1000 RUBLES FOR EVERYONE
June 29, 2010 14 Comments
I never cease to be amazed and mainly delighted by small adventures that are part of my life in France… this whole esprit of “Equalite, Egalite, Fraternite” that is meant to be at the foundation of French social mores.
Some time ago I planted 80 bay trees along my fence line, and someone came along during the night and took exactly 40 of them, being a lesson for me in Egalite, I guess.
It reminded me of a story my late father used to tell, when asked why he had decided to get out of Russia in 1945.
My father had been in the Polish army when Germany invaded in 1939, and had ended up crossing over the border into Russia and fighting as part of the Russian Army during World War ll. After the war ended, he collected the family from Magnitogorsk in the Ural Mountains where they had spent the duration of the War, and by December 1945 had managed to get official papers that enabled them to return to Poland. Fortunately the family didn’t stop there for long, but managed to somehow make its way to Paris (it took 2 years as it was mainly on foot), and from there we emigrated from France to Australia in 1951.
Many people used to ask my father why he had wanted to leave Russia at all, as just after the war it was seen a Worker’s Paradise, and my father was a humble shoemaker, and therefore should have felt right at home there.
He always replied that he had dutifully gone along to a meeting of the Communist Party, and the speaker there had said that if they took all the money in the World and divided it up evenly, every person would get 1000 Rubles. My father thus knew that it was time to leave Russia as he had 2000.
I guess that to keep the cosmic balance, as my father actually had twice the planned global allocation, I was meant to have only 40 bay trees. They are flourishing nicely, as I hope are their twins out somewhere in this Haven of Egalite.