FUMIDUS came into
The scene: a sometimes steep, curvy, two-lane
Karpathian mountain road in the Republic of Slovakia -between Martin
and Strecno- on my return trip to Bratislava, and from there...on to
Not knowing just what my host's new SKODA was
capable of, I was clinging to the edge of my seat, when a particular
hairy overtaking maneuver made me finally blurt out: HOLY SMOKE, slow
down, I want to get home in one piece!
Peter -my Slovak host and driver- assured me by
retorting: Don't worry, I will not kill you, you must make my
then he just broke into uncontrollable
Seems, he had never heard that term
From then on, all the way to Vienna, nearly
every other sentence of his started with HOLY SMOKE. It was quite
amusing to know just how much he enjoyed those words.
Correspondence continued via email, after I had
returned home to Wisconsin, and with it, HOLY SMOKE.
Peter just loved that expression.
Eventually I needed the required family crest,
to be incorporated into the etched designs of the newly commissioned
Since Peter could not provide a ready one,
I offered to come up with a design for him, instead. All went well,
until it came to the credo. I tried to come up with various ideas
which relate to what I have learned from his personality, character,
and background, but drew a blank
until another email arrived
There it was, HOLY SMOKE!!!
At first thought, a joke. Then a serious idea.
What does it mean?
I envisioned the 'white smoke' after a new pope
is finally elected by the college of cardinals in Rome.
Formidable, To be reckoned
My wife was less enthusiastic about the idea
and thought I was joking, yet I was deadly serious.
In Slovakia, Peter loved the idea too, though I
didn't think it appropriate to use an American expression in
Latin, the universal language of the Middle
.WHY NOT? Latin was spoken all over Europe, and also
used regularly in the context of crests.
Though HOLY SMOKE per se is not found in Latin,
the words are derived from: MISSA meaning HOLY (Mass), and FUMIDUS
meaning smoke, or smoke-filled.
Where there is smoke, there is fire!
The rest is history