Song of Experience

Vladimir waiting patiently for me to take a picture of him.

Sometimes you can’t recall how it all started. But that’s exactly the opposite case. I remember almost every single detail before the conversation. I noticed an elderly man coming up to the fountain. He sat there for a couple of minutes observing the parkway. My first impression was that he was a beggar who was going to ask for money or something like that. It’s so easy to make a mistake when you’re not paying attention…

I did my best and managed to forget about him when he pointed out that there had been no fountains on the parkway when he had used to live here. I myself remember the time when this place was like a small island of wilderness. At this exact moment when he attracted my attention for the second time I noticed several things. He had a pleasant sounding voice though a bit quiet but confident and calm. Though his clothes was old it was very, I’d even say extremely clean, with the shirt being of bright white color, unbuttoned to the middle of his chest. His skin was clean, tanned, with far less wrinkles one would expect. Not a beggar after all.

What followed was a very interesting conversation  – a mixture of memories, stories, and endless pieces of advice on how to lead a healthy life style. Vladimir, a 71 year old Russian who spent last nine years living in Ukraine but now returned, by profession is a cook. Public catering, not restaurants. His interests however go beyond that. He is an enthusiastic reader. He loves books and secrets of different craft work they hold. What also stroke me as something quite unusual was that while we were talking I didn’t hear a single word of complaint or dissatisfaction with anything: his life, western countries, politicians. And come on everyone loves to criticize the powers that be! Vladimir is confident, calm, realistic but not to a point of becoming pessimistic. His wit is sharp. He is kind and attentive.

The parkway is really magical! This place attracts interesting people.

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