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Continuation of the chapter II : THE UKRAINE PLAINS

September 1981: The reunions

I believe, however, that I would never say enough how many of those I had the opportunity to meet were pleasant people, of whom I have an unforgettable memory. When I found them again in September, nature had of course changed, but they had remained the same. I would say maybe even more endearing, knowing them better. Galla and Allhona were waiting for me impatiently and our reunion was very happy. Our friends were also waiting for me, friends I have not told you about yet, with whom we met very often. After her divorce, Galla had spent several months at their home waiting for an apartment to be assigned to her, and very strong ties had been forged between them.

They had two children, she was a stay-at-home mom and he was hospital agent. They were both very kind. At their home, as at Galla's uncle, I saw the true dimension of the Soviet family. We often used to have meal together and we shared a lot of things. Two or three times, we arrived unconsciously, to present ourselves at their home unexpectedly at mealtime. With an embarrassed look, each time they made us wait five to ten minutes in the entrance, and bustled themselves to modifying their own food a little. This certainly did not happen often, but each time I found myself very embarrassed. After a few minutes of waiting, they settled us at the table, and we shared the best. There were then a few pieces of meat or mushrooms mixed with the only potatoes that made up their meal beforehand. Decently, they had quickly opened a small bottled preserves.

These bottled preserves were not canned foods bought at the store, because even those were still almost too expensive. With family and friends, on Sundays we were sometimes going arm in arm on a picnic in the woods. He, like every day of every year, in the city or in the country, put like so many others the same black shoes pierced.

After the meal, the best entertainment was picking the mushrooms of which they made canned. When the baskets were full, a little like children happy to live, we played "blind man's buff" or at the cat and mouse in the fields of recently harvested wheat. It was for me like a return to basics, a return to a simple life, I was happy because the next day I was going to have something else, but for them...?

They had only this motivation necessary for their survival. They knew that after that, there would still be the same gloomy life, the same black shoes pierced. They were certainly happy with these family entertainments, but their horizon of hope was so limited that a snail would had quickly reached it.

The wheat harvest was not the same as in our campaigns. In my childhood, I had learned in primary school that these immense plains of Russia and Ukraine were the breadbasket of Europe. So I was running in the "breadbasket", forced to see that it was not far from empty. When I was child, I ran constantly. Everywhere I went, I ought to run, except maybe to go to school, but to come back, I was always the first... I do not tell you how many times I came back the lower legs scratched by the stubble, when, at one of my grandmothers in the countryside, I ran in the fields after the harvest. I have somewhat lost this habit, but I remember very well how much these stubbles were close to each other, and how many were also the grains of wheat on the ears; but in this "breadbasket of Europe", the problem no longer existed, so much the culms were distant from each other. As for the ears, when we were discovering some fallen on the ground, they were so short and the grains so small that they looked almost like wild grass.

Just as these fields were very pitiful, likewise were the crops of the gardens. Around the month of April, it seems to me, big crawler tractors had come by night to plow the whole field behind home. Nearby nobody had could sleep, but in the morning it was almost a party. Everyone was happy and full of motivation for the future harvest. In the following days, three people came to define and allocate plots for the garden applicants. One passed with an immense surveyor's compasses, another bounded the parcels and a third wrote down on paper. For me, who had from time to time gardened and who had a horror of the digging over, when I had witnessed this organization, even if I had not shouted bravo saw the folklore that reigned around, I had been almost seduced. Two things, however, had remained as disconcerting questions, the distance to walk to get there, and the lack of watering system. As soon as the parcels were known, a majority rushed however to work.

The greenery had sprouted everywhere at the end of May I left Ladijin, these gardens were not very early, but I was going to discover the result in September. A lot of grass had then grown, as for the vegetables, they were all or almost like the wheat fields. Everyone, however, had developed a lot of energy, but only those who had the chance to live nearby had acceptable harvests. For others, plunged in a misery similar to that of Gerard Depardieu in Manon of the Spring 1, their "pumpkins" had more or less finished wither. If the thing had not been so serious for these unfortunate, we could almost laugh today...

1. Dramatic movie, great classic of French cinema in which Gerard Depardieu plays the role of a hunchbacked teacher born of unknown father who returns to the natal land following an inheritance received from his deceased mother. With a wealth of his intellectual knowledge of which his new neighbors mock, he will be hated by a malignant majority and especially a rich and influential man who covets the property for the benefit of his son. Helped by this latter, he will plug the only source of water that would have made possible to the hunchback the culture of his piece of land lost in the mountains. Relentlessly, accompanied by his wife and his young daughter this unfortunate hunchback will be exhausted to death to water his crops of "coucourdes" (pumpkins) with a few containers filled at a source located far up the mountain.

The denouement of the monstrousness will show that this good man in the eyes of all the population remained silent, had become criminal of his own unknown son, result of an illegitimate love of his young years whose heart had never healed.

The only reasonably correct crops of private individuals were not located in a usual place in the West, but around many buildings, they were flourishing. It was not all the green spaces, but many lawns at the bottom of the buildings, were cultivated by some. Everything was like this: "The untangling". In their miserable situation, this resourcefulness was moreover no longer a game as some might imagine, but was part of their conditions of survival, in habits taken over time. This necessity had ended up veiling their minds about the huge black market of the priority persons, the rich of then and the even more powerful of today.

September was ending; the leaves had already their autumn appearance. My installations were working properly, and others were waiting for me in milder climes. So, the time of separation had arrived. As for the way of life, I was very happy to leave, but I however had a heavy heart towards all those charming and kind people who were not aware of the moral misery in which they lived, and who thought they were Americans or else better than them, so much was the lie around them.

My return was going to bring me one last proof of all this almost prison system, in which the man without God lives free as in a prison. I was not going indeed to delay receiving the most tender letters, which I was about to answer. Letters after letters, however, the tone of her letters was going evolve. She began to complain about receiving nothing from me, owing to the fact I did not keep my promises. She wrote to me, but received nothing in return. Five or six months passed thus, without any of all my letters reaching her.

The mail hardly controllable to the expedition, because mixed with the multitude, came to me, but hers, easy to watch in return to the distribution never arrived to her. Once again the evidence was made that Westerners were ungrateful people who did not hold their promises. In front of any brainwashing, man is powerless.

I gradually put this crazy love story behind me. I was going to have to wait a few more years to meet it, but I was vaccinated forever from all my communist ideologies instituted as a religion by man.

In wanting to create a better civilization without God, whose tsars had left them with such a bad image, they built on human bases, the worst of what man can do. God, whom they had considered as the source of human misery and of whom they had so carefully protected themselves, was nevertheless the only one capable of leading them to success. We will see it in the next chapters. They actually imitated what they knew and yet condemned. The human without God being able to reproduce only the image which he possesses in him, they recreated what they had rejected. The privileges had certainly changed sides, but like any human equipped with his only good will, they were not going to possess more integrity than the previous ones.

It is also the consequences to which we expose ourselves, if we do not open the eyes of our souls. Provided we do it before it's too late!

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