Peters Traces His RootsOctober, 1994

Page 85

We Really Hit the Road

It's pretty easy to bottom out around here. Look for the wooden planks masquerading as a bridge in the road just ahead! After we drop off our mushroom haul at Ruta's, Gaida, Laura, my mom, and I head out to Usma's church, where my parents married in 1939. From the outside, especially with its fall plumage, it still looks quite dignified.

Sadly, no work has been done on restoring the inside since last time, it's all ripped apart and dug out. This time the church is bolted shut. We record our presence and hope for better next year. I wonder if we had seen the start of renovations last year, or if the church had just been demolished inside over the years and was now locked to protect it from any more damage.

Hitting the road, feeling it
Usma's church, long neglected
Page 86
Laura, Gaida, mom by the church where my parents were married

An old headstone in the church cemetery caught my eye. There was no date, but I figured it was about 50 to 75 year old because the Latvian is written in the old Germanic style. (The first time I dealt this kind of spelling I was trying to figure out a sign in a picture. I was so confused I spent half an hour looking it up in my Cassell's German dictionary - and I spent most of that time cursing at it and, through a magnifying glass, at the picture!)

Es pazelufawas azis uf teem kalneem- no kureenes man nahk palihdfiba, Dah.di. 121.v.1 I lift my eyes up unto those hills-from whence to me comes help, Songs of David 121.v.1

The passage may be Biblical, but the meaning is secular. Helping one another was once the linchpin of society here. After a half century decline, I hope for the resurrection of this concept.

I lift up my eyes...

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