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The Ely Echo
Ely, Minnesota
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August 24, 2019     The Ely Echo
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Section I THE ECHO/Page 10 SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2019 by Nancy McReady Last fall when my sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Pat Jankowski, informed us that their son David was getting married in Slovenia in July of 2019, I told my husband, Doug, "We're going!" We had already gotten our passports for snowmobile trips to Canada, so there was no reason not to go. I told Doug he could miss a week of fishing. We had never traveled abroad before, but travelling with family would make it easier. We booked our flights early and chose the comfort seats over economy for the long flight from Minneapolis to Paris and then to Ljubljana. Many people would ask if we were excited to go to Slovenia, but it was so many months away Doug and I didn't think about ituntil weeks before driving to Minneapolis. Brian, David's brother, was to be the best man, and his 3 year old daughter Amelia to be one of the flower girls. Brian was busy finishing up dental school in Mesa, Arizona, and he and his wife Caitlin applied for Amelia's passport the end of April. They asked if they should expedite the process but were told they would have it within 6 to 8 weeks, well before their flight to meet us in Minneapolis on July 13. During all of this waiting pe- riod, Brian graduates from dental school and moves his family to the Salt Lake City, UT area and begins working as a dentist. Panic July 1, no passport for Amelia. Brian and Caitlin called and were told it was being processed. No worry. July 8 still no passport for Amelia. I talk with Karen and she is worried. Brian is saying if there is no passport for Amelia, he and Caitlin won't be going to Slovenia. Wednesday, July 10, I get a call from my sister Mary Jo Pouchnik. Amelia still doesn't St. Nicholas Church explained that we needed help getting Amelia's passport and that Brian was about to drive to Colorado. She said, "This is what we do. We can help." I gave her Brian's telephone number. I immediately called Brian, not thinking that he was at work. Thankfully he answered. I told him I had contacted Congress- man Stauber's office and that he would be getting a call from Marilyn. He was to give her all " the information about Amelia's passport. There was little hope in Brian's voice as he said, "OK" Marilyn called Brian and con- nected him with Margaret in the Congressman's office. Margaret for our flight to Paris! Prayers answered thanks to Congressman Pete Stanber, Marilyn and Mar- garet. Amelia had her passport! The flight to Paris was about seven and half hours. I had brought our Ely Echo to read, of course, and we were able to watch a couple good movies. Doug, Brian, Caitlin, Amelia and I were all seated together. Amelia did amazingly well, and enjoyed watching the movie Frozen. I think we all managed to get in a short nap between movies. We had a five hour layover in Paris so we had some lunch and entertained Amelia. It was about midnight, our time, but trying to sleep in the airport wasn't some- thing we were able to do. On one of my walks to the bathroom I have her passport. She said Karen tracked down Amelia's passport. had her told the closest place to It was still in New Orleans with get a new passport for Amelia Tropical Storm Barry coming would be Aurora, Color~do, 0al~.~.~.~ in/~.T~~rian di~l~~~edia cubbies. There Arian w6uld have to dr~e~~d~~0'l!~'~:' ~y~ and I notice a ~, . :~, ~, ,'~:,~:~ ~, . ~lve to Colorado wlt~ltllrt~ :~~m ~on.:!~; :in'one. I szgnaled and Amelia and then back to gressman Stauber that he had to Brian and Caitlin to come on Utah to get one. IsaidI'm calling received my message and text over to the other open cubby for Stauber! and said to contact Marilyn. I let Amelia to get in a nap. They all This was at 4:30pm Wednes- him know I had and the ball was crashed for a while. day July 10. I called a number already rolling to get Amelia's Ljubljana I had for Congressman Stauber passport. After arrival and checking and got voice mail. I called an- Miracles of miracles, with a into our rooms at Hotel InterCon- other number I had, and again got lot of praying that Amelia's pass- tinental in Ljubljana we were all voice mail. Two more numbers port would arrive before Brian, anxious to see the city. Karen, and two more voice mails. Caitlin and Amelia's flight from Pat, Doug and I decided to go to I texted Congressman Stauber Salt Lake City to Minneapolis; it mass at St. Nicholas Cathedral. "Is there any way you can help arrived Friday morning, July 12 This beautiful church was built in with a passport situation for my with twenty-four hours to spare. 1706, and it has gilded columns grandniece? It was in New Orle- Early Saturday morning on and ceiling frescoes. Afterwards ans. My nephew is in Salt Lake July 13, Doug and I drove to we walked the streets. There City. We fly out of Mpls Saturday Minneapolis. We went to mywere many market places and to Slovenia!" brother-in-law Al's house and he street musicians. My phone rang. It was my drove us over to the hotel to pick Coming to Slovenia gave us good friend Marilyn at Con- up Karen and Pat, and then took the opportunity to visit with gressman Stauber's Hermantown us all to the airport. The smiles several relatives we have there. office. She was one of the num- on Brian, Caitlin and Amelia's We invited them to the hotel for bers I got a voice mail earlier. I faces as they met us at our gate lunch but they said it was too hot Caitlin, Amelia and Karen placing locks on a bridge. i i St. Martin Church located on Gornika Way. to eat. Cool drinks were enough as we visited. Cousin Boris had been to Ely over twenty years ago and it was so nice to see him again. He still looked like how I remembered him, but he has had back and leg problems. Majda I had never met, but as young girls we used to write letters to each other. As a girl she went by the name Maj- dica, but the name changes when you become an adult. Majda had my high school graduation pic- ture. I told her I still had all her they were fleeing from their en- emies. When sailing on the Lju- bljana River, they stopped near the near the future site of Ljublja- na, where they battled a ferocious dragon. They vanquished the dragon, and the defeated creature was immortalized as Ljubljana's symbol. We all decided to take a ride on one of the riverboats which was a nice rest from all the walk- ing we had been doing. Beauti- ful scenery along the Ljubljana River. Wedding flower girls Amelia and Maya. letters that I had to bring to my After the ride, Doug and I Grandpa Gornik to read to me as headed back to the hotel to meet they were written in Slovenian. Marjan Pikelj. Marjan was our Majda's brother Tony and his 1972 foreign exchange student at wife Nada make and bottle their Ely, and ever since our twen- own wine, but they don't sell it. tieth class reunion I have been They brought us several bottles exchanging Christmas cards with which we drank while we were in him. Last Christmas I told him Bled. It was very good, although Doug and I would be coming to the slivovitz was a bit strong. Our Slovenian for my nephew's wed- gifts to the relatives was some ding and said it would be nice to Minnesota wild rice, Crapola, get together. We met and had a wooden Minnesota ornaments nice dinner at a nearby restaurant and cookies Karen had made and Marjan reminisced about his in Idaho. Karen and Pat stayed year in Ely. A picture with the on after the wedding and went Ely Echo was a must. to Metlika to visit with these As we walked back to the relative some more, and ended hotel Marjan said he would like up bringing back more wine with to come up to the hotel for their them. good coffee. I said this would Ljubljana is a very clean and be fine as I knew the rest of our green city. Many people ride family would be gathered on the bicycles on the sidewalks and twentieth floor waiting for the streets. There were beautiful old bride and groom, Dana and Da- buildings along the river and vid to arrive. We were all sitting flowers everywhere. The bridge around and talking, and I told over the river had locks on it Marjan that David was my sister which has become a tradition in Karen and Pat Jankowski's son. many places. We of course had He asked surprisingly, "Where is brought locks to place on the Pat?" I said, "Right there." cables. Marjan put his hands to his The dragon statues were face in utter joy. "My friend Pat!" very prominent, We learned that he said. Turns out he had swam Ljubljana's Dragon is a symbol of on the swim team with Pat. Even the Slovenian capital. According though Pat was two years behind to legend, the dragon immortal- us in school, Marjan said he izes the story of Jason and the made him feel very welcome. He Argonauts. This was a movie I also remembered Marvin Jonas remember seeing in my youth, too. This was such a special but never knew the connection to memory of our trip to Slovenia. my Slovenian heritage. All seven of us - Karen, Pat, After Jason and the Argonauts Brian, Caitlin, Amelia, Doug and had captured the Golden Fleece I packed into a van with a driver