Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Chapter 3 The Cold Sank Into Their Bones

What happens when twelve family members, most between the ages of 16 and 24 are accused of being hooligans? It started...many years ago...

Read chapter one, where the hijinks began by clicking here: Chapter One
Then on to Hooligans in chapter two by clicking here: Chapter Two


Photo by Mary Vee
Flying across the world with ten first time air travelers was much like containing crowds for the winning team at a sporting event. The travel time, including lay overs, would consume twenty-five tedious hours. The first leg, Detroit to New York and was not nearly long enough for Dud to rest after the boarding pass incident. Thank God they had to wear seatbelts.

In some cases, passengers landing in New York City had to find a way to get from LaGuardia to Kennedy in time to meet their international flight. Anyone who has traveled in NYC, even if during horse and buggy days, knew getting the earth to stop turning might be easier.

The patients who had so graciously planned this trip for their beloved doctor understood the NYC traffic plight. To prevent the impending catastrophe, they hired a helicopter to pick up the family from LaGuardia and fly them to Kennedy. Long black blades whipped overhead, propelling ten hooligans plus he and his wife around the tip of the Chrysler building on through a maze of skyscrapers. The spectacular view wowed his brood, transforming them into the curious and amazed.

Like the Pied Piper, he led his family through Kennedy’s tunnels to the next gate, handed out boarding passes at the very last second, and watched each one enter the second plane, this one bound for Denmark. Dud drew a blindfold over his eyes after buckling his seatbelt and slept the entire flight. What the rest of the family did—he didn’t want to know.

He woke to a steaming hot towelette served by the flight attendant. The rousing heat and the strong cup of coffee prepared him for a family meeting in the Copenhagen airport. He was serious. Everyone would abide by his strict rules to stay close during the next three hours for their safety

The only significant sightseeing adventure the teens found at this first visit to Denmark was a vending machine full of Danish Danish. Their camera shutters clicked. “I’m starved.” They eyed the pastry delights. “Real Danish Danish!” Their coins tumbled into the machine and out popped a plastic wrapped Danish that tasted like sweet cardboard. They read the label and found the pastry had, in fact, been made in the US.

At the appointed time, Dud pressed his family into the smallest of all their planes. They squeezed into itty, bitty seats with barely enough leg room aboard the Aeroflot airline. The hooligans turned cranky, tired from the journey and not in the mood to deal with gruff flight attendants who only served ginger ale. Their final destination was a mere skip over the Baltic Sea, and once high enough, they would be able to view Lithuania but not have authorization to land there.

Moscow served as the port of entry for the Soviet Union and was located nearly six hundred miles beyond his childhood country. Also, crews from Copenhagen could not fly into Russia. The plane landed in Helsinki where no passenger was allowed to disembark and sat for sixty long, boring, uncomfortable minutes before a Soviet pilot and crew boarded and set coarse for Moscow.

Contrary to the teens, the five-month-old baby had tolerated the journey very well. The airline provided a bassinet that hung, suspended above passenger’s seats. She seemed to like the motion and only cried when hungry. Soviet women on the plane, all donning scarfs over their heads and tied under their chins, ogled over the little one resting. They talked and pointed in their native language. Dud translated some of their words. All kind. They mostly expressed a great desire to hold the infant.

The long journey wore on the other family members. Their quiet was a medicine that only partially helped Dud’s uneasiness. They were about to land in Moscow. A communist country that had no problems displaying brute force. If one of the family misbehaved in a suspicious manner, he could encounter some serious trouble.

There would be KGB at the airport, this he knew for a fact. He rubbed his forehead, hoping his children and their spouses heeded his warnings not to bring religious jewelry, a Bible, a photo, anything religious or they could be taken for interrogation.

The weight of his entire family fell on him. He herded his charges, barking orders, keeping them close as they climbed down the ladder onto the tarmac in -25 degree temperatures and icy winds. His daughter held her baby close with a blanket over the little one’s face. The distance to the door was about a hundred frigid yards.

They’d barely left the dark shadows of the plane when a group of Soviet women swarmed his daughter and grandbaby. Their chatter cackled wild and unintelligible. One scooped the baby from his daughter and marched toward the door at least eighty yards away. His daughter and the rest of the family pushed forward, concerned where they would take the infant. His children called out in English. The women’s continued babble in Russian and urgent steps to the airport door showed they not only didn’t understand the American’s but didn’t care.

Dud could speak Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, German, and English fluently, but at this exhausting moment, the women’s words jumbled in his head.

Faster and faster he and his family walked, remaining close to the Soviet women, uncertain what would happen inside the terminal. The women singled out his daughter, enveloped her, and pushed her far ahead, separating her and the baby from the rest of the family. The glass doors opened and the ten barged inside, calling to their sister. A few feet beyond, the women lavished kisses on the child, passing her from one to the next before finally handing the baby back to her mother.

The incident stirred such an uproar not only with the ten but now also his wife. Their confusion escalated when a voice spoke over the loudspeaker in Russian. His warnings about the KGB frightened them, and in truth, him as well. “Hurry. Grab all the suitcases and bring them here.” They spread out through the area searching for their luggage, then stampeded to the meeting location. The pile of suitcases leaned on each other, tumbling to the floor. “Take them to this checkpoint.” Dud pointed. “Line up with your suitcase. Hurry.” His panic grew when a soldier in uniform edged near them.

The teens responded with utter pandemonium. Rather than following guidelines learned in kindergarten such as: take turns, one at a time, slow down, you’ll all get there if you wait, and be quiet, they barreled into the checkpoint, crowding each other and hoisting their suitcase onto the counter.

The security guard in soldier uniform shouted at them. The unruliness caused him to widen his eyes and step back, and when observing the massive number of suitcases lumped into his workstation, he waved his arms like a traffic cop. The translation seemed to be: move, move, move on and take your belongings. He never opened a single one.

Dud led his family, each dragging their luggage through the lobby and out the front door of the airport. He didn’t savor the air or breathe a sigh of relief.

After a long and tiring flight, the twelve stood on Soviet soil in Moscow.

And for the first time, his family saw Soviet Russia. 

...The cold sinking into their bones didn’t come from the temperatures.

The story continues...

It's a 20 - 20 year 
It may be a roller coaster or smooth sailing. 
Hold on! 
There's no looking back. No hindsight.

If you're looking for some great reads whether drama, mystery, or fantasy visit my Amazon page where you will find the perfect read. Ebooks are on sale.

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Christmas is Mary Vee's favorite holiday. She loves to travel to places like New York City and Paris. Maryis an award-winning author and writes for her king.  

Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

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