Saturday, January 24, 2009

Farewell Vrazels Polka Band

It is no secret in East Bell County or all over the world that the Vrazels Polka Band is one of the greatest of all time. The band members live only a few miles from us and we've been entertained by them quite a few times. They have followers that travel to nearly every dance all over the state of Texas and even as far as the Czech Republic. Keith's Dad, Ken and his step-mom Judy are of that group of followers. After 55 years of entertaining the band decided to retire and held a farewell retirement dance at the Mayborn Convention Center in Temple. The dance was scheduled for Saturday, January 24th from 3:00 to 8:00 with the doors opening at 1:00. Ken and Judy stood in line for some time to get in the door early. They are so faithful! Keith and I and the kids decided to get there at about 2:30. When I asked the lady at the ticket booth for two tickets (kids got in free) she told me it was standing room only and asked if I still wanted a ticket. Are you kidding me? Of course we got the tickets and went in and mingled with the other 500 people that could not find a seat. They reported selling 1700 tickets and with half the room taking up the dance floor, it was crowded to say the least. The band played their favorite songs while a thousand people at any given time danced along. I actually got to dance to one of the songs. Thanks again, Daniel, for the dance! During the intermission, there were several groups and organizations that gave awards and tributes to the band. Ken and Judy's group of followers put together a plaque for the band members' wives that thanked them for all that they did and another for the band members. It was a very special moment for them with many teardrops falling.

We were having a great time but got kind of hungry. The concession stand hot dogs and chili did not look very appetizing or sound appealing so we left the dance and went to the Texas Roadhouse just up the road a few miles. Had a wonderful steak dinner while a Christian youth raising money for missions made balloon animals for the kids.

After dinner we went back to the dance just in time for Courtney's favorite "Polka Celebration" as the band continued playing several songs past 8:00. The band was also surprised at the turnout and thought it would be nice to give a few more songs in return. We got to visit with the band briefly and take a few photos after the crowd left. To the left above is Ken and Judy with Bernice and Alfred Vrazel (band leader). On the right is Courtney and Rachel with Tommy Strmiska (drummer). Tommy invited us to the after dance party at Tom Sefcik Hall but we decided to pass on the party and leave that to the hard-core followers. We love you, Vrazels, and will miss you!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Basketball Season

It's the time of year for basketball. Both girls decided to play this year. Rachel played last year for the Academy team because she was the only girl her age from Rogers that signed up at the Ralph Wilson Youth Club. This year, Keith decided to coach her team and recruited enough girls from Rogers to make a team. There is also one girl from Academy playing with them because she was the only one that signed up from Academy (her Dad was the coach last year). Tonnia and Ricky Crow (brother and sister) are coaching Courtney's team. I learned after talking to Ricky one day that he coached Kate Jahns when he was a coach in Rosebud. Small world... These are fun times with the kids. They are building skills and playing with their friends. They are also competing against the other schools in the area that they will compete against all the way through school. They don't keep score at this age, but we really know who the winners are!

Friday, January 2, 2009

D.W.R.C.W.'s Storage Ben

It is amazing what kids can do. When my brother, William, came to the house with loads of the wood flooring for the new house, he brought his two boys William and Wyatt. Dustin had been working on a dog house out of the scraps from building the house and it kind of snowballed into making a dog house and a storage building. It was so cute watching all five of the kids working together hammering and putting together their own masterpiece. When they finished they signed their names on the dog house which they named "Buck's Racecar" and put their initials on the storage building which they called "D.W.R.C.W.'s Storage Ben". They even put hooks and nails inside to hang things on and made a counter in front so they could play store. I think they did a great job, don't you? Now, if I could just get them to do something with that pile of rocks...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Determined to get our new house ready to move into sometime in the year 2009, we hastily continued to set the tile and prepare the concrete for the wood flooring. To our surprise, our friends and neighbors, the Higgins family, came to our rescue. To help us set tile? No, but they did bring a variety of beverages to keep us occupied. The kids did a little excerpt from their Beauty and the Beast play and had fun showing little Patrick around the new house, careful not to let him step on the wet tiles. Not too long after they went back home we had another friend and neighbor pay us a visit and this time she was in for the long haul. Donna had taken her daughter Lauren to a friend's house for the evening and noticed our lights were on and stopped by to visit. We convinced her that the Andel Ranch was the place to be for the New Year's celebration and put her right to work sweeping the floor. As the countdown drew nearer we settled into the lawn chairs and took a much needed break and boy were we thirsty! Dusty had already crashed at his usual 8:30 bed time, but the girls were still going like the Energizer Bunny even past midnight. "Happy New Year" echoed throughout the hollow house as we all cheered for the beginning of another year. Getting up for 8am mass was quite a challenge this morning, but we made it just in time for the bells to ring, as usual.