Labor Day Happenings

We started off the day on Sunday, August 31st, by attending opening ceremonies at the 59th Annual Hungarian Scout Festival at German Central Park on York Road in Parma. We always like to watch the opening ceremonies because we love watching the scouts march in and are impressed by the fact that the entire short ceremony is entirely in Hungarian.
Afterwards, we spoke to Ms. Andrea Meszaros, District Commander, who told us that one point that she wanted people to know about was that this is the 75th anniversary of Pax Ting which, according to Wikipedia, was “the first Girl Guide and Girl Scout World Camp held after the formation of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. It was held in Godollo, Hungary from July 25 to August 7, 1939 and attended by some 5,800 Girl Guides from around the world.”

Other people we spoke to today were our friend Mr. Mike Horvath, Secretary of the American Hungarian Friends of Scouting and Mr. Geza Balassy who years ago assisted a husband and wife who immigrated to the United States from Romania and the law firm that they worked with was Margaret W. Wong and Associates.

To be sure, there would be food, music and all sorts of fun activities throughout the day. In fact, this year they were going to try something different and have the Hungarian Scout Ensemble and scout troops perform every half hour instead of leaving all of the music until 6pm when there is usually a big folk dance.

Let it be said that this annual event is Ohio’s largest Hungarian Festival!

We left the Hungarian Scouting event and headed over to St. Colman’s for the Parish Picnic and to talk to Father Bob Bob Begin whose last day this was before he retired. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to either of the morning masses but our friends who were there told us that that it was quite moving because Father Bob really talked about a lot of things he had done throughout his career.

We spoke to him for a few minutes and he confirmed that his plan was to travel to Lyons, France and intensely study French for a month and then return to Cleveland to volunteer at the Migration Refugee Services office of Catholic Charities. He really wants to assist those who have immigrated to the United States from the African countries where French is a primary language.

We walked around a while and asked several people how they felt about Father Bob and his retirement:

***Ms. Margot De La Rosa said that her feelings were “bittersweet…I’m so sad but so happy for him starting a new chapter of his life. I know that he’s going to be wonderful.”

*** Mr. Murray Evans, Margot’s husband, simply said that Father Bob “would be in our hearts forever.”

***Ms. Patty Fowler said that “you open one door and close another but part of your life goes wife you and Father Bob will always have St. Colman’s.”

***Ms. Patricia Bussert, a 17 year member of St. Colman’s, said about Father Bob that “he does miracles. He is always there for people. His door is always open. When people are feeling lost, they can find the beauty of the love that Father Bob has for everyone.”

***Mr. David Stack, who has been involved with St. Colman’s in one way or another for most of his life since he attended grade school there, said that “Father Bob was a strong personality and a strong leader for our parish. Father Caroli who will be taking over for him will be good as well. He will get all of our support.”

We feel that that is the way that it should be.

We spent most of Labor Day weekend tabling for Margaret W. Wong and Associates at the 50th Annual St. Elias Church Labor Day Middle Eastern Festival. St. Elias is a Middle Eastern church composed mostly of people of Lebanese descent but there are also some Palestinians and Syrians who attend.

Of course, there was plenty of music and Middle Eastern (and American) food and lots and lots of people. Our good friend, Mr. Abby Mina of CAMEO arranged for us to have a table in a good location and, as a bonus, we got to table next to another good friend, Mr. Pierre Bejjani of CAMEO and “Profile News” and we had a good time talking back and forth. Mr. Bejjani’s wife Mary was frequently there also.

We commend Ms. Deneen Kassouf for working hard all weekend managing the Big 6 Wheel Spin gambling game.

St. Elias’ Father Naim Khalil often stopped by our table to say hello and to make sure that we were all right and we also got to meet Father Michael who was visiting from the Byzantine Catholic Church at the corner of 14th and Kenilworth in Cleveland.

A fun activity on Sunday was the 1st Annual Hummus Competition which was won by Yours Truly Restaurants and the honor was accepted by Mr. Art Shibley. It was a close contest, though, with the 5th Avenue Deli and Restaurant, owned by Al and Sonia Ina, only losing by one point.

Among the people who stopped at our table were:

***Dr. Talal Adhami of the Cleveland Clinic who Ms. Wong assisted when he immigrated to the United States from Lebanon 15 years ago.

***Mr. Paul Abood who fell in love with his wife 21 years ago when she was a pianist from Russia visiting Cleveland for a piano competition. Once again, Ms. Wong stepped in and helped them and Mrs. Abood is now a citizen. We asked Mr. Abood when she became a citizen and he said that it was too long ago for him to remember it.

***Ms. Fadia Farah who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon some 30 years ago in the 1970’s.

***We had apples at our table for those who wanted one so Mr. Neil Corrigan stopped by and told us that he planted his apple trees some 5 years ago and an apple was finally produced fairly recently.

***Ms. Ivelisse Perez who knows Ms. Wong because she used to work for the Spanish American Committee who always turned to Ms. Wong when they needed help with an immigration issue.

***Ms. Alicia Harpster told us that she has a friend from Africa that Ms. Wong is currently assisting.

***Mr. Ruby Awad immigrated to the United States from Egypt in 1972 and became a citizen in 1985. He credits Ms. Wong with helping him as well as half of his family.

***A man who took our information and told us that he knows some Bhutanese people who might need our help.

At one point, we needed a break from tabling so we took a brief church tour and met a woman named Judy who had not heard of Ms. Wong or our office so we told her. She said that St. Elias, with its Middle East congregation, was a great place for Ms. Wong to be particularly now with the intensified turmoil going on over there.