July 20, 2004

One family's meadow

I am grateful to the founder(s?) of the Dibrova Ukrainian Association. They grabbed up some land out in the country fifty years ago and established a wonderful little park for Detroit's Ukrainian-American community. Click here for an aerial photograph.

I've been going there for assorted picnics and other gatherings since I was a very small child. I remember competing (rather unsuccessfully) in the children's olympics when I was five and six and in a pie-eating contest when I was eight (not much more successfully). I remember Mr. C's submarine sandwiches, kept in the refrigerator and cooler long enough that the white cheese practically liquefied (this is not nearly as gross as it sounds); I remember taking the lunchmeat I didn't like, at one time salami and at another ham, down to the fishing dock. I remember most happily that fishing dock, where Allie and TJ and Nick and I would use bread and cheese and meat as bait on bare hooks, and catch little sunfish of various kinds. They were stupid fish, but incredibly pretty, shining in their greens and reds and blues underneath a bright summer sun. I remember the terror I held them in when I was little -- like perch, they had spiny dorsal fins, and if you grabbed them wrong, they'd give you a good painful poke for the inconvenience. Pumpkinseeds and bluegills and red-eared sunfish, swimming under the dock, ducking the algae-slimed snapping turtles, on those blazing blue summer days.


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