Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Ukrainian worry: My Dad in Lederhosen

Many of you know, my father (known as Blog Fodder online) lives in the Ukraine.  He has lived there about 7 years after he married a wonderful and tough lady, my mail-order-step-mom, Tanya.  Tanya is a Russian woman from Siberia who has lived and worked in Ukraine for many years.  Dad moved there and was warmly invited into her family of two sons (my younger step-brother passed away a year ago), two daughter-in-laws, and two granddaughters, Masha and Dasha.

Because my Dad was always a historian in his spare time, he is well versed in the goings-on between Russia and the rest of the world.  He has been fascinated with the leaders, the people, and the history for as long as he knew about them. This fascination could explain why my siblings and I played the game "K!ll the Russians" during the Cold War.  I now wish we had given it a slightly different name.

Dad could not be in a more perfect place to see this up close.  He was even in Maidan the day the fires began. His wife wanted to see what was happening up close and mentioned if she were younger, she would be right there on the lines.  Understandably, they are both worried for the people of Ukraine. The corruption that has led such wonderful, hard-working people to a bad place. The pressure from another corrupt nation that may cost them freedom, lives, and basic necessities.

I am worried sick. My family -- people I have met and love (and even my Dad) -- are in a place where there is the great likelihood of imminent danger and I cannot get them out.  Now, they live in a smaller village outside of a larger town that is closer to a larger city, so likely the fighting will not come knocking on their door.  But I don't know.

I hate not knowing.

Because I have been more aware of what is going on in Ukraine than I ever am of world events (yes, I'm an Ostrich, thank-you-very-much) I am trying to figure out exit strategies for my family if it comes to that. Somehow, in my head, I am imagining them having to flee Russian invasion like many had to flee the Nazis.

This leads me to the lederhosen.

One night, I was thinking about my dad, his wife, their son, two daughters, and granddaughters (one 9 months old) having to flee in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on their backs. I imagined my rather large and poorly exercised father trying to climb mountains and walk for hundreds of miles to safety.

Suddenly, I flashed to a scene from Sound of Music where the Von Trapps had to escape Austria during the night in the midst of a concert so they could get to safety.  It went from Captain Von Trapp, to Lederhosen, to my father, to my father in Lederhosen.

picture via

After picturing a 6'3" 350lb old man in Lederhosen fleeing the Nazis, I realized perhaps I was a little over worried about this.

I later told my Dad about my worry for his safety and my vision of his escape from Ukraine. He laughed so hard he nearly fell out of his chair. He then asked his wife if they could fin Lederhosen in his size. She looked at him with the cocked eyebrow only wives can give that said "You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?"

I've managed to keep my panic under control since then.

If you are interested in reading about the Ukrainian issues from a Canadian ex-pat who is also a historian and a news junkie, here you are:

My Dad's f posts on Ukraine troubles:
I break radio silence 
Winning the peace
Fascism, Russian, and Ukraine
Crimea heats up
Extreme apprehension
All talk, no shooting - so far
No war until Monday
In search of an honest man

This isn't even all of them he's written. I just caught the main ones. Hope it helps clear things up and encourages you to keep the Ukrainian people in your hearts and minds.


As much as I like to hear myself talk, I like to hear from you too!