Monday, May 12, 2014

Second Breakfast

The second breakfast happened like this. Remember the story of the doctor's mother, well the next morning, after homemade doughnuts on the wood stove, we had a second breakfast. You might ask, how could we even fit in a second breakfast. Well, after peddling for 25ks, a second breakfast is doable. Even if it were just 10k, fresh currant jam and homemade cottage cheese, how could one refuse. The second breakfast took place at a small farm along the Polish eastern border. We were admiring the planted flower boxes hanging the windows of a simple wood framed hut. The garden in front was tidy and pretty. As I rested a bit, a woman came out and asked us what we were doing and where we were from. We gathered close to her by the fence that closed in her vegetable/flower garden and told her. She immediately called out to her husband. He came out and she introduced us. We started to chat and thought they would be good material for an interview. They invited us in for jam, homemade bread and cottage cheese. We accepted. We brought our bikes with all their gear into the garden area and closed the gate. The woman of the house went inside and quickly brought out a white table cloth (a sheet) and stretched it out over an old wood bench. We pulled up split logs and waited, talking with her husband who was in the air force during the war. Soon, we had a table spread with delicious goodies that were 100% organic. We ate til we could eat no more. Over coffee and tea, the couple told us that there are few young people in the village, it empties out daily. The children don't want to stay here and live simply they cried... tears falling. I was too overcome by their emotion. How I would love to live a simple life, eat simple food and tend a simple garden. They said they did not understand the need for all this technology and that in fact it was evil in their eyes. Maybe it is... we lose so much social reality to the Internet. I hated to leave them. They asked if we would stay and be the new people.


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  2. Alexandra and Michal are not the second breakfast couple, but similar to those mentioned in the story. Their life story only slightly differed from the second breakfast couple in that they lived in a different borderland village, not that far from each other by today's means of transportation. Michal was born in today's Belorussia. As a young Polish man, he ended up at the farm while on the run as a partisan during WWII. When he came to the farm in the picture, he had no documents. So when Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt drew up the new eastern border, he could not go home... nor did he want to. He stayed on the farm and he married Alexandra who was already living there, it was her family farm. She was waiting for her husband to come home from the War but he was killed just days before Michal arrived. Michal had little opportunities as I said without proper papers he was kind of illegally in the 'new' Polish state which after the War became a Soviet occupation. He stayed on there and eventually married Alexandra. They lived in that hut for the rest of their life, having no children. I was on the funeral of Alexandra, she died in 2008 and Michal in 2011. She like Michal was waked in that house, in the living/bedroom/formal dining room where we had eaten together and slept, divided only by the dining room table, many times over the years of my visiting them. I was just telling my granddaughters that the nights there along the Bug River were so quiet and dark that it felt as though a heaviness came over you as if some blanket from heaven was laid upon you and was tucking you in.