Sunday, June 21, 2015
My father took a risk. He was brave and hopeful when he traveled from Europe to Canada through turbulent storm-tossed seas with his young wife and three children.
I was the youngest of two siblings born later in Canada after my parents settled in Quebec. In view of the past and continuing political turmoil in the Ukraine, my dad’s goal was to bring his children to a more secure life. Although he succeeded in that, it was not to be the best move for him in the end.
My father had been a professor at a university in Kiev in the Ukraine, a head accountant for the government of the day, a philosopher, a storyteller and a musician who also had a degree in religious studies but who turned down the option to be a minister at a Greek Orthodox Church when he arrived in Canada. Wavering in his religious beliefs, he did not want to be disingenuous I was told. Instead, he started a farm and did manual work eventually succumbing to an illness that was life threatening and common then. Tuberculosis took him down the long road of health problems, surgeries and stays in sanatoriums.
The painting of him is one of several original art pieces he brought from Europe. The work was by his artist friend that I have not been able to trace. My father’s face is inscrutable as I try to read behind the eyes. Although he is as mysterious as Mona Lisa without her smile, the portraiture reveals something about my father the way only a painting can. I sense his earnestness and innocence about what is to come. If I could speak to him this Father's Day, I'd say, “You did good, dad! You did give us opportunities for a better life.”
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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms