Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Polka Festival - page two

We had seen advertisement about the polka festival for quite a while. On Sat. morning wife, Tom & Laura, & I drove to Ennis to watch the 10 a.m. parade We had to park 6 blocks from the parade route. Next time we'll go earlier and take lawn chairs. Yes, it was hot.
Most smaller town parades start with a police car followed by the high school band then a few cars with cheerleaders and teeny tiny twirlers with horses bringing up the tail. This parade had all of that and more - to my surprise, it lasted over an hour. It was packed with old cars, cars from the 50s, new cars, floats of various sizes, the Ennis Band played a nice march and played it well, brought a jealous tear to my eye. Towards the end of the parade was a BMW convertible. As it limped by us there was a loud pop followed by steam enveloping the hood. They pushed the car out of the way.

The cop cars came followed by many old guys carrying flags. I don't know what group they were with, but they had on lots of clothes, big tall hats with feathers and plumes, and long flowing capes. If I had to guess with no knowledge, I'd say something like Knights of Columbus in ceremonial clothing. When they came to our corner, one of the old gents went straight down to the pavement. The parade stopped as they helped him to the curb and doused him with water. I'd bet he was 80+ if he were a day. Next came the band. The Ennis band sounded good marching by - you could hear all the parts. About 4 or 5 more groups later (I don't mean to insult anyone here), was a group of Shriners. I have never seen an all Black Shriner group. There was one really old white guy walking with them.

Later in the parade, I'd guess there were 6 to 10 more Shriner groups. There were floats of them, groups with funny horns and little cymbals & drums, clowns, clowns on funny cars, motorcycles....There was one semi truck opened on both sides - with an old guy guitar band inside. There were probably 7 floats of polka bands and a few small rock & roll bands playing off the back of trailers. Fire trucks blaring horns from every town in Ellis County. At the of the parade, horses. It was a fun smaller town parade. A few of the Ennis band members finished the parade - went back to the start and came back through playing in a polka band. I bet that was fun.

We went home after checking out the booths. On Sunday morning, Christine announced she was going up to hear some polka music. Some of us headed north after lunch. All day Sat. & Sun. they have polka bands playing in 3 different halls. Each group plays about 3 hours and is replaced by another. You pay at the door and get one of those wrist bands which let you visit all halls.

We went to the first dance hall we could find, the Knights of Columbus Hall. We picked a long table at the back covered in white paper, outta the way. There was an empty table next to ours. People were dancing and the band was playing. Great Czech food was sold out of the kitchen. It was interesting.

After 30-40 minutes of polka band listening, I got up to get a diet coke. When I returned, I heard this noise calling my attention to the people who had just sat down at the table next to us. I heard ,"Mr. Metze." It was Jo Ann Hurley and Rachel Hurley.

I retired in May, 2004. Rachel was in that graduating class and was my first chair flute. She was quite good. After leaving Manor, Rachel went to U. TX and played piccolo in the Longhorn Band - she eventually became the piccolo section leader her final year at UT.
Rachel and her mom had just come in and sat at the table next to us. Rachel is the 2010 Miss Texas Czech. [that is not the official title - but I fergit] In her reign, she travels about the state going to these festivals. She dances with the polka people and generally represents the state. In August she goes to Nebraska for the National competition.

Rachel was wearing a gorgeous 110 yr old Czech dress from her grandmother. It was a gorgeous outfit and, oh yes, she gets to wear that fab jeweled crown and a colorful sash. I do believe she loves that crown.

What are the chances that I would drive 20 miles on a Sunday afternoon to watch a Polka band in the Ennis Knights of Columbus Hall and bump into Rachel Hurley and the Taco Lady? I forgot to mention, Jo Ann was a very active band parent. She owned a taco type stand all those years. Jo Ann worked hard and long and was the typical stage door mama.

Honestly had a really good visit with both of them. It was fun watching Rachel flitting around and around the dance floor waltzing and polka-ing and chicken-dancing. Part of duties is to dance with any guy who comes around...and she did. At one point she was introduced to the crowd and did that typical beauty queen wave. I really enjoyed seeing both of them. What are the chances?

We had a great weekend - seeing an ex-student at a polka festival dressed in Czech garb, crown, and sash - that was gravy.

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