An old Polish expression says, Nie chwal dnia przed zachodem slonca (Don’t praise the day before sunset.)
We’re a pessimistic lot, we Poles.
But, we knew as soon as we set our chairs under a green and gold tent in Hofa Park, that Sunday would be sublime.
A fresh breeze rustled the tarp, the new dance floor smelled of sawdust, the polka band sounded like a party and the cool priest never broke a sweat (which is more than I can say for myself after a turn or two around the floor.)
The father among our little party, Vince, who’d been talking about the St. Stanislaus Parish Festival for months, had a great time.
He kicked up his heels with a polka band, wandered through rows and rows of vintage tractors, cheered on an old school baseball game, and enjoyed a giant piece of caramel apple pie.
We saw another father, the holy kind, preside over a Polka Mass, then offer a blessing to the farmers, then bless each tractor with a spray of holy water, then make his way to the dance floor to socialize with parishioners and guests, all while layered in robes and vestments.
“How do you stay cool under all of that?” someone asked Fr. Patrick Gawrylewski, OFM.
“I just don’t think about it,” he said.
In short, our second trip to the tiny but fascinating town of Hofa Park turned out to be just as enjoyable as our first. We can’t wait to go back.