Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just another family story...

So, here is one story of many regarding the Smerkanich family.  When growing up, the Smerkanich grandparents, living in a small village called Kelaryes had woods and a stripping/dump about 1/4 mile away. Zedo (Grandfather in Russian, sort of, really the Americanized version of the word for him, which sounds more like Zhe-doh according to my late father.  Why he taught his kids to call him by a different name is another story) would go to the "strippings" to get the leftover pieces of coal to heat his house/stove and while passing the dump, would peruse others' trash. As you might guess, he started to take dolls heads (who wouldn't?), and for some unknown reason, attach each one to a stick and poke them in the ground, just beneath the grape vine, which was between the house and the backyard/garden. We never thought anything odd since we were genetically attached to him and the dolls' heads were there since we were kids. Only later did it dawn on us how strange it was. Some of the heads turned black as the years went by, others got mildewed, but no one was ever taken away! Creepy now, ordinary then.

Uncle Matt's theory is that the heads kept Groundhogs away, which he made up. The real reason for the heads on sticks is the same as medieval times: as a deterrent for those invaders who might have considered attacking the Smerkanich compound (Look what we do you if try to take inhabit our family grapevine!). Warped, but apparently Zedo's strategy was brilliant in retrospect! No dolls or doll like tribes/armies ever attacked. Welcome to the Twilight Zone of my youth.

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