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A Message From Father To Son

Blog by: Милан Врглески

Toronto, Canada

June 25, 2020

Back in the summer of 2007, I spent thirty days in Besiste,
the village of my parents. At the end of the day, local people would gather together in the dvor, or front yard, of my parents’ house, enjoying long sips of homemade rakija, while discussing the happenings of that particular day in the village. Often my uncle Mijo would engage us all with his vicovi, or jokes, and prikazni, stories usually centred around Mariovo’s own famous characters and tricksters, Itar Pejo and Nasreddin Hodza.

Everyone would always get wrapped up in deep discussion about the good old days. This reminiscing almost always included talk of the departure of villagers to the nearest towns, to even as far away as those unknown countries overseas that could only be conjured up by the imagination. My own father’s departure was very difficult, especially considering the fact that he himself, a born and raised Besisec, would leave, after 50 years, his Mariovo village of Besiste.

I remember how, once the darkness of night would come over the village, our visitors would leave for their homes. My father would lock and double lock every door that had a key. Inside the house, my father would continue the discussion of days gone by.

After a week, it made me realize that my father was very attached to Besiste, and that his heart would never leave the land where he was born. He also mentioned to me that he had a poem that he would like to share with me. He knew it by heart. The first time that I heard his poem, I was amazed. I was amazed at how a man in his late eighties could recite each and every word. At first, I didn’t have a full understanding of it, but I was determined to understand it in its entirety.