Tevye the Dairyman

Doug provided milk for the ride for each vehicle. Only makes sense...Cheers!We had such a great day on Saturday! Friends have had a long-time dream to visit the village where Tevye the Dairyman lived. (Tevye is the character most of us know us the father in Fiddler on the Roof.) We thought it sounded like fun as well, and the excursion was finally arranged for last week.

We all met in a parking lot (I think we may have been the only ‘public transport’ people, but we were the first ones there!) where crazy Doug presented each of the three vehicles with bottled milk and bread for the trip. He also had small plastic cups, so we each had a shot of milk and a toast before we left the lot.

Drizzly cold rain didn’t make the drive much fun and the further we drove away from Kyiv, the worse shape the roads were in. And though we were probably no more than 30-45 minutes away, once we arrived in the village the roads were disasters! Deep deep ruts of ice and snow. Seriously. I don’t think the roads have been cleaned there since the first snow in December!

DSCN4049At one point we tried to turn into a school driveway, but the ice was so thick that Doug couldn’t get the tires to turn. After three attempts we parked further down the road in a small clearance. Doug’s wife Suzie, though, didn’t give up and on the third try the car somehow skidded over the ice curb, slid sideways, and eventually ended up in the right direction and she simply drove on. Heh. The other driver had 4-wheel drive so she followed Suzie. And they parked directly in front of the school building.

We all met on foot to enter the school and were shocked at our reception! A local choir dressed in national attire greeted at us and presented the traditional loaf of bread…a symbol of hospitality.

The girls invited some visitors to dance with them. Fun for the dancers AND those watching!We then went upstairs to the one-room museum. Or so we thought. No, first we had more singing and dancing — and even some dance lessons for some pulled from the audience. We also heard a history of the village, some facts about the author, and then a bit about Tevye himself. Very informative and quite delightful to hear these young people share their heritage so proudly.

After the visit, we went back to the Stoddard’s house for lunch as we watched Fiddler on the Roof. Thankful for Jim’s projector so that we weren’t all huddled around a computer screen.

Some were seeing the movie for the first time. And most of the single girls were very excited about the way the daughters all stood up for their right to marry the man of their own choosing.

On the other hand, parents/grandparents quietly left the room — you know, taking dishes to the kitchen — and found each other crying…feeling the pain of saying good-bye to children and grandchildren for an undetermined length of time. Moving to a foreign country. Wondering about the future while hanging on to TRADITION!

So thankful that we were able to take part in such a memorable day. None of us will soon forget the range of emotions we felt throughout the day.

(And did I mention that cold drizzly rain turned to beautiful fluffy snow while we were at the museum? And it didn’t stop snowing until we had finished viewing the movie…)



  1. How fun! I’m a “Ukrainiac” myself, having just been to Zhytomyr in January with a ministry called Mission to Ukraine. My ancestors came to America from Ukraine around 1900, too, so it’s definitely in my blood! Grateful to find your blog, and for your work and ministry to the people there, too!

  2. We know of that ministry…good things happening all around! Let us know next time you’re in the country!!

  3. Would have liked to join you on that little field trip!!! How fun to visit where Tevye once lived!!

    • You would have loved it, Georgia! Maybe we can schedule another visit when you’re here…have you actually confirmed tickets? Email me details when you know them!

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