During our brief visit to the Basilique Saints-Nazaire-et-Celse, the former cathedral in the old walled city of Carcassonne, France, a quintet of Russian men powerfully sang some Russian Orthodox church music, hoping to sell some of their CDs. The sound in that Gothic sanctuary was simply awesome. Without exception, everybody stopped and listened, lost in their own thoughts, in the mysterious darkness of the basilica.
This is my great-grandfather's estate in Russia. On the estate was the village school. My grandfather is on the right, above the teacher's left shoulder. This is one of two photos we have of my grandfather as a very young child. I only knew him as (what I perceived as a child) an old man - which he was. By the time I was 10 years old, he was over 80.
The gene pool represented here is typical of Mennonites in Russia. I can see facial similarities between many of these children and students I have taught. In fact, the young girl in the middle (with the plaid dress - third row from the top) looks as if she could be the sister of a friend of mine.
Vancouver is hopelessly gray today, with more heavy rain predicted. Officials wring their hands as they watch the snow for the winter Olympics melt down to brown earth. Our little church gave us this vase in memory of Dad. Rendering it in black and white seemed appropriate today.