December 8, 2008
Deda means Grandpa
Today I went for a walk to take pictures in Knjazevac. There are still many places I haven’t seen here yet and it still feels like an adventure just to take a walk around town. It wasn’t a long walk, because as I walked I realized I was close to Deda Tole’s house. I really like him and wanted to stop by but wasn’t sure if it was a good idea. I was afraid hey may be busy with something. Deda is known for his hard working character. He is always busy working on something. His super large hands filled with muscles are a witness to that hard work. Small sweet man with very large hands. He is definitely the kind of man you want for a grandpa!
As I was walking to his hous,e I saw an old lady dressed in Serbian granny clothes. A sweater, thick stockings, plastic “Maryjane” type shoes (good for anytime of work outside and are used by male and females),and a kerchief tied around her head like in All the old nursery rhyme books. She was adorable!
She had mail in her hand and was looking toward Deda’s house. I asked he in my very limited Serbian if Tole was home and she didn’t think so and was probably going to turn back. I rang his door bell that is actually located on the fence outside of his house. It’s different and cool. When he came outside he looked really happy to see me. He said a few words to the little lady and she gave me his mail and we, Deda and I, go inside his cozy little home.
Words cannot express how warm and loved I feel from Milan’s family. Family is so important here, and I am a novelty family member being from the U.S. Deda Tole loves to tell his friends about his American grand daughter. I can see it in his eyes. Adorable! America is like a mythical place to some of the people here. There are may misconceptions about how wonderful the U.S. is, kinda like a Disney world for life… Brought on by the happy ending movies and television shows as well as the years of hard living in Serbia caused by war, communism, and corruption.
Deda made me coffee and gave me apple and grapes to munch on, as well as a loaf of bread, unsliced old world style, and hard boiled eggs not yet peeled. There is really nice homey feeling there. So casual and friendly. It makes me relax…until I have to struggle to speak in Serbia. Then I get a little frazzled and have to tell myself, slow down and think. I know a lot of words, I just have a hard time remembering them when I need them. And, there are so may basic words used in sentences that I am lacking, I am sure I sound like a toddler when I speak.
He and I talk as much as we can and then needs to do some farm work. I tell him I want to help and he tries to deter me but I insist. I help him mix the pigs food, which consists of small whole apples, grain, hot water, scraps and then we take it out to the shed for the finishing touch. He chops up dry ears of corn into small inch wide pieces. He chops them with an ax and the skill of a chef. when he is finished and much of the corn kernels have flown all over the room he ads the chopped Cob to the. hot pig slop stew.
It has been raining outside for the past few days, there is mud everywhere so he insists I put on a pair of boots that he takes out of a bag. I believe they are his new winter boots and fear I will ruin them before he even gets to wear them. They only get dirty on the bottom while we are tramping around the “farm”.
His house is in the town of Knjazevac. It is not unusual to see houses that have the makings of what we would see only in the country. At his house there are only pigs, chickens, a dog and a cat that I saw. But there is also a large building across the street (4 Stories!) that works as a large storehouse like a barn. On the bottom level Milan told me there is a garage for fixing cars, there is storage for dried corn cobs, Barrels of wheat, grapes layed out to dry, tools, and all kinds of odds and ends. There is also a large clothes line hung up in one of the large rooms for drying clothes, as there are very few clothes driers. They exist, but mostly just in stores.
It is amazing. I had such an education today. I really had a good day.
Fast forward 4+ years
I have finally visited Deda Tole again. Yesterday was the first time Millie and I made the short trek to his place. It was much the same as the first post accept my Serbian has improved and we had a munchkin to entertain.
Deda didn’t disappoint in the entertainment. He danced for Millie, stomping his feet and snapping his fingers. He is the most adorable little man. I wish he could meet my grandpa back home.
Every visit he puts out food. Yesterday as soon as I arrived he threw some small potatoes in the stove and some eggs on to boil. Small crackers he calls cakes were set out for Millie and I immediately.
Tole likes his beer. He always has one when he visits us and insists Milan have one when we visit him. I had some too. It is my favorite kind. Millie had to settle for milk. But did try to share some of my little pivo.
We kept Millie busy while we peeled the hot potatoes and chatted lightly. Regretfully, I still cannot do more than that.
Sadly, this time no cats warmed themselves by the fire. When I inquired about them he said his daughter doesn’t like them. But he misses having them. His only animals now are chickens for laying eggs. And bees for honey out in the country. He butchered the pig about a month ago.
I hope when the weather gets warmer I can drive him out to the country to his bee hives. I always love going there and it makes for a great blog post!
Today after I got home from going to the market, called Piyats, Deda came for a visit. 🙂
I think he is just too cute. The way he dresses is traditional but it reminds of what I have seen in Ireland.
Just like this cartoon Grandpa, Deda caters to his little Millie. Today, not only did he come to visit, and do a dance upon entering to room to get her attention, he also brought her a little treat.
A Stark chocolate, the chocolate of choice for Grandparents all over Serbia.
Stark is pronounced Shtark, is a Serbian Chocolate company. They have some tasty candy bars.
I love the time I get to spend with him. Hooray for Grandpas all over the world!
To all my readers, Stay warm!