It’s always good to see the Polish community get together to celebrate our heritage and honor our ancestors who brought their culture, work ethic and faith to Texas. Polski Noc, hosted by Bryan residents Dr. Jim and Kathy Mazurkiewicz also honored a Polish American from Wisconsin, an American army veteran returning from a tour of duty in Iraq. The things that defined our ancestors lives were well represented at this party and it’s interesting to compare this event with the lifestyle of the early Polish settlers:
Fellowship – Family and Friends
Without the multitude of entertainment opportunities that we take for granted today, our ancestors looked forward to opportunities to get away from their daily life and meet with extended family and friends. This same camaraderie was very evident as the large crowd of guests at this party mingled and talked about what was going on in their lives.
Food and Drink
Polski Noc guests brought a variety of homemade Polish dishes for everyone to enjoy, just as our ancestors frequently did at their family gatherings, weddings and parties. Kielbasa, pierogi, czarnina, kapusniak, rosol, bigos, golabki and a number of other old time Polish foods were in abundance. Typical of the Polish people, there was more food then could possibly be eaten. Lots of good piwo was available and there were several wodka toasts throughout the evening.
In the old days, music was played at all weddings and family gatherings, and many of the musicians taught their offspring to play. The Polski Noc party was host to a total of 13 musicians, including three accomplished Polish musicians playing with their sons. It was great watching these proud fathers with their sons at their sides playing along with them. The music was provided by Bradley Jaye Williams, Rob Jewett, Brian Marshall (Marszalek) and his sons Michal and Jakub, Jimmy Mazurkiewicz and his son James, Bernie Kroll and his son Jeremy, Sonny Janczak, Ronnie Dutka, Joshua Behrens and Michael Addicks.
Our Polish ancestors embraced their new country and many of their children served in the armed forces, both in peace time and in the major wars. Over a million people in the armed forces during World War II could claim their heritage as Polish-American and many of these were from Texas. Twelve of the Ripkowski brothers from New Waverly served in the United States armed forces and the family stills hold the record for the most brothers to serve. Polski Noc honored Bernie Kroll, a Polish-American from Sobieski, WI who just recently returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Jimmy Mazurkiewicz has to be commended for continuing to put a lot of his time and effort into seeing that the heritage of his Polish forefathers is preserved.
Below are a few photos of the fun and there is a slideshow of many more photos on page 3.