All right reserved.

Day 21: Easter Monday in the COVID-19 quarantine

Czech and Slovak Easter Monday traditions

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI – Celebrate Easter responsibly with a six foot long whip.

Those were the guidelines for Easter Monday from the Czech officials. Social distancing restrictions have also impacted some beloved Easter customs in Czech Republic known as the whipping of the women called “schmigrust” on Easter Monday.”

“How?” you asked.

“The whips just got longer to satisfy the six-foot social distancing requirement.“

On the night before Easter Monday, the men braided the whips from willow branches. The whip consists of eight, twelve or even 24 withies (willow rods.) They headed out early on Monday morning either individually or as a team. Even before social distancing, the leader of the team carried the biggest whip with the most ribbons. The team members had their personal whips and rattles. The noisy procession went from house to house seeking out the loveliest females, who had the prettiest ribbons. This custom is known as “pomlazka.”

Easter Monday whipping before the COVID-19 quarantine.

According to some accounts, (including my own) the purpose of whipping is for males to exhibit their attraction to females; unvisited females can even feel offended. I wrote about this Easter Monday whipping tradition in my upcoming book the “Greenwich Meridian Memoir.” Watch for excerpts coming up during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The lashing would take place at the doorstep to the famous Easter rhyme:

“Hody, hody, doprovody, give me a colored egg, if you don’t have a colored egg, give me at least a white one, the hen will lay another one.”

Depending on the household, the lady of the house, tied a ribbon to the whip, handed out eggs and poured shots of the famous plum brandy known as sliwowitz.

Festive Easter deviled eggs-casino style

The whipping custom dates back to the pagan times. It was meant to chase away bad spirits, sickness and bring health and youth to everyone for the rest of the year. In our Moravian region, we were told that it symbolized the whipping of Christ.

If the women of the household were popular and the Easter team arrived late, there would be no ribbons or shots left for them.

On the other hand, you could see drunken teams in the afternoon out on the streets.

We have always adhered to this “schmigrust” custom wherever we lived in the world, except for this year due to the Coronavirus quarantine. We still have the personal braided whips from Czech and the giant rattle.

As a renaissance tradition, I made deviled eggs or eggs casino style from the dyed Easter eggs.

You just scoop out the yolks into a bowl, mix it with butter and mustard, you can add chopped up ham.

Below is a video of the Czech prime minister Andrej Babis lashing his wife.

Thank you health care workers.

Stay tuned for day by day coverag of the COVID-19 quarantine.

Tomorrow: Hastings woman infected with Coronavirus struggles to get better.

Copyright (c) 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 20: Easter SUNDAY in the COVID-19 quarantine

Happy Easter

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, it casts the shadow of our burdens behind us.” – Samuel Smiles

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI- Every Sunday is a little Easter and this Easter Sunday wishes kept pouring in from far and near.

We spent Easter alone with Ludek, but not completely. For the fourth Sunday in a row, we watched the televised mass from the empty Saint Andrew’s Cathedral in Grand Rapids. The beautiful mass celebrating the risen Christ lost none of its pomp. The altar was decorated with bold white Easter lilies, mums and orchids. And Alleluia echoed through the empty cathedral.

Easter Sunday rosary walk at the Franciscans

While the sun was still out, I went for my second walk of the season to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist around noon. During the entire 1.8 mile walk on gravel Downes Road, I saw one Amazon Prime van only, but no human beings. However, the birds could not be discouraged or fined for chirping their Easter Sunday songs.

At the St. Mary’s Plaza, I sat on the concrete bench to make note of my observations in my blue walking diary with this title, “Write your Story.”

Then, the phone got the best of me as the Easter wishes kept coming in. Walking by the center, I still noticed the yellow forsythias .

“Happy Easter,” our son Jake wished me. “I made the whips for the Easter Monday whipping. We couldn’t find any willows.”

“Did you color eggs for Easter?” I asked.

Oh, yes, the coloring of Easter eggs is just as big of a deal as braiding of the whips from the willow branches.

“What are you cooking?” I asked.

On a normal Easter Sunday, we would have a leg of lamb, red sauerkraut and dumplings and mom’s famous cake roll. We would fill the dining room by the sunroom with laughter and Easter joy.

“I am grilling ribs tonight,” Jake said.

And yes, mom announced their Easter meal on FaceTime in Big Rapids. My brother Vas was present.

“We had schnitzel from chicken tenderloin,” she said. “I grabbed that at Aldi’s.”

Vas suggested that Ludek should be working in our gardens during the quarantine.

Somewhere in between the above mentioned calls, daughter Doc Em called from Morzine in France.

“Mom, I am in the mountains, but the kids couldn’t come with me because of the lockdown,” she said. “I am fine because I am a doctor, we can go anywhere.”

Doc Em said she’s getting tired of the uncertainty.

“France could be on a lockdown until the end of May and the European Union could seal off the borders until September,” she said.

Speaking about having a different Easter, friend Sheryl from Iowa asked me about our Governor.

“What is going on with your governor? Can’t buy seeds or flags and can’t go to neighbor’s house?” Sheryl asked.

“We can do takeouts, auto service, buy food and medication, but that’s about it,” I responded.

Thank you medical workers, truckers and grocery workers for all your hard work.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the Coronavirus shutdown in Michigan including a special report about Easter Monday traditions in Czech & Slovak republics with excerpts.

Copyright (c) 2020. EMMA Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Day 19: Easter Vigil in the COVID-19 quarantine

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Easter alone, Whites Bridge rediscovered

By Emma Palova

Lowell, MI -Due to the Coronavirus quarantine, we will not have our Easter family gathering with my parents Ella & Vaclav, and our son Jake. I spent the sunny day in my well-lit kitchen working on Easter preparations, even though it will be just Ludek and I.

Whites Bridge replica

I colored eggs in five different dyes with an attempt to draw a bunny on a few of them. The bunny showed up only on the green egg. I marinated lamb chops in herbes de Provence, garlic and red Cabernet from a box. And finally I made my famous red beet elixir to strengthen our immunity and to boost the spirit.

Ludek had no bread, so we drove to the Otisco Bakery to get a loaf of sourdough. In Slavic countries, there is a blessing of the traditional Easter foods , prepared in baskets onEaster Vigil held on Saturday night.

Fresh baked sourdough from the Otisco Bakery

Since we were in Otisco Township, home to the famous Whites Bridge, we took the gravel road to check it out. It was well worth the bumpy drive. There it was standing in its new beauty – the perfect replica of the 1869 Whites Bridge across the Flat River.

An arsonist, who has never been caught, burnt it down on July 7, 2013.

Late in the afternoon, I watched fishermen fishing from kayaks on Murray Lake. I feel blessed living in the country and having somewhere to go without traveling.

I pray for reprieve for people living in big cities during the COVID-19 shutdown. May there be relief for all of us soon.

Stay tuned for day by day coverage of the shutdown.

Copyright (c) 2020. EMMA Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.