How MISSA FUMIDUS came into making history…
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 Vienna/Austria.
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 armor…then he just broke into uncontrollable laughter.
Seems, he had never heard that term before.
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 armor.
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 from Slovakia.
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.
Something's there… Formidable, To be reckoned with…..

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 English.
The solution?
Latin, the universal language of the Middle Ages…….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………made in USA Karl

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Masterpieces of the RenaissanceRegarding family crests