Monday, August 11, 2008

Obžínky

Made the trek to Ohio yesterday for Obžínky. Despite missing the parade after leaving late, and getting rained on, I'm glad I went - though I wish I'd had more time there to catch up with my Uncle Frank (my mom's brother) and my other relatives on my mom's (Czech) side of the family.

I would definitely characterize the day as "bittersweet." It wasn't sad to return to Taborville, so much as it was poignant and a reminder that time waits for no man. Everything was smaller than I remembered it, there were no familiar faces apart from my family's and those captured in fading pictures tacked up on the "DTJ Historical Archives" board in front of the hall.

I did finally get to order a beer on my own at the lower bar in the hall (instead of stealing swigs from my uncle's) and of course I chose a Pilsner Urquell. Could it have been anything but?

Standing in front of my Babi's dilapidated cottage was heart-breaking, but to experience that emotion is only possible because of all the wonderful memories I have from the time I spent there growing up. I miss my father and my grandmother dreadfully, and I can't ignore how old my mom is getting, but my life is made up of a rich tapestry of experiences that I'll always treasure. Loss - and by that I don't just mean death - will always be part of living, and the challenge is to push through the sadness and fight to get back to a state of balance.

Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. -- 2 Corinthians 4:16

Cuba, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Boston, Bellevue Borough, China, Italy and Bethel Park. Just a few compass points on this map that I'm unfurling. I wish I'd done a better job of appreciating some of the stops along the way, but there is no going back, and only hope for the future.

In the meantime, check out my Obžínky photos here.

And to avoid being totally morose, I'll admit that something funny did happen yesterday (though it was painful as hell): a wasp stung me just under my right eye when I was about 30 seconds away from the safety of being inside the Audi after we'd decided to jet. Holy smokes - that hurt, but I'm glad it made PJ laugh...

I'm reprinting a post from 2006 which explains a bit about DTJ Taborville:

Sunday, November 05, 2006
DTJ Taborville

For those of you who don't know what DTJ is, I'd like to take a moment to give you a brief explanation.

The initials DTJ stand for "Delnicke Telocvicne Jednoty" or "Workers' Gymnastic Union". DTJ as an organization is a part of the great Labor Movement as the translation implies. It is an International organization, whose program consists of training the youth of the world to enable it to take part in the great movement for a better and more just organization of human society.

A Little History

The DTJ organization was formed by a group of tailors in Prague, 1897. The group was sympathetic towards the Social Democratic movement of that period. Gym work was started immediately, classes being held wherever room could be found, mostly at the Inns.

The first DTJ group to be formed in America was founded in Cleveland, Ohio by members of the Lassalle Senior Club in 1909. Soon after another group was organized in Chicago, Illinois. An organization affiliated with the DTJ is the American Sokol of New York. Although the D.A.S. has a sick and death benefit provision in its program, there is possibility that it will come in closer contact with the DTJ of the future.

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