Tex-Mex-Czech and the American Way

Stamford, Texas ~ Red Dirt #igtexas #texas #rugged #western #summer #hot #heat #desert #scrub #mesquite #landscape #red #barren #lonely #nature #dry

Family reunions bring a lot of people who look vaguely like each other together for a few hours… to eat, to play games, to drink coffee, lemonade and sweet “reunion” tea, to look at photos, to pose for pictures, and in our case this year – to feed a 20 day old bunny exotic game formula, go swimming, and hunt for fossils in the red Texas dirt.

It was 105 degrees outside in the shade. If I wasn’t crazy before, I’m pretty sure I am now. I was the last one to stop digging before it got dark Saturday. My white truck still looks like it’s been to Mars and back (along with having all-out war with the entire grasshopper species and “grilling” finch – feathers and all).

But hey: I hit the fossil motherload. A box full of fossilized leaves is well worth braving that 105 degree Texas heat. Finding these is an annual tradition for our little clan. We have quite the Ultisol petrified collection. { Didn’t know you were going to get a geology lesson, did you? }

Stamford dirt, #fossil hunting. Looks like Mars with mesquite trees. Feels like an oven. #nofilter #igtexas

I’ve been going to my husband’s mom’s reunions since 1993. Twenty years is long enough to feel comfortable, but people still look at me and wonder who in the world I’m related to. I finally just started writing “Betty’s daughter-in-law” on my name tags. At least two of my kids don’t get mistaken for strangers. My fourteen year old daughter and the baby are visibly related to their father. Genetics are a fun science to witness; like a “box of chocolates”, if I might get all “Forrest Gump” on you.

Personalized pots for Aunt Lillie, who couldn't come.

Here Morgan is signing pots for Aunt Lillie, who couldn’t make it out West this year. And just last week Mo was asking me where she got her big (beautiful) lips…

Aunt Ettie  so pretty. Missed her today.

Looks like Aunt Ettie and her great grandpa Joe both had lips like hers.

Czech American Boys

That mug. That fantastic Czech shnoz and those dreamy blue eyes. My husband got them from his grandpa Joe. Joe was the first born (pictured here on the right, as if I had to tell you)… the one who would stay and help his father run the family business, even though getting out of small-town Texas was on most youngsters’ minds as they came of age.

There’s a lot to be said for honor and duty that doesn’t get said enough by parents these days… seems it is becoming more and more rare, the farther we get from our grandparent’s generation.

Be still my fangirl heart. #truelove #forallyoulove

Kevin was an only child. Here he is at 21.

People used to say he looked like William Baldwin, minus the curls and chili-bowl. I just thought he looked like mine.

Family Reunion Decor - a family of Czechs who made a new life and assimilated. That's the true American way. ❤

I loved that grandma Betty, a full Czech, dressed the community center up with red, white, and blue American decorations… that she always hosts Fourth of July parties at her house every year. I’ve never seen such a patriotic group. The men in the family embraced serving in the U.S. military and took active roles in their communities, wherever they ended up.

These Moravian-Czech cowboys and settlers came here from across a vast blue ocean, leaving everything they knew behind for the sake of freedom. They assimilated and made a new life in this dry, dusty Texas wilderness. They stayed despite the struggle.

Poppyseed Kolache

And they brought us kolache! Praise Jesus!

I know you want to put an ‘s’ on that word, but kolache is actually plural for kolach. And they don’t have meat in them; only fruit, creams or poppyseed (oh, how I love the poppyseed ones). I could flunk a drug test today for sure. I ate three of them Saturday.

The meat and cheese “kolaches” that everyone buys are actually a klobasnek. { But who can say that, right?! }

I like them with jalapeños; and my kraut with a little habanero (Thank you, uncle Joe!). I guess that makes me a Tex-Mex-Czech. Funny thing is, my HALF-Czech husband doesn’t like poppyseed, klobasnek, or sour kraut. He got his taste buds from his dad’s side, apparently. He has no idea what he’s missing; which makes him a great person to sit by at reunions (so I can clean his plate after I’m done with mine).

Maybe the Polish-Russian side of me is stronger than I thought? I’m pretty sure it isn’t the 1/128th Creek Indian leading me to love Slavic food.

My current view... 3 boys and a wii.

It was hard at the hotel, keeping three boys and a Wii-addicted teen girl busy. So thankful the TV had a hook up, and the hotel room was cool.

Not much to do out there in small-town Texasville.

The tiny restaurant we ate dinner at had NEVER been checked in at on FourSquare. I had to put them on the social map. “Cowpokes Country Store” is now ready for a virtual Mayor if you happen to stop in and eat at Stamford for some reason. The chicken Caesar salad was surprisingly good.

Future preachers.

My boys had a grand time playing on the podium and pretending to be preachers. They held the hymnals and told everyone about the virtues of gummy bears.

{ Looks like I need to step up the Sunday School lessons. }

Texas Hills #igtexas

We enjoyed a few detours and scenic “long-cuts” on the way up and back. I love to find a Texas road I haven’t ever been down. Gets harder to do the older I get. Road trips are one of my favorite things to spend weekends on. Too bad gas prices are so high, or I wouldn’t feel like my wings were clipped quite as often.

I savor stopping in new towns, eating lunch, and talking to locals. Something about seeing all the trucks, boots, and cowboy hats makes my Texas heart swell.

I needed to fax some documents for our refinance on the house which couldn’t wait for Monday, so we stopped in at the country store and got a few die-cast metal tractor toys for the boys (to tear apart — still looking for those tiny plastic wheels). The nice people there directed us to the city paper of Goldthwaite ~ The Eagle ~ which also had a small office supply stash they called a “store”. We enjoyed talking to the editor and office manager there. They were related (fancy that, being in a town where you work with your mom and know everyone’s name). Such nice people. Country folk remind me of the good-old-days… the pre-9/11 America.

There are so many benefits to living in a small town and going a snail’s pace. It feels like coming home – like days gone by when my grandma used to take me with her to the Piggly Wiggly before it closed down; of days when my cousins and I would stay up late catching fireflies, skipping rocks at the cow tank, and jumping on the trampoline. My heart breaks for the farmers and ranchers in America who are losing their land in this economy; small towns bypassed and vanishing.

{ I can’t watch “Cars” without breaking out the tissues when Sally talks about Radiator Springs’ heyday. }

Maybe one day we’ll bust out of the suburbs and start our own little farm or country restaurant and gift shop. Until then, I guess those raised beds in the back yard will have to suffice. If I can win the battle against the stink bugs this summer, that is…

Goldthwaite, Texas #igtexas

Somewhere north of Abilene I talked my husband in to letting me stop to get this photo below. It was one of those photos that was worth more than a thousand words, and certainly hundreds of thousands of miles…

Carpocolypse #cars #junk #scrap #metal

My SUV is probably shaking in it’s shocks after a sight like that. I bet she’ll try to keep herself in shape even though she’s pushing 195K. I’m blessed to have so much mileage (and to have weathered the long road so well) with the same car, the same man – these great kids… and to be part of his resilient Czech family.

Here’s to sticking with it and not giving up! That’s the American Way. That’s the Christian Way.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?

Run in such a way that you may obtain it. ~ I Cor. 9:24

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. ~ Heb. 12:1

{ Happy Early 4th of July! }

In Him,


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Disclaimer: There is an Amazon link in this post. Click it! Buy it! Especially if you are a Czech-flavored Texan. I’ve linked a book entitled “Free Again” by Donald D. Naiser (about a “Moravian Family” who migrates to America to find “Freedom, Faith, and Adventure Fighting Slavery on Three Continents During America’s Civil War Years”). Aunt Gladys brought them for our reunion silent auction and I bought my copy this weekend.