Unexpected Visit of Polish Pilots in APC Club
Davis–Monthan Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located in Tucson. It has provided training to military pilots from allied nations and among them pilots from Poland. Arizona Polish Club had an unexpected visit from a small group of them. The visit was not planned in advance because the pilots had a hard time to contact APC after the Club moved to its new location from the Craycroft quarters that APC occupied for years. Apparently they (the pilots) found help from Lajkonik group leader Joanna Schmit. After a quick communication with APC, Joanna and some members of Lajkonik brought the pilots to the club for an ad hoc organized evening party. And it was really a great party -- spontaneous, friendly and unforgettable.
It has to be mentioned that not all of these men were pilots - the ones who fly the airplanes. Some of them were the engineers, communication, and computer experts so indispensible in the Air Force operations. Recalling that evening, we refer to all of them as ‘pilots’. They were great conversationalists, some even great dancers, and we wished they could stay longer in Tucson. A couple of days later they were on their way to their homes in Krakow, Inowroclaw and other cities of Poland where their loved ones were waiting for them.
It is customary in Polish culture to present host or hosts (as it was in this case) with some modest gift(s) of appreciation for their hospitality. Most often it is something like cut flowers, wine, or chocolates, but also might be some gift that is more memorable and lives longer than the cut flowers. That was the case with the visiting Polish pilots -- they presented our Club with some small gifts -- a few special coins and medallions. We were very grateful for that! Later Lucjan Kolodziejski used his creative mind and his golden hands to make a couple very interesting metal “flowers” incorporating these objects -- a couple of mini memorials! They are “blooming” permanently now on our bookshelves and reminding us about that charming visit.
- by Alicja Mann
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