Part 1. Polish Wedding.
My son, Steve and I left our house at approximately 9:15 a.m. and arrived at the Charlotte N.C. airport at 9:50 a.m. We checked our baggage straight through to Warsaw. Our flight took us to JFK airport in New York City where we would change to a LOT plane.
The flight to New York was okay, 1 1/2 hrs. At JFK we were taken to the International Terminal by Airport Van Transportation Service.
Upon our arrival at the international terminal there was no one to help with carry-on baggage and the walk to the LOT ticket counter was hard. When we arrived at the ticket counter the line was already very long (winding around posts, similar to waiting in line to buy a ticket to a sports game).
Finally got our boarding passes and went to the proper gate (this time with help & wheel chairs) made it with about 1/2 hr. to boarding. Plane was delayed for takeoff due to the weather, rain & lightning; it was a 2 1/2-3 hour delay. Once in the air, there was so much turbulence we felt like we were on a roller coaster (up-down/side to side).
Arrived 3 hrs. late in Warsaw. Michael Marciniak met us at the baggage claim area at 11:45 a.m.
Michal took us to the Holiday Inn Hotel, were Steve, my son, and I rested for the rest of the day.
Breakfast was not included in the price of the room.
Michal drove us to Tarnow to meet with Zenon Znamirowski. On the way there I got car sick even though I was sitting in the front seat. The curving roads felt like another roller coaster.
Arrived at the RANCHO PALOMINO (inn) and met Zenon and then rested and unpacked (our stay was for 5-6 days).
While we were unpacking STANISLAW came to the ranch and invited us to a POLISH WEDDING. He brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to welcome us to Poland. STANISLAW is my 5th cousin on my grandfather’s mother’s side. My grandfather’s name was JOZEF ZUGAJ and his mother was MARIANNA SOBON.
Went with Stanislaw to the Wedding Mass and then to the reception.
We witnessed a custom after the mass, which I found quite interesting and silly at the time: When the bride and groom leave the church there are children and adults called gatekeepers. A rope is strewn across the road and in order to pass the couple must give a donation, either money or vodka (vodka is the main alcohol). There were at least 15 gatekeepers and at one point the volunteer fire department put their truck in the way. Needless to say the lead car gave them three bottles of vodka.
Stanislaw is not the person I pictured. I expected a quiet, reserved individual. On the contrary he was full of fun and information and very easy to get along with. He helped Steve up & down the stairs at the wedding reception, on the cobblestone walks (and there are a lot of them). The trip was an enjoyable one with an exception, which was the smell at the Rancho Palomino. If you live on a ranch or in the country and are used to the smell of hay and horses, then I guess it is okay. The beds were very hard and uncomfortable.
Now, the wedding reception was a blast. The food, what can I say? It was FANTASTIC, DELICIOUS and very filling. The meal started off with the traditional soup made with angel hair noodles, chicken broth, carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. The entrée’ consisted of boiled potatoes with parsley, fried veal cutlet, beef of some sort, (what they call a sausage Americans call a hot dog), three small bowls with sides of cole slaw, puréed pickled beets and cucumbers with sour cream. Dessert was Wedding Cake. After that came hot beef and sausage soup (regular sausage), platters of ham, beef, chicken, rye bread, butter, and a plate of fried chicken. Bottles of drinks, Pepsi, orange, apple juice and beer were on the tables. Pitchers of apple juice and orange juice, beer and the vodka came later.
The wedding planner was a very vocal person, joyful, fun. There was a part of the reception when the bride and groom and wedding planner went from table to table and sang a little ditty about particular persons. And then they came to us.
It seems the bride (rather groom) is a 5th cousin to us on the Sobon side of the family. The wedding couple was informed by Stanislaw of our relationship to them and why we were in Poland so ‘our’ song reflected that.
In Poland the wedding rings are worn on the ring finger of the right hand. Very simple, very plain gold bands, unless you are one of the elite and can afford fancy rings.
More Polish wedding