Excerpt


My grandfather died a little over a year ago. Since then, my brothers have pressured me to record the Ukraine research trip we shared five years ago.

 

“Mike, you’re not retelling those stories to Grandfather anymore. Before you know it, you’re going to start forgetting important details,” warned Jacob, my insistent younger brother. “How do you expect your sons to value the stories you told Grandfather if you can’t even take the time to write them down?”


I hadn’t considered why I had avoided writing some kind of memoir or even preparing a PowerPoint presentation of the trip. I think in the beginning I had hidden behind the time I took playing with my boys: Victor, age three, and Steven, two. The demands at work after Dad promoted me to manager of scheduling and maintenance two years ago provided another excuse.

 

That was also when Grandfather’s heart grew so weak that he became housebound. Gram convinced me to squeeze in as much visiting time as I could. I suppose during this last

year I could have used the time I spent visiting Grandfather to record the events of the trip he sponsored, but I didn’t do it.

 

Then, Uncle Jim’s request to visit a couple of days ago forced my hand. I could no longer delay reviewing the research holiday. Face your guilt, I told myself. You failed to meet some of Grandfather’s expectations as a result of the research trip. Other than taking Ukrainian courses soon after I returned from the trip, I had done little else to develop my understanding of our heritage. I had managed to repress any uncomfortable memories of the trip, especially those surrounding Natahsa, an attractive young lady I met in the Ukraine.