Saturday, April 30, 2011

Davison Gang Reunion

In these ethnic neighborhoods of Detroit/Hamtramck there were not only people of Polish descent but Lithuanian, Ukrainian and other Eastern European countries and groups. The reason I make reference to Detroit/Hamtramck is obvious to people that were from this neighborhood. But, for those of you that are not from the "old neighborhood" is because we all lived no more than an 1/8 of a mile from the north and south dividing line which is/was Carpenter St.

This was a little reunion of friends that hadn't seen each other, in some cases, for as much as 48 years ago! Starting with the man in the far left front of the group with the brown shirt and glasses on we have Ed, Vic, Mike, Joe, John and Frank. John and Joe stood up for Mike's marriage on October 29, 1966.

Frank was the guy that taught Mike and the others "The Day the Music Died" way before the phrase coined by Don McLean in his song "American Pie" had meaning. It refers to February 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash. We were aware of these important cultural happenings in our ethnic neighborhoods because we were busy assimilating but didn't know it at the time.

Ed was the guy that was the daredevil that with Mike on a dare walked around the outside edge of the 2nd story windows at White Elementary School, hung around Joannie's Candy Store sipping lemon and chocolate cokes and listening to six songs on the Juke Box for a quarter or 25₵ and smashing pumpkins on people's porches just for the thrill of being chased. And then wondering all these years later, 50+ years later, if Joannie's Juke Box was still in the storefront that has been vacant for more years than we can remember.

And, there was Vic that had some Greek in him that would filch a lemon from his grandfather's house and he and Mike would go into his grandfather's garage with a salt shaker and eat that delicious lemon with some salt sprinkled on it. The reason being that we did it on the sly was because we were told not to eat raw lemons with salt because they would eat the enamel on our teeth. Those were good old days when we were innocent and had so much to look forward to!

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Good Hearted Polish People from Hamtramck, MI

Walt, Mother Paraska and John good hearted Polish friends from Hamtramck, Michigan. These are the "salt-of-the-earth" immigrant families that have made the U.S. the strong superpower that it has become. As long as we allow these kind of people to thrive we will thrive as a country. God Bless them and the United States of America and Poland the incubator that nurtured these good, strong and patriotic families!

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English Poems Claimed by the Polish Heart

The beauty of the words in a poem that moves the heart of a Polish man or woman is in that instant Polish in nature and gets to the DETROIT'SOUL of every Polish man or woman in Detroit or any Polish community on the globe. That's what this poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley does to my Polish heart in the instant I read it. I hope it moves you so, too:



I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright:
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Hath led me--who knows how?
To thy chamber window, Sweet!

The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream--
The Champak odours fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The Nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart;--
As I must on thine,
Oh, belovèd as thou art!

Oh lift me from the grass!
I die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast;--
Oh! press it to thine own again,
Where it will break at last.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Favorite Polish Poem

Psalm by Wislawa Szymborska

“Psalm” written by Wislawa Szymborska and translated from Polish into English by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh:

Oh, the leaky boundaries of man-made states!
How many clouds float past them with impunity;
how much desert sand shifts from one land to another;
how many mountain pebbles tumble onto foreign soil
in provocative hops!

Need I mention every single bird that flies in the face of frontiers
or alights on the roadblock at the border?
A humble robin – still, its tail resides abroad
while its beak stays home. If that weren’t enough, it won’t stop bobbing!

Among innumerable insects, I’ll single out only the ant
between the border guard’s left and right boots
blithely ignoring the questions “Where from?” and “Where to?”

Oh, to register in detail, at a glance, the chaos
prevailing on every continent!
Isn’t that a privet on the far bank
smuggling its hundred-thousandth leaf across the river?
And who but the octopus, with impudent long arms,
would disrupt the sacred bounds of territorial waters?

And how can we talk of order over-all?
when the very placement of the stars
leaves us doubting just what shines whom?

Not to speak of the fog’s reprehensible drifting!
And dust blowing all over the steppes
as if they hadn’t been partitioned!
And the voices coasting on obliging airwaves,
that conspiratorial squeaking, those indecipherable mutters!

Only what is human can truly be foreign.
The rest is mixed vegetation, subversive moles, and wind.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recipe for Polish Easter Soup...

Polish Easter Soup

Polish Easter soup is made with the ingredients that were included in the traditional blessing of the baskets on Holy Saturday before Easter Sunday. In Polish it is known as święcenie pokarmow. The ingredients included in the blessed basket are:

· Kielbasa (Polish sasuage)

o Fresh Kielbasa

o Smoked Kielbasa

· A small piece of Polish Ham (Krakus is a good Polish brand)

· Colored Hard Boiled Eggs (Often referred to in Polish as Pisanki)

· Butter formed into lambs (baranek wielkanocny)

· Miniature Rye Bread

· Salt & Pepper in small crystal shakers

· Horseradish (Red or White or both)

· Pickled Beets

Ingredients not included in the blessed basket are:

· Cube the Miniature Rye Bread for later inclusion

· 1 – Beef Shank

· White Vinegar

· Prepare the beef broth which is the basis for the Easter Soup

· Add approximately 6 – 8 cups of water to the Beef Shank, salt and pepper to taste. Boil for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours for a nice beef flavor. Remove beef shank when you have the flavor you like

· Chop up Fresh and Smoked Kielbasa into 1 inch pieces and add to beef broth

· Cube the piece of Ham into small squares and add to beef broth Slow boil items in the beef broth 30 – 45 minutes

· Add one small cap full of White Vinegar to soup

· Chop up 4 Hard Boiled Eggs and add to the broth

· Add approximately 2 Tbs. Lamb Butter to broth

· 1 tsp of Red and White Horseradish each to broth

· Chop up 2 medium sized Pickled Beets and add to broth

· Salt & Pepper to taste

· At serving time add some cubed Miniature Rye Bread to each bowl of Easter Soup served

There you have a good and simple recipe for Traditional Polish Easter Soup. I hope you enjoy eating it as much as I have enjoyed sharing this with you. Thanks be to Jesus Christ our Savior and my mother and grandmother for teaching me how to make it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Polish Easter Soup

It's that season of the year in our Polish communities around the country and especially the greater Hamtramck/Detroit Michigan Area for us Poles to have our Easter baskets blessed on Holy Saturday.

Then as our mother's used to do which was to make Easter soup or as some people call it in Polish zurek, some spell it zhurek or in English some call it white borsch. But, my mother would make it for Easter Sunday after Mass we ate a small bowl of Easter soup with rye bread so we could save our appetite for the later Easter dinner. The kids hunted for Easter eggs in the backyard. So, HAPPY EASTER or in our mother language, Polish --

Wesołych Świąt Wielkanocnych!

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