Having recently explored Polish cuisine centuries old
, this past Sunday allowed me to actually engage the living at the Polish Heritage Club's
Summer Picnic. Out of all the club's events, it is probably the one that is mostly about socializing and the least about promoting any specific notion of Polish culture. This is not to say that Polish culture wasn't on display, but the picnic is all about getting together with fellow club members to eat, drink, and chat away. It was my first appearance at one of the picnics so I really can't compare/contrast it to previous ones. From what I've been told, however, the turnout was perhaps a couple dozen more than in past years, including more young folk.
And I don't just mean children. I am told that there were more couples roughly my age in attendance as well. For my part, I was happy to meet Szymon Wozniczka, the man behind the Polish Film Festival
which takes place here in Madison each November. You can read more about him and his motivations for the festival here
. Of note are the following remarks:"Wozniczka says that those who are several generations removed from the homeland would find a country very different from this one if they were to go back. 'The ongoing transition from communism makes for very different realities in contemporary Polish society…'
If there was anything that I wish the PHC did differently, it would be that there were more time & energy devoted to examining Poland post-Communism. Poland today is often ignored in favor of a romantic notion of what life was like for Polish immigrants here in years past. This is important for Wozniczka and, to abet his cause, I've volunteered for this year's film fest.
Getting back to the picnic, there were lots of new faces, young & old. I presume these gentlemen, who spent a lot of time chatting in Polish while drinking Żywiec beer
, and smoking cigarettes, have been members for a while. Is this what's to become of me in my old age?
A lot of the new faces were, as I noted above, young couples with children.
I overheard the wives talking in Polish but only one of the husbands. But I also heard some of the kids being spoken to in Polish so it seemed that the language was being kept alive in most of the families.
As Butch (and Don) manned the grills…
…Tekla drank. Oh, and she sold raffle tickets too.
Traditional music was played and folks danced.
As the proceedings began, The Dulcinea arrived with M. in tow. She came bearing this tasty treat:
Here's M. doing his John McEnroe imitation.
And here's my lady. I made her an honorary Pole a couple years ago.
I spent much of my time setting up, making sure things went smoothly, and taking pictures because I am the club's webmaster. But I got a chance to play wiffle ball with M. and boom ball or whatever that was called where you hit a ball around with paddles that essentially have drum heads on them so, when you hit the ball, you get a loud thump. Plus Marie chastised me for drinking too much beer! Ands I spied this creature:
Anyone know what it is?