I meet many fascinating people in the twilight of their lives, during the course of my work as an energy advisor for Community Action. I am often treated to some unforgettable stories and here’s one for the record book. I won’t attest to the veracity of this tale, but it sure is a mind-twister.
Jethro Olam, with snow white hair and beard, led me to the kitchen table and poured us both a cup of coffee. Next to the table was a built-in cabinet with many glass shelves. Displayed there-on was Jethro’s life . . . his wife, children, grandchildren and his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. He began an astonishing account.
“My people originally were wheat farmers from the Ukraine. My parents were grade school classmates, and they excelled in their studies thereby catching the attention of the local government officials, who recommended both of them for scholarships. They were allowed to attend University at Russia’s expense. During the course of their studies, they fell in love and were married. They became physicists and spent their lives doing government research. Their field of study was unprecedented . . . theoretical time.”
I asked, “Did that have to do with the weapons program?”
“Only peripherally. Russia was experimenting with many non-traditional fields of study, such as extra sensory perception, drug induced hyper-awareness and the like. I’m afraid the government’s intentions were suspect. In those days, it seems, everything had a military application.”
“Did your parents speak of their research?”
“Only once. I was keenly interested in mathematics and physics, and I’m afraid that I badgered them without mercy. In the late 1960’s, my Mother reluctantly shared that they had discovered the key to understanding the fourth dimension – time.”
“So what’s the secret?”
“Shortly after we had this conversation, my parents disappeared without a trace. They never had the time to share the key of time.”
The old man slid his chair back from the kitchen table, and stood up. He walked to the bookcase and picked up a framed picture of his parents. They were a handsome couple in their mid-forties, and they were standing in a field of wheat. He turned the frame over and retrieved an envelope that had been taped to the back. “Would you like to see something amazing?”
“Here’s a letter that I received just before Hanukah last year. It’s from my parents. It says simply, ’we’re so sorry for the time we lost with you. We were in a different time and place – and that’s all that we can say. Hope you are taking good care of your life and our family – love, Mother and Father. PS. See you soon.’”
“The letter was post-marked in 2017, and contains a photo of my parents in Switzerland. Here it is.”
Jethro Olam handed me the photo. It was indeed his parents, and they looked identical to the photo in the bookcase.
I’ve run into a lot of great stories in my tenure as an energy advisor – but this one will be hard to top. I completed the remainder of my tasks for the home energy visit, but I must confess that my mind had drifted to another time and place.
April energy tips:
Do you know why your heating and electric bills are so high? The average three bedroom Minnesota home uses about 9500 KWh of electricity per year (about $1350). The average heating fuel bill for propane or natural gas is about $1350 per year, and for fuel oil, about $2000 per year. If your bills are higher than average, ask Tri-CAP for a home energy evaluation, through the home energy and resource advisor program (income guidelines apply).
Tri-CAP April 2018
By: Stephen Bjorklund