Monday, June 17, 2013

The Czech Republic and Me

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The area of southeast Texas where I live still shows signs of a Catholic Czech-settler influence.  The town a few miles to the west of me has lots of roads with Czech names--Bohemian Hall and Krenek come to mind--and Sacred Heart Catholic Church there hosts a Czech festival every fall at the county fairgrounds.  Native residents have told me about how the school cafeterias around here used to be staffed by Czech ladies, and that they routinely prepared Czech food from scratch for the students, food that was so tasty and satisfying that students remembered it fondly decades later.  I've often thought about how much fun it would be to interview some of those ladies, though I doubt any are still living.

Although I have only lived here nine years and have no direct connections to the old culture, I feel a deep respect for it and would like to learn more about it.  I guess it's like the desire an adopted child has to find out about his biological parents.  Apparently the old country also feels these ties to its Texas children.  I just read on "The Mad Monarchist" blog how the Czech Republic donated money to the town of West after its recent fertilizer plant explosion.  What a beautiful gesture.  Even though it's a different area of Texas than where I live, and I have no Czech ancestry that I am aware of, I feel the love and caring behind it and am grateful.  The fact that it was $200,000 and not 200 million makes it even more meaningful; I suppose because the smaller amount falls within a human scale that I can understand and appreciate.

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