Wednesday, June 12, 2013


 Have I ever told you the Linen Story? 
My dad loved Moldova. Despite the ugliness of the wartime, the nature kept its promise and every second of the day blessed the living with its gifts. Dad's Communications Unit was stationed in the countryside. The soldiers set up the phone connections for the army, monitored and restored them, to keep the information going from the HQ to the ranks. One night, the Lieutenant ordered my father, Meyer, to go to the Supply Corps and get some fresh linens. The soldiers slept in the villagers' homes or in the barns. They didn't see a bed-sheet in nearly three years. The officers enjoyed better accommodations, and  the linens were intended for them.  
the Supply Corps was located a couple of kilometers away from Meyer's Unit. He walked at least that far almost every day. Dad set off at a brisk pace, hoping to complete his task quickly. The linens, when he got them, were in a hefty package, but Meyer didn't mind that. All his life he loved the nature and was very sensitive to its beauty. He walked over the hills, breathing the air, fragrant with the scents of heather and the grass, and thought himself lucky to be, at least for a short time, away from the squalor and chaos of the army.  
After a while, he became aware that someone was following him. It could be a villager, on his way home from a field, but Meyer didn't think so. The breeze carried to him a special, acrid soldier stink of crude tobacco and unwashed bodies. Soon he saw the two of them, the deserters, almost running to catch up with him, their illicit intent evident in their postures. Before he could get his rifle down, they were upon him and menacing him with the handguns. Absurdly, he still hang on to the package.  
-"Where are you going, young fellow?" - one of them asked. 
-"What's it to you? What do you want? 
-"Never mind that, what's in the package?" - a deserter was growling, barely containing the desire for violence. 
-"Linens, for the higher-ups" - Meyer answered. 
One of the two men was older and less inclined to part with the law. 
-"You want a drink? We have some good stuff. Give us the package and we'll part friends!" 
--"Give him our vodka? Are you joking?" - the younger guy hissed, 
-"I'll give him something better!" 
He stuck the gun and his dirty face into Meyer's. There was more animal in him then human. But his comrade wanted nothing of the sort. He punched Meyer, grabbed the package and pulled his friend off of him. In a few minutes they were out of sight.  
Meyer sat on the soft grass, trying to calm down and decide, what to do. There wasn't much choice, really, he didn't want to go after the marauders and risk his life for the laundry. He got up and went back to his Unit. 
The Lieutenant was not happy with Meyer's account of the events. "Idiot Jew, how am I going to explain this to the Supply Corps? Pha! If you were a Russian, you'd at least get drunk for your trouble!"

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