Friday, November 22, 2013

David Byler: 8th Generation of Croatian American, New Dalmatia, Nueva España, Texas, and the way Home

Producing music videos related to the priceless treasure of Croatian culture

re-blogged from David Byler: 8th Generation of Croatian American, New Dalmatia, Nueva España, Texas, and the way Home originally published  by Crown Croatia 18 May 2013. 

There was a time in North America when if a child wandered on to a nearby farm, all he needed to know was his own name.  The neighbors knew exactly where he lived and he would soon be home.  As North America became more and more urbanized the child needed to know his address in order to find his way home.

My family was perhaps a little more complicated than some, so my father taught me this little poem which he said his father taught him and that it came down from starci or "the old ones:" 

a na rikanje orahovac 
hikori san
kiši, kavi
a na gle na vi

which might be interpreted in english as:

and on the roaring walnut
hickories dream
rain, coffee
and there you are

or something like that.

I haven't always known exactly where I was all the time, but I have always known where is Home.     

Just how the family came to be scattered around in North America is another complicated story.  Our family's faith orientation was Jevanđelski.  I understand that today back Home this is somewhat different from what we knew, but I don't know that for sure.  Essentially we were and I still am a Catholic who prays that one day the Bishop of Rome will also become Catholic, but anyway he is Roman and we are Croatian and what does any foreigner have to do with us?  The faith we knew and which I still follow insists that the Bible IS the  Word of God and as such it is the final authority in all matters of faith.  

This faith clings to that Word of God which says that "a man is saved by faith and not by works lest any man should boast."  We believe that baptism is the Word of God combined with the water, and we believe that both the body and the blood of Christ are the elements to be served to the people in the Holy Supper.  In the Home we had the Bible in Glagolitic, we had worship in our own language and we were content with that.  It is my understanding that not long afterwards Rome agreed that Croatians should have worship in our own language so perhaps we contributed something to the culture in all that.  The overlords from Hungary or from  Austria at the time were not content with our ways and so it became a matter of health to emigrate. 

As in the story of the Three Bears, there were three brothers, one of whom had been walk-about as far away as Switzerland.  When he returned, the three brothers and about nineteen women of the family boarded the "Carolja Pula" somewhere in Kvarmer Bay.  Upon arrival in Liverpool the ship was re'flagged and renamed "Charming Polly," and continued on its way to "Novi Dalmacija," arriving there on Sunday of the Holy Rosary in 1737.

"Novi Dalmacija" turned out to be Philadelphia in William Penn's colony in North America.  The family was faced with learning the language of the colony which was German.  Whenever modern Americans insist that "America" should be english only speaking, I think about this experience and smile inside.

The colonials and the British troops who ran the place had some difficulties. The gunpowder they had might or might not always work.  The brothers had brought with them from Home their water power technology.  Soon they were in the business of grinding gunpowder with consistent grain which helped give the colonists the upper hand during the French and Indian War and helped give the Americans an upper hand during the American Revolution.

In those days, industrial accidents did not spawn lawsuits so much as they spawned lynchings.  When the powder mill blew up, the surviving part of the family which was involved this enterprise departed.  Along the way was an adventure with a trading post in Tennessee which was flooded out when the river rose.  There was another adventure with road building for the US Government but for which the Government declined to pay them, so most of the family again packed up and left for Spain, which is to say - west of the Mississippi River.  The old powder mill ironwork is in a small historical monument near Stover Missouri. 

The portion of the family which was not part of the powder mill enterprise remained behind and eventually fell in with an Anabaptist religious sect. That branch of the family continued to speak primarily German and today they are mostly convinced they are German.  Many of them have even "Germanized" the surname to "Beiler."  My branch of the family retained the "y" because it worked better with the old way of writing which no one uses any more so our name doesn't even compute with modern croatian but there are a few people in the mountain ridges all around eastern Europe who still spell it like we do in latin letters.   

A family member who made it to Texas had authority from the Spanish administration of Texas to operate a road from Stover, Missouri to Orehovac in Texas.  Orehovac was later renamed "Walnut Springs" and still later "Seguin" after "Juan Seguin" a hero of the resistance to Mexico's unlawful attempt to conquer Texas.  Some of this branch of the family owned land later involved in the Spindletop oil well which Antun Lučić, aka Anthony Lucas, engineered.  That branch of the family still theoretically owns the Trinity River under a Spanish grant of the type which Texas honors to this day.  No one wants to enforce that claim.  Can you imagine how much it would cost to clean that River up to State and Federal standards?

My branch of the family mostly lived quietly in Central Missouri near the north end of the Texas road.  Great grandfather had a smithy where he repaired wagons and farmed.  Grandfather farmed, but my father left home to go to college. They lived in the middle of a German community but Grandmother would not allow anyone to speak on German around her.  She said "If you are going to speak a foreign language, then you need to learn to speak english."

That was my father's side.  Mother's side was a little more straightforward. The Vawter/Vauter/De Valletort/Dolonić (all the same name) family ran a trading venture between Konavle and Cornwall from about the twelfth century.  When the  Saracens burned them out in Cornwall in the sixteenth century, they emigrated to Virginia where they set up the first mechanized sawmill in North America. 

My Father and Mother met in college. Mother was a little ahead of her time. In an era when women did not swim in public, mother helped organize a state wide women's swimming competition which she then won. School teachers were men but mother became a school teacher.  She carried, and used, a pistol on her first teaching assignment.  She was the first "bi-lingual" teacher in Texas, and helped pioneer "special education" here as well.  The whole time she was leading the way she detested so called feminists. 

The two of them had come to Texas to attend the Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth during the depression years. The school let Mother take classes side by side with Father and they both turned out to be fair Greek and Hebrew  scholars. Afterward, they returned to Missouri for a while.

Along their second way to Texas, my father was a professor at Bacone Indian College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where I was born.  Father also served as a pastor to part of the Muskogee nation for a while.  During an era when the government was bent on suppressing "Indian" languages, my father conducted worship and preached in the muskogee language.  

Father had an opportunity to help start up what later became the University of Corpus Christi in Texas.  At the same I had polio. The doctor said I was going to die, so they packed me in ice and came on to Texas.  I lived.

I remember my first day of school.  As soon as the class was settled in our seats, the teacher showed us a card about the color of well watered spring grass.  She asked if anyone knew the name of the color.  I raised my hand because I knew my colors.  She asked if I could spell the name.  "Yes ma'am! Zelena!  Ve ej ere de ej!" Now how many kids do you know who can say the name in croatian and spell it on Spanish without blinking an eye at six years of age? The teacher was not impressed. Immediately, I was on the way to the principal's office.  Fortunately for me, the principal was my father who right away taught me to speak only in english around "people."  Of course then I became a very quiet person until I could sort out which word was in which language.

My parents kept looking for assignments in a town where I might hear some of the language in the community.  We finally found a place where there were forty six languages spoken and there were a handful who spoke so I was able to hear a little.  There were some radio stations also which had brief broadcasts but they were mostly in Czech.  On the school yard we developed our own language - I suppose you would call it teksikanski. A classic example of teksikanski:  "por favor, moviti tvoj karu." In english this would be: "please, move your car."

English prevailed in the classroom, and when we all went off to college we were scattered into an english speaking world, which even I mastered. Eventually I had eight years of schooling above high school and a graduate degree.  Besides hebrew and greek of course, I mostly studied english and ways to effectively use english so when I tell you that english is a Slavic language, don't argue with me, I have the scholarship that gives me the authority to say that if I want.  

I still write the names of nations with upper case letters and the names of their languages with lower case letters because I want you to know the difference between a Croatian person and the croatian language which he might speak.  Learn my way and there will be less confusion, or you can just cringe if you want at the way I do it. 

In between schooling, there was the US Air Force, a career as a salesman for a major Texas forest products company, and a brief stint with a company exporting forest products to Europe.

I met a woman who happily liked the same kind of music I like and who had a few cassette tapes of her own.  In her youth she had sung with a group of Gospel singers in Kentucky and Indiana.  She had always wanted to sing and dance on Broadway but that just had not worked out for her.  After her first husband had died, she had a brief opportunity to sing  "Off-Broadway" -  about seven thousand kilometers "Off-Broadway."  I have a recording of her singing a song my father wrote for my mother in croatian.  It's delightful. Perhaps someday I will quietly slip it onto my YouTube channel.

We were married and had a very good life together.  She was supportive of my return to school to complete my education and she supported my work as well. By this time, by the way, I was again with the Jevanđelski, or Lutheran as they are called here.  I'm with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod who think  the background of their church is Saxon.  Never mind that my Grandmother's  people included the Junakać family who moved from Slavonija to Slovakia about the same time my father's family left.  They moved from modern Slovakia to Saxony where their name changed to "Kaempfer" and were on the boat with the so called "Saxon Immigration" to America which became the roots of the LC-MS. Sigh. You would think people would check little details like that when they write history, wouldn't you?

A classmate from Concordia University in Austin once wrote in an "official" Church newspaper that Bach was a German and Bach wrote the basis of the music of the Lutheran church so to be a good Lutheran one had to adopt German culture. I sent him a link to Crown-Croatia and a link to some information on Primož Trubar. I haven't seen a word in print from him since that time.  I think he is still in shock to discover that one of the top three or four Christian religious movements in the world has its roots in the Balkans in a place he probably didn't know where to find on the map.  He probably also does not know the extent of the collection of Glagolitic material from this period in Croatia which is held by the Library at Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis.  Actually, most Croatians probably don't know how important our little culture has been to the world at large either.  

Cancer found its way to Carole.  She struggled with it for about five years. The more she struggled, the more she wanted to hear the music from Home. With all the medical bills we couldn't afford to buy much so I set out to find the music for her.  First I discovered internet radio from Croatia and then someone suggested I look on YouTube.  There I could build a playlist of the songs Carole especially liked and play them for her.

One person who came around in those times complained that we always had "that stuff" playing.  He told me privately that I did not want to be Croatian because "those people" are always in the Berlin airport and they are dirty and smell bad.  As though I could choose my heritage?  I did not tell him that I know a baggage handler in his beloved airport and that unless my friend got sweaty he didn't get his baggage.  In my family we were always taught that hard work and sweat were honorable and we did a lot of both.  

Carole died during the evening of the Sunday of the Holy Rosary in 2006.  That's also Croatian Independence Day.  Since then, I've spent a lot of time on YouTube. I have developed my own channel, Canovals,  which is now a fairly well recognized venue.  Its not the largest, but the viewership is strengthening steadily and there are viewers from at least 130 countries.  My goal there is primarily to promote Croatian musicians and Croatian culture and to keep this material accessible  to Croatians in the diaspora, of whom I am one.  I also want to attract non-Croatian people to our music.  We have a treasure which needs to be known and appreciated.

One of my goals when I make a video is to somehow illustrate the text of the song.  Perhaps this is my church training where the text is so important. Our poets have written wonderful poetry.  I want people to see the story with their eyes and with their hearts while they hear it.  

Through these efforts, I've been blessed to meet and to work with several of our Croatian entertainers such as Džo Maki and Nenad Bach.  It is a pleasure and an honor to be around such men.  This has been one of the richest times of my life.


David Byler 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Some Follow - Up

and further notes on the topic "How Do Croatians Communicate" 

Not long back Crown Croatia published my little paper on the topic - How do Croatians Communicate?  I brought at least fifty years of experience in communications to the effort.  My first career in Forest Products sales and marketing was a hundred percent communication.  My second career as an ordained Lutheran Pastor was two hundred percent communication.  My third career as a YouTube video producer is at least nine hundred percent communication when you consider that the task is to interpret the performers words and music into images which faithfully reflect his message in a manner which appeals first to the Croatian audience whether at Home in Croatia or in the diaspora and "sells" the musician, the music, the musician's message, and the culture to everybody else on the planet.  

Our task also includes doing all that in a way which hopefully will result in at least a modicum of income for the musician and his backers.   Along the way we have to skate the sometimes paper thin ice covered pond of copyrights and so forth.   That means that if somehow we fail to please just about everybody in the chain of musicians, writers, composers, producers, record companies, "rights management societies", etc., no matter how "good" we think we are, we are dust.   It is sometimes quite an adventure for a group of people who do what we do mostly for the love of all these performers and for the love of our Homeland.  Lots of communication is necessary.

Communication is clearly at the heart of everything that everyone connected to the entertainment industry in any way does.   A few days ago,  reports came in showing that Al Jazeera America, with a staff of nearly nine-hundred and seventy bureaus worldwide were receiving thirteen thousand views per day.   I was ecstatic at that news because on more than one occasion recently my own little operation conducted from a pair of computers in my bedroom with a staff consisting mostly of little old me (with some delightful assistance now and then) and almost no investment,  has out done a comparatively monster operation backed by the government of a small oil rich country.  I'm not even one of the important guys in the Croatian niche.  Take us all together and we are a growing cultural force, for better or for worse, to be reckoned with worldwide.  Wow!!  [~~ pats himself and all his fellow Croatian communicators on the back]

On the 20th November, Linda Draškić Perak , herself a young person, wrote an article for Večerni List entitled "Nakon ovoga pazit ćete što pišete na društvenim mrežama."  The article has a few observations about the way some Croatian young people are communicating.  While it is obviously a commercial placement leading into an article about the guys who turned down FaceBook's offer of billions for their "app," there are things about the article itself which are revealing and important.

There has been recent information suggesting that young people are leaving Facebook perhaps for other more anonymous networks. Data on Croatian young people was a bit amorphous and difficult to analyze but ... what I had suggested was that Croatian young people do not tick quite the same way as the group the American marketeers are abuzz about. First, the number of comments, likes, and shares, shows that a significant number of Croatian young people read this article on Facebook - meaning of course they continue to use Facebook. 

Second, the responses show me a marked unconcern and certainly a lack of fear about "privacy" issues which matches closely information gathered in an Austrian marketing survey from last year. The attitude I see is that social communication is for communications so lets communicate - what's your problem? A major Chinese company with one of the new toys which some people are going to agrees with me concerning Balkan people and concerning even a huge section of "American" youth. I'm smiling really big today because all this seems to confirm a major point in my research - that "Croatians communicate vigorously." 

By the way, our Chinese Wechat friends point out that their app, and the whole genre of similar apps don't necessarily compete with FaceBook and YouTube, etc.  We could always, and some of us did,  communicate  via FaceBook private message all around the world to people whose FaceBook accounts were connected to their cellphones.   This new generation of "apps" adds new dimensions to texting in that they all have some visual and video aspects heretofore lacking.  Rather than choosing one over the other, its more likely we'll choose the mode which suits our purpose at the moment. 

What does this mean to Croatian musicians and other communicators to this group of people? Just what Lisa Irby  has been telling us all along. Do good top of the line stuff and put it out here where people can see it. Don't BS anybody about anything, keep it all clean and first class and keep it out here in front of our people with all the tools at our disposal.  Our kids are bright and our women recognize class, you'll do just fine ... 

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

21. studeni 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

PAHULJE - Safet Ramic

Snowflake ... a voice from Bosnia ...

During the Days of Remembrance at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C., on Thursday 1 May 2008, Mr. Fred Zeidman said:

"This year on these days of remembrance we remember the sound of glass breaking in the night, in that night sound there are others that echo across the ages .... the sounds of mothers weeping, of mobs shouting, of trains rattling on tracks whose destination is death. We remember too the sounds we will never hear the sounds of joy and laughter the sounds of an endless horizon of generations never born to millions who were not allowed to live.  We remember the sound of glass breaking in the night because it was the sound of illusions breaking. Some illusions of broken glass remain unshattered ... This is why we remember not only to honor the victims but to remind ourselves and we always need reminding why illusions are so easy and so dangerous ... why we were so deaf to the sounds of broken glass.  We remember for our world and for all times ... so that in remembering the sound of breaking glass seventy years ago we will open our ears and our hearts to the sounds of Darfur wailing today, to the sounds of survivors testifying and children learning ..."

August 2010 was also the end of a decade of horror for me -  on top of the awfulness of the Homeland War had come the reports of the atrocities in Srebrenica, best friends had died, my mother died, my wife died, my father died, and now my career seemed to be coming to an unplanned and unwelcome early conclusion. 

As I seemed to finally have a few weeks to myself, I hatched up a plan to use some of that time in Houston where I had lived for a number of years.  As I drove toward Houston I purchased tickets to the Alley Theater, and begin trying to find old friends from long ago who were living in the area.  I was disappointed.  It seemed no one whose phone number I could find had time to talk to me.  I must point out that this was a bit before so many of us were hooked up on Facebook together.  The outcome would likely be much different today, but that was a few years back.  Somehow I tracked down Freddie's number and he actually spoke with me. 

In fact, Fred had an assignment for me.  My heart leaped with joy! Those of you who know me personally do know how loathsome aimlessness is to me.  Now my journey to Houston had a purpose!!  President George Bush had appointed Fred Chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council.  Fred wanted me to tour the Holocaust Museum Houston and bring back a report to him of my impressions.  I could do that. 

Now then, before some mean spirited person even thinks something about Fred being a rich Jew blah blah blah, you had best listen to me just a moment. I've known Fred and his family for about sixty years. Fred's family were not rich and powerful. They just worked hard. I remember when the wooden paneling on Fred's mother's station wagon deteriorated and parts of it fell off.  Still she drove that car until it quit. I remember when Fred's mother saw Amalia coming to school barefoot on a cold wet blustery winter day. I remember that somehow very quietly the next day Amalia had shoes.  I may be the only one who knows what Mrs Zeidman did but I know and God knows - and now you know.  Fred was brilliant in school, he worked hard, he was a master of the snare drum, and everything he has today he earned the hard way. Fred was always like his parents, always a friend to everyone, even to me. I am not the only one who will tell you these things either.

To make my tour even more pleasant, there was a particular guide I was supposed to find.  I found her and joined the group she was leading. The tour was awesome.  She asked the right questions along the way.  For example: "Why didn't the Poles living near Auschwitz tell the world what was happening there?"  She wasn't ready for the answer I had for this question - that many of those living nearby, the remnants of the Bjelohravati (White Croatians) in the area had perhaps been the first into the ovens.   They seem to have completely disappeared from southern Poland during World War II.

When we got to the part of the exhibits relating to the Balkans I had some difficulties which I reported to Fred.  First, the map designated the area as "Yugoslavia" which term is not only offensive to me, but historically inaccurate.  Next, the numbers of Jews and Roma, and others reported on the charts as having been exterminated were woefully understated.  

These and other details were part of my oral report to Fred. It had been fifty years since we had seen each other but he gave me nearly three hours of his time that day.  Fred was not in a position to make immediate changes in the displays, but he promised me that as the opportunity arose the displays would become more and more accurate. We shared news about our respective families.  He listened attentively and took notes as I told him about other holocausts more recently in the Balkans. 

Today the exhibits both in Houston and in Washington contain more accurate information about the World War II Holocaust in the Balkans, including some about what happened at Jasenovac.  Sadly, as we Croats face the atrocities committed during the Communist years against us, there is this matter which some of us have yet to fully face.  Our Jewish neighbors were Croatian.  Our Roma neighbors were Croatian.  I have Croatian friends who who are living in Israel because during those times their families had to leave Croatia.  Our Muslim neighbors are Croatian.  We must never allow what happened under the Nazi regime to happen again.  We must never allow what happened to us under the Communist regime to happen again.  Where possible, where they are still living, those responsible must be brought to justice.  

Since our conversation in 2010, I see that the US Holocaust Memorial Council has been responsible for some investigations into the matters in the Balkans.  In some of this, their work has been very helpful and we can be thankful for their efforts.  I personally am thankful to Fred for perhaps quietly pushing some of this along.  It has not hurt our cause that a prestigious institution has been aware of our situation and has give us significant attention.

However, some of the conclusions in some of their reports are less than helpful.  The notion of "shared responsibility" is abhorrent.  It is as ridiculous coming from this source as it would be to lay "equal responsibility" at the feet of the Jews in Europe had they somehow banded together and successfully defended themselves from the German army during World War II.

Before we go off on the deep end now, lets look at what happened to the reporter on the job in this business.  I do not want to excuse him, but look at the facts.  The horrors in the Balkans are so mind boggling and so horrific that one's brain wants to escape even trying to comprehend what happened there.  It's one thing to study and report about matters which happened some seventy years ago and quite another to report matters which in fact are still happening especially in the Serb controlled areas of Bosnia. When your face is literally splattered with the fresh blood of fresh victims one wants simply to conclude his report somehow, even if nonsensically and flee  - to want to be "deaf to the sounds of broken glass."  We have to face what happened because we are the ones who are bleeding.  Others don't have to, but we need everyone to know the truth.
As Mr Zeidman said "We remember the sound of glass breaking in the night because it was the sound of illusions breaking.  Some illusions of broken glass remain unshattered ..."  It is our job to shatter those illusions with the truth.  It is our job  to persistently, consistently, and relentlessly respectfully tell the truth, all the truth, to as many people as we can get to listen.  

In my paper regarding "How do Croatians communicate" I was clear about how our musicians are one of the keystones of Croatian communication. Today we have Safet Ramic with a song "Pahulje," "Snowflake."  There is a magnificent tree in the forest with his branches reaching to the sky like hands reaching to heaven. A snowflake falls, and another and another ... until finally the tree splits with a wrenching and rending sound the limb falls. In much the same way, the pain of loss, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a lover, piles up on the heart like the snowflake on the branch, until finally the heart is broken and shattered.  

Even if you do not understand the language, listen to Saffet's voice, you will hear in his voice the truth, the truth which must be heard, the truth which will shatter illusions ...

Many of the snow covered images in the video are photos from the "Martyr's Cemetery" in Sarajevo.   Let them speak to you as well.  Hear the truth and know the truth.  Let the illusions be shattered in your own heart.

PAHULJE - Safet Ramic 

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

18. studenoga 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

How do Croatians Communicate?

We Croatians seem to "engage" or "interact" vigorously.  

The sun has not opened his eyes completely, nor have I, when I wander off to the kitchen to find some coffee. Je ponedjeljak. Znam, jer the old yellow cat is looking through the glass kitchen door that leads to the back yard. 

Kava for me, cat food for Miss Kitty. How does she know I will feed her? How do I know she wants to be fed? We communicate, that's how we know these things. She is not my cat. I am not her owner. She lives outside. I live inside. Somehow we have a connection. That's how it is. I think she likes the music I play. I know the little dove that hangs around here likes the music because he chirps along with it. In our tiny selo consisting of one cat, one man, and one bird, we communicate.  

 In some small ways, I and all the Croatians in the diaspora are a little like that old yellow cat. We live outside Croatia, and other Croatians live inside Croatia. The Croatian selo is much larger of course than one cat, one man, and one bird. We Croatians seem to be adventurous and we are everywhere. Still, somehow we have a connection among us and we communicate. To alter a common American phrase - "you can take the Croatian out of Croatia, but it is very difficult to remove  Croatia out of a Croatian."

 Nenad Bach and I communicate. I discovered him through Studia Croatica, which has a YouTube channel which I had found and enjoyed. I followed my nose from them back to the Crown Croatia web site and to Darko Zubrinić's "Croatian History" web site on the internet. Mr Bach accepted me as a "friend" on FaceBook, and one day I sent him a private message asking if I could "borrow" his hat. He answered me, and we have been communicating together from that time.

One day Mr Bach asked me to participate in a study concerning Croatian Radio outside Croatia. I jumped at the opportunity and learned a lot. Croatian programs and radio stations have come and gone in the fifty years I've turned the dial looking for them. After that project, I wandered off on my own into a much less formal study of Croatian YouTube channels. When the task became overwhelming I stopped, but not before I discovered that Croatians have accumulated over a billion views since YouTube began in 2005. I discovered that our views overall have been surging mostly in the last couple of years. Some channels showing two million views two years ago are showing nearly twenty million now.

I remember from my youth one night when there was a knock at the front door. Tata jumped up excited and happy. He had had a phone call before we went to sleep. I did not know what it was about, except in those days in our house the phone never rang unless someone had died or there was something of great importance.

At the door in the middle of the night were some men whose ship had docked just a few hours before at Freeport, Texas. After all the "pozdrav"s and "kako si ti"s they showed us their jute bags full of grass cuttings which they had carefully kept moist and alive all the way from Sierra Leone. Tata had been waiting for this - a disease resistant strain of the grass he wanted. They came inside long enough for mother to present each one of them with a proper cup of tea and some kolac.

One of the men also had a little sack for us with newspapers and records in it. Vinyl records I suppose they were, or whatever plastic they used back then. Do you remember those? Plastic disks often with just one song on each side? The men had to hurry back to their ship so we got the records first this time. The next day we planted and watered all the grass. Then Mama and Tata and I listened to music from Home. This is how it was in those times, the seamen brought newspapers and records and gossip in the middle of the night.  We were always happy to see the men from the sea and we were always happy to have an excuse to go visiting and share the treasure they brought us along to the next family.

A week later, after the grass delivery, we took the records and the newspapers over to Baka Horvat. She lived a few miles down the road. You had to cross where the old railroad track to Sugar Valley used to be, cross the creek on a narrow bridge and go through the forest about a kilometer to the high ground to get to her house. Strangers did not bother her there. She was not my real grandmother, but I loved her just the same. She liked to show me her treasure box. In there was her Austro-Hungarian passport and she told me with great pride how it was that she was neither Hungarian nor Austrian, but Croatian. She taught me to read a little from the newspapers that came to her. The news was always at least a month old, sometimes way more than that. Baka taught me to tell the difference between propaganda and news too. She said that what some government tells you, you don't trust never. She had an unforgettable tone of voice when she said "nikada ne!"   Baka Horvat taught me that the trees around her house were named hrastova.  Each fall, we sang together while we made jelly from the wild grapes that grew on them.

The music on the records which came by sea was not the only contact we had with Croatia. There were radio stations in those days which catered primarily to the Czech audience but a couple of the diskjockys were Croatian and the Czechs didn't complain when they put some of our music into their line up. Occasionally we might hear a little news from Croatia from them or at the festivals they arranged.

I often went to sleep listening to mother's voice singing from my parent's bedroom. After I went away to college, to the military, and to work, there was no one to sing me to sleep for many years. Where I was, there were no newspapers, nor music, nor anyone speaking on Croatian, and what I knew of the language faded. When I had a few more than forty years I met Carole, who lived near Orehovac, Texas, which no one outside a few in my family and a few esoteric historian types, has known by that name for almost two hundred years. Her background included Croats who had migrated to Kentucky to work in the mines there. After we were married she would sing me to sleep. She had some cassettes from Home too. We wore them all out and we did not know how to replace them.

Some years later, my wife developed cancer. As the cancer progressed she more and more wanted to hear music from Home. As far as we knew then, we were alone here many hundreds of miles from anyone like us. We found a little music on the internet, but not much. YouTube was still new but we searched anyway and to our delight there was already a lot of Croatian music available. I opened a channel so I could make playlists. The music brought her a lot of sweet comfort. Her last conscious act came just after noontime on Sunday of the Holy Rosary in 2006 when she stood so I could bathe her and she swayed in my arms to "Ne mogu bez tebe."

After she was gone from me, I felt very much alone indeed. My mother was gone too, my father was four hundred miles away and sickly. The nearest other relative was fifteen hundred miles away. I listened to the music on YouTube. After awhile I learned to make comments on videos and saw that people answered back.

Eventually I developed a little community of "friends" and began to make videos myself. Along the way I learned about Google Chat, Google Talk, and I even talked live through Google Video Talk to Croatian friends in Germany and Canada. I connected my FaceBook account to my cellphone and we could text message through FaceBook all around the world. Yeah, this was before "Twitter" too. Never mind the distance, I soon had a fair sized family gathered around me. Since that time we've all tried out Yahoo Messenger and Skype too. Every time something new comes along we try it out to see how well it suits what we want to do. We've even been trying out Google's Hangouts - there might be some potential there. The internet pundits tell us that to be successful we must "engage" our audience. The main reason Croatians are out on the internet is to "engage" the music and "engage" other Croatians so most of us have gotten pretty good at "engaging" our audiences. My little YouTube channel has grown from a handful of views to several million and even that number seems likely to double by the end of 2014.   My email inbox has more than ten thousand fan letters I have to answer sometime when there is time.  We Croatians seem to "engage" or "interact" vigorously.

We may not have always been so effective as now, but we have nearly always found ways to communicate. Croatians emigrated for more reasons than you can shake a stick at. (I know that isn't good english, but that's how you say it.) Among those reasons were religion, politics, employment, adventure, and sometimes because the old women of the selo would not approve a match. Letters back home would reveal one's whereabouts and the world has never been so large as people pretend.  Sometimes the best way to keep one's head is to keep one's lips closed. Davno, the Hapsburg family ruled Austria/Hungary/Croatia. The same family also ruled Spain, i.e. Louisiana, Texas, Missouri, California, Mexico  - all places some Croatians found themselves. The Croatian fishermen in Louisiana and along the Texas coast have gone through Spanish, French, American, Confederate, and again American rule and remain in contact with Croatia partly because of the sea, the wonderful mysterious sea, across which a boat can return to Dalmatia now and then regardless of what government is in Dalmatia at the time.

All this brings us back to conversations with Nenad Bach. A few weeks ago, we were talking about things like this and he posed the question "How do Croatians Communicate?"

"How do Croatians Communicate" is a vital topic for many of us. Croatian musicians, poets, artists, politicians, preachers, and marketing people of all varieties, no less than those from any culture or from any ethnicity, are communicators. Our success depends on persistent and pervasive communication. A song heard only by a few birds in the forest, as pleasant and appreciative an audience as they may seem to be, is somehow unsatisfying to us. Our satisfaction is not derived from the wealth or power that our communication might yield but about our "voice" being heard and perhaps eliciting a response from our audience.

"Wealth," or at least some money, does play a role in communication. An artist, a musician, an engineer, or even a politician, an educator, a farmer or a fisherman, needs to at least have a roof over his head and some food in his belly and some medical care perhaps. We are rejoicing just now at the remarkable success recently of our young Miss Yelich- O'Conner whose music has risen to the top of the charts worldwide. My ears hear her melodies echoing the tones of the Adriatic at Zadar and building into rhythms which reverberate across the world. As I see her at this time, she is reflecting some of the finest of Croatian values into the english speaking world. We all wish her the best, and we will not completely discount financial success as part of the equation.

None-the-less, the music Croatians make has never been all about money for us and never will be. Perhaps Elvis Presley made some money singing "Sedi Mara," which he recorded as "Aloha oe," but some of us get a kick out of just knowing he sang one of our songs. Some of us take great pride in the fact that nearly every where on the face of the earth, from the the islands of the sea, Japan, even in the mountains of Mexico, strains of Croatian music may be heard. The "DNA" of our culture has spread to the ends of the earth. Was this what Jesus meant when he said "The meek shall inherit the earth?" I won't argue that point either way, but, in a way, we have - through our music.

Sixty years ago, as a young man in school in Texas, I was taught that long ago in Europe, the wandering musicians, troubadours, spread news and culture from town to town as they traveled. Then we were taught how that all that changed with innovations of various sorts. What we were taught was correct to a certain extent, except that Croatians still work that way. The technology changed, and we use the technology very well, but we haven't changed. Our musicians, wandering or otherwise, play key roles in cultural transmission and, as we will soon see, musicians have key roles in the transmission of information as much now as they always have since the beginning of history.

Because this presentation may have a mixed audience, meaning Croatians of all kinds and even non Croatians of all kinds, I believe I should tread carefully in the next matter we will discuss. We need perhaps a clear definition before we proceed. I have already mentioned Baka Horvat as an influential person in my own formation. Even more importantly there was majka moja. There was my father's mother, and teachers, professors, and many other revered stare majke in my life. When I use the term "old woman" or "old women," I intend for you to grasp a reverence almost perhaps as awesome as some people revere the Gospa. When I read a poem or listen to a song about "stara majka" I hear not only about the specific woman who bore me onto the earth, but also I hear about Domovina, Home, which I was taught at my mother's knees to revere in the same way.

It is beyond my scope here to discuss all the roles the "old women" play in Croatian society, or even at what age or with what qualifications, a lady becomes a part of that revered "guild." My point may perhaps best be illustrated by a joke that was sent around among the Croatian people on FaceBook not very long ago. There was a photograph of several older women sitting in a courtyard. The inscription read something like "Google? No, just ask the old women, they know everything." It is a good joke because it is the truth. The old women play key roles in transmitting our culture. They teach us who we are and how we are to be. They teach us how we understand what we see and hear. They teach us how to interpret and how to verify the information which comes to us from various sources. Very rarely do they try to control us, but they form us, they inform us, they advise us , and most often a wise person heeds their advice.

Someone will want to hear about the role of the printing press in the formation and transmission of our culture. So, lets talk about that. The first presses printed religious books of various sorts. The Roman Church was busy about that and so were the "Evangelicals" of that time. What do we do in church? We sing. The Choir sings. The priest sings. Croatian music has informed the Croatian church for a thousand years and perhaps it will always be so. We sing.

Later when newspapers and journals began to spring up, those were the efforts of our poets and musicians. Even today, a large part of the "news" in newspapers and similar media is about musicians and the performing artists of all varieties.   

Blogs take a position which has never existed before, somewhere between newspapers and books.  "Crown Croatia," almost predictably, has as its editor a well known musician.  Studia Croatica is on spanish language while "Croatian History" is on english.  There are other blogs which tend more toward current news and sensationalism.  Still others attempt to deal seriously with interpretation of events.  Mishka Gora and Ina Vukic are among the respected women write blogs of this latter variety.

Croatian culture is far too complex to simplify with only a discussion of music and stare majke, but in part because of our music and because of the old women, Croatians tend somewhat to remain Croatian no matter what we do or where in the world we find ourselves. Perhaps because of this we have been more adventurous than some. I understand, for example, there were Dalmatian sailors involved from the outset of the explorations in the "New World." Earlier, we seem to have had Marko "Polo." Our utter confidence in who we are may explain why we have been prone to all sorts of adventures including union with the Hungarian Crown, union with Austria, the several Jugoslavian adventures, the European Union, and so forth. We know that whatever the outcome, we will remain Croatian because that's who we are. The devil take anyone who thinks else.

Have there been Croatians who wandered off and lost contact with the Homeland? The answer is yes. I have a son-in-law who was so very proud of his "Austrian" heritage - except that one day he told me that he knew his ancestor had lived in an "Austrian" seaport. He could not find such a thing on the map. After we had a long talk, he was cheering for the Croatian team during the next World Cup series and he has now been to Split from which his ancestors came to Texas long ago. Others who came here on an "Austrian" passport have simply blended in to the mixture of people around them. No one seems to know what happened to all the Croatians who went to Kentucky to work the mines two hundred years ago.

In America there were social mechanisms which have pressured assimilation. Most Croatians were Roman Catholic but Americans were highly suspicious of Catholics. Our names were difficult for english speakers to spell or pronounce. The majority of "Evangelicals" or "Lutherans" in America assumed all Evangelicals were German and the outnumbered Croatian Evangelicals were generally silent. There was once a lady who emigrated to North Dakota from Bjelovar with her family a hundred fifty years ago. Her sister went to Zagreb. Neither knew how to stay in contact with the other. Their connection was lost. I have a friend who is a descendant of the lady who went to North Dakota. He knew that he wasn't German but he did not know what was his background. He knows now and knowing provides him with a sense of identity he has lacked all his many years.

That sense of identity has sometimes been trouble for Croatian-Americans. No one around us knew where Croatia was anyway, so we didn't say much. Most of the time, being identified as "Austrian" meant very little. Some people would try to pin us into "Jugoslavia" but that was never entirely satisfactory either, so we still didn't say much. After 1990, we began little by little to hold our heads up high.

After the 1990s, at least in the diaspora, there was a quiet, informal, consensus reached that we needed to become better communicators than we had ever been. During the events of the 1990s, it seemed that the news organizations and the politicians in North America were confused most of the time about everything Croatian. Not only did we need to communicate our values and ways to maintain some vestige of our ancestral culture for ourselves, but we needed to communicate to the people around us and to their leaders. The survival of what we hold dear might depend upon our success.

About the time these conclusions were being reached, new tools began to arise and we learned to use them. We learned to make music videos and we learned to chat all around the world with each other. We learned how to draw other people to listen to Croatian music and to begin to appreciate at least some of our culture. Dance groups have been formed and mayors of large cities like Houston with populations as large as Croatia itself have made proclamations honoring us. I see similar events in Argentina and Australia, San Francisco and on and on around the world. We are no longer nearly invisible and silent. We want the whole world to see, hear, and enjoy some of the priceless pearls of Croatian culture and we want the whole world to enjoy knowing us.

Džo Maračić-Maki came to Houston to sing for our annual Croatian Ball. I filmed most of the event and as I was posting the videos to YouTube I noticed that a German corporation was claiming the rights to the music to make money from the advertising. I spoke to Džo Maki about this and he assured me that was not right but there was not much he could do about it. Since this seemed somewhat up to me and my friends who owned the channels where this music resided, a war ensued. It was a quiet war, a war of words, a war of communication, which never made the newspaper headlines. My friends and I began quietly but persistently protesting through the system on YouTube.  The Germans retreated. As CroRec and other Croatian entities have been reclaiming all that music, we have been delighted. Our hope now is they will run advertising on these videos on our channels and make lots of money for whatever Croatian artists are involved. As for the video makers, we do this out of love for for the music, for the musicians, and for the Homeland, and that is quite reward enough. 

Not long after Nenad Bach had raised the question to me about "How do Croatians Communicate," Dolores Lambaša died from her injuries out in Slavonia. That hit hard. We pretty much all loved her vivacious presence. I saw the news on Facebook about nine hours after the fact and, like Baka Horvat taught me, I checked it out. I put a notice on my page, sent a notice out on YouTube, made a memorial video honoring her, and made a few phone calls. Then as I continued to relay the information to others both in and out of the Homeland, I began to observe and to take notes about how the news was spreading. Croatian Television and radio had the news first. Online newspapers and blogs were the next to relay the information which was then taken up by the musicians or by their fan pages on FaceBook. I have observed that many of these "fan" pages are tended by the "old women" about whom we talked earlier. Had I not been busy that day, I would have seen the news on Facebook myself within the hour she died.   There is a natural lag due to technical issues for much information to arrive on YouTube but when the news hit there it was spread very quickly through our community and beyond to people who had never heard of Dolores before. It fascinated me that some people who were in Zagreb at that time heard about this from me all the way in South Texas. Where once communications required weeks or months to travel in one direction, this sad news arrived here and bounced back Home in a matter of hours. Within twenty-four hours, nearly everyone in Croatia knew, primarily through Television and radio and almost simultaneously about five million people outside Croatia knew what had happened through various "social media," primarily through Facebook and YouTube which seem at the moment to be our preferred pathways.  

 Sunday morning, when we lost Vinko Coce, the news spread through very much the same pathways as with the news concerning Dolores. This time however, the news spread through the world wide community even faster than before. I believe it would be fair to say that nearly all of us everywhere knew or had the opportunity to know what happened to him in less than twelve 

 Useful statistics concerning Croatians and our use of the internet tells only the part of the story because the aggregators of the statistics have no way to unravel any information about the Croatian diaspora. Even so, the information available tends to confirm the observations we have just heard. According to, after and Google, the most used internet media in Croatia is Facebook, followed by Youtube.   Various sources agree that there are at least a million six hundred thousand FaceBook users in Croatia.  Croatian YouTube users are actually impossible to accurately count but it requires a lot of users to rack up over a billion views.  The other news media fall variously after these in the charts. Radio and print media have experienced a certain decline and have migrated to the internet and to Facebook to serve their audience. Television still has some importance in the diaspora when it arrives through the internet. "Trust in Media" from the Faculty of Political Science and Media Metar, Zagreb, 2009 discovered that I was not the only one who was influenced by Baka Horvat or someone like her. Croatians tend to check out and verify information received from any source. The most trusted information is information relayed by other individuals personally known to us. 

 Even though we are a small people, our engagement with the internet compares favorably to other nations. Not including the diaspora, at least three million Croatians are on the internet. Data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics Survey on usage of information and communication technologies from 2010 shows less than a third of those over 55 are engaged. My experience with my own YouTube channels suggest that either I have penetrated that entire market or that coupled with the diaspora that particular segment is much larger than the statistics can reveal. While I believe it is the latter, I am not sure what this means in terms of marketing or communication except that my observation regarding this could be worth considering.

I wish to make a small but important aside at this moment. Any sort of social communication such as Facebook lends itself to various proclamations of "political causes." We Croatians have a mechanism that tends to temper those things. I might put a placard on my page, for example, which says "ZA!," and someone else might put one up which says "PROTIV!" but we rarely get angry at each other. We still say to each other for "dobro jutro" every day and we exchange birthday greetings and we talk as friends. In a few days we usually take all those placards down and go on about our business, which for the most part is featuring our Croatian musicians and poets. We do not wish to be swept up by the whirlwind and drive away our audience. People can sort out all those "za"s and "protiv"s for themselves if they want. Its the music that drives us and the music we will have. 

 Politics, politicians, and government all play key roles in Croatian communications. First of all, its important that the people see and hear the politicians and the government communicate. Knowing about our politicians and knowing our politicians helps to draw us together as a family. Perhaps the state can contribute most to the flow of communication by doing what the state has always done well - by keeping the roads open, so to speak. When the highways are open, the communication flows of its own accord like the wind or the sea.  

 As many changes as have occurred in our lifetimes, as much as technology has advanced, Croatians have not fundamentally changed. We adapt the technology to us and to our ways and to our needs. A thousand years ago, the musicians and the "old women" were the conduits or mechanisms of communication to the larger selo. They still are. How do Croatians communicate? - As a natural force like the wind or the air we breathe. A major goal of our communication is to draw our people together and to share the exquisite treasures of our culture with those we encounter in the world.   

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

David Byler, 8th generation Croatian-American

8 studenog 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dolores Lambaša

Dolores Lambaša was thrown from her car in an automobile accident on Wednesday 23 October 2013.  Afterward, she was take to Slavonski-Brod where she died. 
She was born at Sibenik, Croatia 29 March 1981 and she died 23 October 2013.
Globus ranked her #84 in the "Top 100 Sexiest Croatian Female Stars of 2007." She was a contestant in Zvijezde pjevaju 2009 and appeared in a number of episodes in Croatian TV series during her brief career. 
Her involvement with Josip Radeljak seems to have been documented by the paparazzi.  Beyond this, we don't really know much about her life except that she was a beautiful, vibrant performer and well loved. 

Rest in Peace dear Dolores.

In Memoriam:

Dolores: "Režiser režira seriju i film, a ja i Bog, moj život"
Počivaj u miru naš lijepi anđele ♥
Dolores Lambaša (Šibenik, 29. ožujka 1981. - Slavonski Brod, 23. listopada 2013.), bila je hrvatska televizijska, filmska i kazališna glumica.
Plijenila je pažnju gdje god se pojavila, uvijek je bila vise od prijateljice, djevojke, kolegice.
Ostvarila je brojne kazalisne i filmske uloge.

Televizijske uloge:

"Ruža vjetrova" kao Tamara Marin (2012.)
"Najbolje godine" kao Vanja Brezjak (2010.)
"Zakon ljubavi" kao Lucija Nardelli (2008.)
"Zauvijek susjedi" kao Dolores Lambaša (2008.)
"Dobre namjere" kao Željka Ljubas (2007.-2008.)
"Odmori se, zaslužio si" kao Ruža (san) (2006.)

Filmske uloge:

"Tumor" kao Lena Brajković (2010.)
"Vjerujem u anđele" kao Dea (2009.)
"Pravo čudo" kao predsjednikova žena (2007.)

Kazališne uloge:

2006. Federico García Lorca: Dom Bernarde Albe, režija: Božidar Violić, HNK Zagreb

Lambaša je preminula u bolnici Dr. Josip Benčević u Slavonskom Brodu 23. listopada 2013. zbog teških ozljeda nakon prometne nesreće na dionici autoceste A3 kod Sredanaca.
do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

24, Listopad 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013


A few weeks ago when I heard this song again, I was reminded of all the Croatian seamen who go out into the Gulf of Mexico to fish, to shrimp, to dredge for oysters, to work on the oil rigs, and who are on ships carrying cargo back and forth from here to Europe and really to the whole world.
Some of them spend months away from home, others are gone for years.  Some never get to go home.   Some never go on board a ship.   Some stand barefoot in the sand looking out across the sea towards Home with hot tears running softly down their cheeks.   For some, the last voyage Home is the Last Voyage forever.  But we all wish the same things.  We wish freedom and prosperity for the Home and somehow, sometime, we wish for that boat sailing from America towards the beaches of Home. 
I asked Džo Maki if I could dedicate his song on this video to all the Croatian seamen especially in the region of the Gulf of Mexico.  He agreed.   I met Džo Maki last April at the Croatian - American Ball in Houston.  He is a very personable and fine gentleman, very talented and very gracious.  I am honored to count him among my friends.

On 8 July down here we shall have the "Blessing of the Fleet."  Perhaps you will see some of that on video right here.  Perhaps you will see the Croatian flag flying too! 

I wrote my own little "poem" as a dedication to Maki's song -

from Florida to Tampico
 there are hundreds and hundreds
 even thousands
 Croatian seaman go to their boats
 in the hours of the morning
 which other people name as night

some are away from shore for hours
 others are upon the sea for weeks
 some remain upon the shore

everyone dreams that one day
 he will be upon a boat from America
 which will find the coast of his beloved Homeland

for some this happens every year
 for many this never happens
until they are a box of ashes returning

everyone lives as near the shore as possible
 even when we are old
 we look across the sea to the east
 some dampness in our eyes
perhaps someday
someday there will be plovi brod iz Amerike
carry us to the coast of our Homeland

with Džo Maračić-Maki's permission
 the tiny Croatian community in Brownsville Texas
dedicates Maki's wonderful song
and this small video
 to all those Croatian men
 who are each day upon the Gulf of Mexico
 or who stand upon its shores
 and who all dream one dream together ...

There is one woman in our lives
who is above all others
she wears a blue skirt
and a red blouse
she wears a white sash
tied together with a red and white checkered buckle
she is our favorite lady
her name is Hrvatska
we wish to see her again before we die.

I hope you understand about the woman with the blue skirt.  These days, its the only skirt in her wardrobe.  With the help of God, it will always be the only skirt in her wardrobe.   Any other woman who has ever come into my life has had to understand that I would lay down my life for my lady in the blue skirt and red blouse.   She has always been and always will be my true mother, my true sister, and my true love all in one.   That last statement might be incomprehensible to anyone who is not Croatian in their heart, none-the-less, it is true. 

Join me in listening to this song
as we stand in the sand
looking out across the waves
waiting for that boat
which will finally sail from America
to our Home


do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

28  Lipanj 2013


Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Bathing Beauty

"A bathing beauty??" you ask?  "Has the fellow gone wild in his old age?"

Yup.  I've gone wilder than the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland.   Completely over the edge.  Wild.  And into the wilderness.   This won't be the last video which includes water, sunlight and a lady dressed only in her ....

See for yourself ...

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac

27  Lipanj 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mark and Susan

"What God has put together, let no one put asunder."  With those words, two of my favorite friends,  Mark and Susan, began their married life together Sunday 23 June 2013. 

Congratulations to them!  

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
27 Lipanj 2013

Krásná pasačka - The Beautiful Shepherdess

A few minutes ago I am writing "Sada možda ćemo gledati okolo i naći vjenčanje pjesmu pjevati zajedno, zar ne?"  or "now perhaps we look around and find a wedding song to sing together, yes?"Maybe you can tell that I am very displeased and disheartened by how the Supreme Court of the United States ruled this morning.  Maybe you can tell that I am very not happy about how the mob took over the Texas Senate proceedings last night and brought an end to orderly democratic proceedings in this once wonderful Texas.  We Croats, together with the Czechs and Slovaks and Slovenes and the Polish people struggled for five hundred years to help bring about a wonderfully free and delightful civilization in this place only to see it crumbled in one night by these pro-death hoodlums from out of town.   All we have left now is our faith in God, and our music.
Our faith in God.  Our music.  What a treasure.   The scum can take everything away from us and still we have faith and our music.  They cannot take these from us as long as we live.
So we find a sweet love song, perhaps even it is a wedding song, who knows?   I used to hear this song on radio when I was very young.  Its on czech language.  The Beautiful Shepherdess - Krásná pasačka.  Its a song about a peaceful quiet time.  Its a song about youth.  Its a song about love. 
As you listen - imagine yourself in a wooden rocker on a covered porch.  We are looking across the yard, past the fence, down into the pasture just a short distance.  The pasture slopes away from us down to the creek perhaps a hundred yards away.  There just beyond the creek is a grove of vigorous young maples, delightfully green.   A lovely young lady comes into view just beyond the yard fence.   Her geese are ahead of her a few feet, walking, running, playing, eating a snatch of grass, chasing bugs - doing what it is that geese do.  A young man, perhaps near her age, approaches and he says to her " Dej mi hubičku můj andělíčku
         by se slavíček neprobudil"

Ah now!  Here are the words on czech language how the song is sung:
1. [: Krásná pasačka husičky pásla
   v zeleném háji pod javorem :]
   [: Dej mi hubičku můj andělíčku
   by se slavíček neprobudil :]
2. [: Tichá hubička přece slavíčka
   v zeleném háji probudila :]
   [: Vyletěl výše zazpíval tiše
   krásná pasačka zaplakala :]
3. [: Proč ty slavíčku ty malý ptáčku
   proč děláš malé pasačce bol :]
   [: Mějme se rádi, dokud jsme mladí
   dokud nás láska k sobě svádí :]

and here they are again on english language:
Beautiful shepherdess grazing geese
down below is the green maple grove
Give me a kiss my little angel
don't wake up the nightingale
a silent song sang the nightingale
waking in the green groves
singing quietly she flew above
the beautiful shepherdess cried
why nightingale are you a little bird
why is the cowherd small
Let us be happy while we are young
while our love brings us together

and here is the song:

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
26  Lipanj 2013