VP Trish: Fall Season Fun

When I was younger, I hated fall. I realized that the colors were beautiful, but that is because everything is dying. Now, I appreciate every single day! I have always enjoyed decorating for everything but now, I have my little helper. Look at the fabulous job Ryanna did in our front yard (photos below)! John did okay too with the inflatables.

Fall brings lots of fun – football, school, Halloween, visits to farms for pumpkin picking and hayrides, Thanksgiving, baking, cooler temperatures (just to name a few). More blessings!

It also is time for the Nests to receive forms from the National Office regarding their Nest. This information is very important for our tax-exempt status. This year, the forms will be handled electronically. The Nest President will receive an email and a link for you to submit the forms. Hopefully, this will slim line the process and encourage more Nests to participate.

The dues rosters will be going out (via the US postal service) to all the Nests before Halloween. If the National Office does not collect your dues, hold on to the roster. This will provide standing status for all your Members. If the National Office does collect, keep one roster for the Nest and return the other one with the forms needed so that the billing is done correctly.

Hope you get visits from lots of little ghosts and goblins! We don’t get any visitors, so John and I will be attending the Buffalo Bills football game that day with the folks from Nest 610.


VP Trish: Virtual Golf

The golfers who participated in the virtual golf had a zoom meeting last Friday to gather and see who the winners were. There was a nice group and it was wonderful to see faces!

Courtney did a fabulous job with this event, she handled it all – from registration, to scoring and everything in between and afterward! Thank you Courtney!

First, Courtney showed all the photos submitted. (Click here to view all photos.)

We had decided that Nest 8 (the Paterni family) had the best photo with the way the sun was shining!

Nest 45 won for best dressed as they held a sign with their Nest name and a few were wearing St. Louis shirts.

The top five scores in each division were in a drawing. Courtney then drew the names! (Click here for full results.)

Pat Heineman told us that Nest 45 is prepared and looking forward to seeing all of us there in April for the National Bowling Tournament.

Jim McCall said that Nest 610 is ready for us for the National Golf Tournament next year!

Hopefully, we will be able to gather together (and not just virtually) next year!

Courtney had asked me to give a toast:

Good evening!

As we gather (even though virtually), just like any other Falcon event, we have Members from all over – Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Florida and PA from Erie, to Donora, to Easton and parts in between.

We gather to participate, enjoy the great game of golf and share.

While we would rather be in person, we are still able to see each other, enjoy camaraderie, laugh and create more memories.

Here’s to:

  • Health to the World
  • Honor to those who seek it
  • Happiness in our homes

While the pain of parting is nothing compared to the joy of meeting again!

To goodbyes that they never be spoken, to friendships, may they never be broken!

Obviously, I really miss our events as I got emotional while saying my little toast! Hoping all are keeping safe and staying healthy!


Falcon Lingo

Druh— The term by which Falcons have traditionally addressed one another. Literally it means “friend” or “comrade.” A contemporary definition would be “brother.” The feminine equivalent is “Druhna.”

Czolem— The official Falcons’ salutation, literally translated as “To the forehead” or “Hail!” “Czolem” is one of the oldest forms of Polish salutes and is used as a greeting, a farewell and as an expression of best wishes.

Gniazdo— Literally, a “Nest” and traditionally the name given to the local or neighborhood unit or the National Falcons’ organization. The equivalent name for the “lodge” in the Polish National Alliance is “towarzystwo” or “grupa.”

Sokolnia— The name given for the building owned by the Falcons’ Nest. Historically, the sokolnia housed a gymnastics hall where Falcons conducted their physical education classes and competitions; however, it is not essential that a Falcons’ hall include such facilities. While many have owned their own “sokolnia,” others have simply rented facilities where they conduct meetings and physical education programs.

Wash those hands!

VP Trish: Books I’ve Read

I am always amused by the phrase “Summertime Reading!” I discussed with President Tim and he helped; Summertime reading is light and an easy read. Well honestly, as much as I am an avid reader, I would define myself as a summertime reader. I simply don’t retain what I read, so I surely don’t want to read anything too deep!

I didn’t turn into a reader until I was a bit older. I now love to read and I listen to audio books in my car (Obviously, I am not in my car as much these days!). I have even borrowed audio books for the car when the kids and I were heading up to Geneva. We love to listen to the Polar Express! The person reading the books adds to the fun of the book. I have been amused as well as terrified by the way the book is read to me.

My taste in books has changed in that life is rough and I don’t want to read ugliness. As Marianne (Kenbok, our office manager) says, reading is an escape. So most of the time, I want to have a nice escape! Not always, but usually.

I buy a fair amount of books. Kids love to buy books especially when we are out of town. One of our traditions is to stop on our way to Geneva to buy a book (We stop near Courtney’s house!).

I can no longer read about Jack Reacher written by Lee Child, since the last time I listened, some of the images still bother me.

I used to listen to Patricia Cornwell about Kay Scarpetta, but then she discussed performing an autopsy in too much detail for me. One of the disadvantages of listening is that you can’t skim the pages!

Do not ask me about Stephen King or Dean Koontz, just the mention of their names terrifies me!!!

John Sanford books about Virgil Flowers, thrice-divorced, affable member of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), who reports to Lucas Davenport, are generally a good read. Lots of humor despite the content. I cannot read the Prey series though, too disturbing for me.

The alphabet murders written by Sue Grafton is a series about a private detective, Kinsey Millhone. Again, not too gross. Unfortunately, Sue died before she got to the end of the alphabet. Her last book was Y is for Yesterday. Again, plenty of humor.

Mary Higgins Clark was an author that my Mom really enjoyed. Her mysteries are not too brutal. The one series is with the lottery winners, Alvirah and Willy who also seem to be in the middle of problems and solve the case! Mary Higgins Clark had also teamed up with Alafair Burke with a character that has a television series Under Suspicion who reopens cases for a show and of course, solves the mystery during the filming.

Michael Connelly has several characters, the Harry Bosch Series and his Mickey Haller (who is Bosch’s half-brother) are my favorites. Bosch was a detective, now retired (but still working) and Haller is a lawyer who works out of a fleet of Lincolns.

Robert B. Parker has his Jesse Stone series (Jesse is the Police Chief in Paradise, Ma., and also Spencer who is a detective.

Elin Hilderbrand writes novels usually taking place on Nantucket. There is a series about the Quinn family and a new one with Irene Steele who is just widowed and it seems her husband had another family on an island.

Jane Green writes much about family but I suspect someone in her family has alcohol issues in that is often times the background in her stories.

John Grisham is one of my favorites. I thought he was a bitter, retired, angry, old judge but he is a lawyer being around my age. He was born in the south and his stories are often troubling and fit our day and times. His books mostly revolve around law but there are a few others.

Joanne Fluke writes murder mysteries with the main character being Hannah who owns the Cookie Jar bakery. Hannah and her sisters often solve the mystery, but since she is a baker, there are recipes throughout her books. Ryanna and I just baked her double rainbow swirl cake!

Mary Kay Andrews writes beach-y stories, usually about women and their friends and of course, romance. There’s mystery as well.

I just discovered Barbara Delinsky reading “A Week at the Shore,” mystery, romance, family. There is a fabulous quote in this book, I shared it with the Future Leaders. “Accept what you can’t change, by changing what you can’t accept.”

Liane Moriarty is an Australian author. She has written eight novels, including the New York Times bestseller, Big Little Lies. The twists and turns in her books often have me react out loud!

And of course, if you know me, my very favorite is Dr. Seuss – Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel. He wrote for children but many of his books are wonderful for adults as well. One of his quotes that I really like is “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

When I was in school and had to read a book, quite often I chose a biography. I don’t seem to be reading those these days, although I did listen to Terry Bradshaw read his book. It was quite amusing considering how silly Terry is.

The other autobiography I listened to lately was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” read by him. He is a pretty serious guy!

My sister-in-laws’ mother died at the age of 90 (a few years ago). At the funeral home was a spreadsheet of books she had read. There was the name of the book, the author, her opinion and when she read it. It blew my mind that she did this and I thought it was very cool. She and I had quite similar tastes in books. I was amused also that both she and I have read only one Danielle Steele book, can’t stand them!

Anne Lamott – Rev. Mark (First Presbyterian Church/Monongahela) has referred to her in quite a few sermons. I bought one of her books, “Notes on Hope.” So far, I like it. It is full of hope when dealing with situations that too many of us deal with.

These are just a few of the authors I have experienced. I would appreciate hearing what your tastes are, and possibly being exposed to an author I would enjoy!

Czolem! Peace!

VP Trish: All About the Shoes

Not that this has anything to do with Polish Falcons (except we have lot of Members who happen to love shoes, including former National Secretary/Treasurer John Kuzmirek. John enjoys buying shoes at Kohl’s, especially in Hillsborough, NJ!), but I thought this might be fun, different and a bit interesting. Back in 2003, my last assignment in English Comp 102 prior to my graduation from the Community College of Allegheny County, we had to write a paper and do a PowerPoint presentation on anything we wanted. It took me quite some time, but I settled on shoes! My instructor (who was a woman) loved the paper and presentation. I received an A for each of them. Her comments were, “Great paper! Well researched and presented!” The name of the paper was: “Women and Shoes! Our Obsession! Women are head over heels for shoes!”

Shoes can bring women such joy! This starts at an early age and continues to grow right along with the girl. A few fairy tales center around shoes. Cinderella had glass slippers (which were actually spiked heels) and went from drudge to princess in a matter of moments. It was a transformation most women would love. Dorothy had her ruby slippers to get her back home (originally, the shoes were supposed to be silver, but were changed to red). Shoes have the power to improve our day, boost our mood and bring empowerment. Shoes are a reflection of environment, culture, politics, religious beliefs, and ceremonial customs. Shoes are symbols of sexuality and powerful femininity. Regardless of profession, women feel the need to purchase new shoes every now and then.

Shoes are the great equalizer in the fashion world. Your feet do not change as dramatically as the rest of the body. Shoes are usually a perfect fit! There are quite a few stores dedicated mainly to shoes; everyone has to wear them!

Women feel that the shoes finish the ensemble, and complete the wardrobe! The shoes are as important as the rest of the outfit! Shoes are an exclamation point at the end of the fashion statement! Shoes are difficult to hate. The right shoes flatter even on bad days, can add zip to the most boring outfits and instantly boost your appeal. It can’t be a coincidence that for many women, a quick fix solution to feeling blue is to go shopping for shoes! In fact, some women are downright obsessed with them (imagine that!).

Our footwear tells about us. What you wear speaks volumes about you, but your footwear may make a bigger impression than your clothing. Shoes say much about people. The style of shoe or the brand name may classify social status. Shoes are an important choice of clothing in regard to your identity. Shoes reflect certain characteristics and based on this is how women choose their type of shoe.

  • Women who wear comfortable shoes are more likely to be down to earth and practical, capable and willing to look after others. Looking good isn’t as important as feeling good. These shoes can be a bit boring.
  • Women who wear flat shoes like to look groomed but also care about comfort. These ladies usually have a streak of fun in them. The advantage is that they combine comfort with class; they look good!
  • Platform wearers enjoy practicality and comfort, but find these shoes playful. The height of the shoe may be an advantage.
  • The stiletto! This shoe is worn by the type of woman who willingly risks her feet for glamour! The advantage is you look great, but you best not be in a hurry!

One of the most fun things is the reaction of people to a woman wearing her high-heeled shoes, regardless of where she is. People always notice your feet. If high heels are worn, it’s sure to evoke numerous comments and questions concerning one’s ability to walk or stand in those things! It’s a great conversation piece and usually quite humorous.

Linda O’Keefe claims the invention of the high heel was by Mesopotamian butchers who needed to walk around floors of their shops which were covered with animal carcasses. The stiletto is undoubtedly the most controversial shoe of this century! The shoe also changed interior architecture in that floor coverings had to be able to handle the sharp heel tips.

“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world,” so said Marilyn Monroe. She also said, “All girls owe him a lot,” when referring to the man who invented the high heel, even though she did not know who it was. Roger Vivier, a designer, is often given credit for the invention.

High heels create artifice in a woman. It’s the way you walk. You create a motion, a space, a sinuous. You become a living sculpture. Even if unsuccessful, it is exciting!

The pros of wearing high heels are many. They can make legs look great, enhance femininity, enhance the total look, make you appear taller, and increase confidence. Of course, if you don’t wear them on a regular basis, you can’t walk in them!

A woman’s clothing in general, shoes in particular, can project a strong image especially if she has the skill and the ability to use them to her full potential. There are some women who just adore the style, sound, feel and grace of high heels. Even though taught at an early age, high heeled shoes are not good for you, she still loves them! It is very possible to enjoy wearing these shoes without suffering if one uses common sense!

Your feet are a good indication of your general health. Congestive heart failure may be indicated by swollen ankles; sensitivity to pain and temperature may indicate diabetes; symptoms of circulatory disease are cold feet, and clubbed toenails may signal chronic respiratory disease.

While we know the wearing of high heels (heels over 2 ½ inches are considered high) throws our bodies out of whack, puts undo pressure on the balls of our feet, shortens the calf muscle and the Achilles tendons, possibly sets us up for surgery in the future, high heels are just too much fun to stop wearing!

Hoping all of you enjoyed this fun blog and are practicing social distancing and staying safe! Wash those hands!!!

Peace! Czolem!

Druhna Trish

VP Trish: Gardening

Our yard greeted me with my Magnolia Tree in bloom, my Dogwood and Azaleas bursting, and the spring flowers – Lily of the Valley, Iris, Lilies and Hostas. The Hydrangeas are sprouting leaves, and of course – Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, Pansies, Mums and Hyacinth. The cool thing is that most of my perennials have come from other yards of my family and friends. I think of them each time they bloom.

And now we’re getting into summer! Summertime and the living is easy! This is the perfect time of year to go outside and enjoy the weather. It is also fun (and great exercise!) to garden. It is good for the mind and the soul as well!

Ryanna & Ryan

Our house has lots of outdoor living space so I have more places to surround myself with flowers. The front porch is silly but still nice to have; there are pots of Begonia and Roses along with a plastic goose full of a variety of flowers. It has a huge American flag hanging, as does the side porch.

The side porch is covered; it was a great “playpen” when the kids were little. There are double Begonias hanging. The back patio is now covered thanks to the deck; next to the patio is our garden. This year, we planted vegetables.

Ryanna wanted me to plant all that she needs to make her pasta sauce (ask Ryan, it is the best sauce!). We planted five varieties of tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and squash! The outside perimeter is lined with Marigolds and cayenne pepper (I hear deer don’t like Marigolds and bunnies don’t like cayenne pepper).

Ryanna with the Aloe plant

The deck has pots with basil, oregano, cilantro, parsley and mint as well as a potted Sunflower. There is also an aloe plant that fascinates Ryanna. She is also quite impressed with my Hibiscus plant; the flowers remind one of the tropics! I also just learned that the Rose of Sharon is a type of Hibiscus, I guess the northern version?

Most of our flowers are in the front yard and lining the side of the house. The kids and I planted Begonias, Ageratum, Vinca, Dahlias, Petunias (my Mom’s favorite and they still have a lovely scent), and Sunflower seeds.

The Magnolia Tree in the front yard near the right of the house has a decorative bench surrounded by flowers – Pansies, Vinca, Petunia and Ageratum plus rocks from Geneva. Two swings hang from the tree! One more flower bed to go! Perhaps Impatiens?

Trips to the local nursery, Root 88 Dupree’s, is always fun. The kids enjoy choosing their plants and flowers. Another project for the kids was making bags that fool carpenter bees and other flying insects into believing that it is a wasp nest. Supposedly, the others will respect their space and leave. We shall see!

There is now a birds’ nest under the deck (but clearly visible from the patio). It was so cool the first time the kids saw the babies! We were sitting on the deck playing at the sand table. We noticed mama bird with a worm and sure enough, three little beaks appeared.

Ah, the simple things in life. Even though life is so challenging these days, please try to enjoy! Sunrises, sunsets, the innocence of youth, the moon, fresh air, nature in full bloom. Hopefully, you are enjoying your yard as well. I would love to hear about your favorite plants and flowers!

Peace! Czolem!

VP Trish: Thoughts while on Stay-cation

I am on vacation this week, well actually, stay-cation. I made the decision that it makes more sense to stay home, plant a garden, get more things done around the house, read a bit more and simply enjoy! John just finished our deck; the kids are finished with school Wednesday. There are lots of things for the kids to do here – we just bought a new climbing dome, there are the swings, a sprinkler and the sandbox! Plus, books and crafts galore!

Geneva-on-the-Lake is a small area where social distancing would be challenging. The playgrounds aren’t open yet, and the beach is still a mess (even though they clean it constantly). The lake is really cold, and not all of the restaurants/stores are open; it is in another state.

BUT! I have spent this entire morning crying. My heart is so heavy from what is happening. The civil unrest, the virus, just everything! I generally don’t watch much news because I tend to bury my head in the sand and only deal with what I have to. I have never been one to march for a cause (even when I agreed with the cause). It seems that things happen, people protest, there is much discussion, then before you know it, we are back to where we were!

The scope of the violence frightens me! The current state of affairs saddens me, sickens me and terrifies me! I did see a few encouraging photos and stories recently, but these should not be an exception. It should be the rule to talk and be considerate. I simply do not understand why a gathering should turn into an excuse to be a criminal. Talk about a contradiction!

As I have mentioned previously, my parents were not deeply involved with a fraternal. I joined when I was a kid. My brothers were PFA Members, and I was taking dancing lessons (at the same place my Mom had). One night after class, I told my Mom I didn’t want to come back here anymore. Her reply was “Then, you’re joining Falcons!” Obviously, one of the best decisions ever! My point is that even though they weren’t involved, they were truly kind, generous, thoughtful people. We were taught to be respectful of all, treat others the way they treat us, not to judge, not to gossip, to understand, be kind, be helpful, share, support, be considerate of all, be responsible, not to lie (if we lied, that was worse to my Mom than what we lied about!), to work hard, to appreciate, not to take anything for granted, have compassion, be a productive member of society.

My parents were of course not perfect, but they were good people! Now obviously, one can’t be a doormat for others, but seriously, the nastiness is shocking to me. I think some of it has to do with the stay-at-home orders and people being frustrated, scared, out-of-control, financially unstable and uneasy about the future.

Random acts of kindness go a long way! You can be making a difference simply by being nice! Say hello, nod your head, hold a door, allow someone to enter the street, smile (even though you are wearing a mask – at least, I hope so!), a smile can be seen in the eyes, donate blood, donate to a food bank, send a few dollars to someone you know who needs help, do something NICE! Oh! and if the store requires you to wear a mask, wear it on your face, not your neck!

I heard a gentleman say that God didn’t produce any extras (like they have in the movies!), all of us matter. And all of us can make a difference!

I am going to go outside and work in our garden. My Mom always said that gardening was the best therapy! I wish all of you peace and I pray for a gentler, kinder world! Czolem!

VP Trish: The Importance of Exercise

“Whereas, a sound mind in a sound body is the foundation of the Polish Falcons of America…” This is the beginning of our purpose as stated in our Constitution.

Years ago when I was in college, I had to write a report on whatever I wanted, so I chose the importance of exercise. The title of the report is “Exercise Your Mind.” While the report is dated, most of the information is still accurate today.

Psychologists have said for quite some time that exercise should top the list of things to do to take care of yourself. Research overwhelmingly points out the correlation between the physical and mental benefits of physical activity. Regular exercise improves physical problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, lowers blood pressure, improves metabolism, aids in weight loss, weight management, decreases the risk of various cancers, as well as a laundry list of other ailments; it also has definite mood and cognitive advantages as well. The ability to boost higher-level thinking and combat depression and anxiety is a result of physical activity. Exercise also assists in the maintenance of bone density and improves the immune system.

Patients who had been suffering from depression were randomly selected to participate in an exercise program. These patients had declines in depression equal to those of a group that received antidepressants. It was found that the exercisers were less likely than the medication group to relapse within six months of treatment. The patients who chose not to maintain an exercise program during the follow-up period were 50 percent more likely to become depressed.

James Blumenthal, PhD, says “This is a terribly important finding because in addition to the well-known physical benefits of regular exercise, our results suggest that exercise may be a very effective way of preventing depression in susceptible people.”

Dr. Blumenthal and his colleagues at Duke University have conducted many systematic studies of patients who had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder using the two treatment conditions of exercise and medication. They have compared patients’ response to aerobic exercise only, psychotropic medication only (Zoloft), or a combination of the two. Four months later, patients receiving any of these treatments were considerably less depressed.

Approximately two thirds of the patients were not depressed. Six months after the original study, these patients were contacted by another psychologist, Michael Babyak, PhD, and his colleagues. Their findings revealed that the patients in the exercise group were more likely to be partially or fully recovered than those in either the medication group or the medication and exercise group.

Motivation is difficult especially for those who need exercise. It takes energy, which is something people feel they don’t have. Exercise burns off stress hormones and raises the endorphin levels, which are the happiness hormones, in just a few minutes of mild exercise. This makes people feel better, upbeat and able to see things in a more positive light.

Endorphins are the body’s natural pain medication hormones. When they’re released, endorphins make us feel better by increasing our pleasure, improving our mood and minimizing our pain, both emotionally and physically. Depressed individuals often feel tired, have low energy levels, are irritable, and have problems sleeping. This situation is self-defeating since the depressed person is one who needs to move and simply can’t get moving.

So, how to break this cycle? First of all, an individual must have the desire to become healthy. The empowerment that is felt as a result of exercising physically and mentally is amazing! It awakens the potential for growth and progress. Many observations on people in awful situations were seen. Once these folks worked out on a regular basis, achieving the natural “high,” they were able to look upon their situation and find solutions not thought possible prior. A person participating in a daily regimen of exercise awakens the senses for greater pleasure in life. Long term exercisers reported after working out- an overall sense of well-being, an increase in energy and feelings of alertness and well-restedness. These were greater incentives to stay fit than managing their weight or maintaining their appearance. The main reason folks exercise is to feel good.

Mental and physical health cannot be divided; the mind, body and soul work together. They are but one entity; and will work together more efficiently with exercise. Your mind and body communicate with each other and constantly affect each other. Our health is a rich fabric spun from physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. If one becomes frayed, the entire fabric may be weakened.

  • Exercise is a beneficial antidepressant both immediately and over the long term.
  • Although exercise decreases depression in all age groups, the older the people were, the greater the decrease in depression with exercise.
  • Exercise is an equally effective antidepressant for both males and females.
  • Walking and jogging are the most frequent forms of exercise that have been researched but all modes of exercise examined, anaerobic as well as aerobic were effective in lessening depression. The Greek physician Hippocrates deemed walking to be “man’s best medicine.”

Studies indicate that exercise is so very important in the treatment of various anxieties, issues of self-esteem and addictions. There is not one particular form of exercise. See what works for you! Weightlifting, yoga, walking, running, swimming, whatever!

Exercise itself has a positive impact on your frame of mind; dedicating time to yourself does wonders! Remember when you are on a plane and the oxygen drops, you must put the mask on yourself first. Then, you will be able to help others. Taking care of you is the same thing.

This gorgeous time of year is perfect to go for a walk. Fresh air, flowers, birds, green grass, no need for a heavy coat are just a few reasons to go outside for a walk. In doing so, you will be preventing depression, heart disease, numerous cancers, all the while clearing your brain and becoming more productive.

While this situation we find ourselves in at this time is not ideal, there are advantages. For me, I don’t have my long commute (am sure many of you are in the same boat!). Use that time for you!

If you are not inclined to go for a walk or exercise, give it a 10 minute try. Never has someone exercised and been sorry!

Hoping all are keeping safe and healthy!


Please note: This post was created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

President Kuzma’s Blog

January 9, 2020

Happy New Year!

Isn’t it nice how we all start the New Year off with such a positive attitude? Everyone is still feeling the joy of Christmas and every phone call, email, greeting at the store or on the street begins with that Happy New Year! And rightfully so. It’s a great time to be cheerful and optimistic about our lives, our work and our future. But it will inevitably wear off and we will soon be grousing about the cold, the snow—WINTER. That is everyone except those hunkered down in Florida, Arizona, Texas, or anywhere down south. Regardless of the weather or where we live, maybe we can make that good cheer last a while longer. That’s a simple enough resolution.

Patti and I enjoy the Winter. It starts to get to you when Winter won’t let go in March or April, but for the most part we are fine with it. Nothing takes the edge off a blustery January day more than a hot cup of ________ (tea, chocolate, coffee, or something stronger) and a nice warm fire in the hearth. That’s a problem if we are looking for firewood in May, and not for an outdoor firepit.

January is also special for us because this is our anniversary month. This January 4 marked our 28th year of married life. It’s our annual anniversary tradition to go to the Holiday Flower Show at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. We had some of our wedding pictures taken there and we have gone back every year with only two exceptions. Below is a photo from 1992 and another from this year’s anniversary. One look at me and it’s not hard to know which year each photo was taken. Patti is another story.

For the Polish Falcons, 2019 ended on a deeply sad note as our Legion of Honor Grand Master, Frania Tracz, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on December 10. I attended the Falcon services at the funeral home and the funeral mass the following day at St. Michael’s Church. I was honored to serve as a pall bearer. It is hard to describe the depth of the sadness of the Members of District V. The time of year, the suddenness had about everyone using the same word—Unbelieveable. Druhna Wendi Kowarik, Nest 36 President and a great friend of Frania, delivered a moving eulogy at the funeral that perfectly captured Frania’s life and the memories we all share.

Frania was such a dedicated Member of the Polish Falcons. Her devotion to the ideals and principals was unmatched and unwavering her entire life. Fittingly, her dedication to the organization was rewarded in 2016 when she was elected as the Grand Master of the Legion of Honor. She was the ninth Member to hold this prestigious position and she truly shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman to be elected Grand Master.

Frania was so proud to be the Grand Master. She wasted no time in making changes to improve the awards program. She convened a meeting of the Commandery in 2017 and again in 2019. Her desire was to encourage Nests and Districts to nominate more deserving Members for the Awards they so richly deserve.

For the National Convention this year, Frania was also preparing for the celebration of the 95th Anniversary of the founding of the Legion of Honor in 2020. Just a week before her passing, Frania, Vice President Trish and I had a meeting to discuss the meeting of the Legion of Honor Conclave at the National Convention, and how we were going to mark the Legion of Honor anniversary. Frania was thrilled at the prospect of this celebration. While we still celebrate this momentous occasion this year at the Convention, it will be marked with sadness knowing Frania will not be there to share it with us. But I know that her spirit will be in the room during, just to make sure we do it right. May her soul, and all our departed Falcon Members rest in peace. Czolem!

Just a couple quick items. The National Convention will be here before we know it. We are preparing announcements for the next issue of the magazine and the website. I will keep you informed about what is happening and what you need to know about the Convention.

Also, in addition to the Convention, 2020 is shaping up to be another busy year for Polish Falcons. Druhna Puskar is working hard on the upcoming youth programs. I am also working out the final details of a new and exciting trip to Poland in the Fall.

To help keep Members informed about what is happening in the organization, Communications Director Courtney Caughey-Stambul has started a new weekly news feed that is delivered by email. If you are not on our email list, click here and get registered so you don’t miss any of the things that are happening with the Polish Falcons.