Corn Harvest Comes Home

October 2000:

October has rolled around once more, and the scenes that welcomed us to the village begin unfolding again. We know our year among peasants is drawing near to its close.

The corn that families have traveled to Satu Mare to harvest comes back to the village.


It's a time of plenty and adults run around like children laughing and goofing.




They wanted to be sure their scale was set accurately, and Ileana said she always weighed the same.

To us, it seemed a strange approach to calibration.




Each family who went to work in Satu Mare gets the same amount of corn. Only the organizer got an extra sack.




It's tough trying to find the best head of cabbage here...






With the weather still warm, many women band together to wash their rugs and coats before winter comes.








They'll pile hay on top of these old coats and store their apples on the ground throughout the winter.







Walking the muddy, winding roads of Budesti.





Mihai prepares a pair of old leather opinci (the shoes the older generation wears in winter).



Maria has no electricity in her home. The brick stove that dominates her two room house is the old style they had before metal stoves became common.





Over in Calinesti, the Orthodox community is racing against the weather to finish their church before it becomes really cold.





Five thousand four hundred ninety five... five thousand four hundred ninety six...








Vasile is a traditional woodcarver. We finally stopped by to order some frames for Kathleen's photos.








As the end of the month approaches, we think back on all the sights we've seen in a year in Maramures.




Even simple domestic sights suddenly seem precious to us.





The family where we stayed is happy and sad. We've been able to build them a bathroom. It's like a doorway to the Land of Oz inside their house which hadn't had running water until just the day before.




But they tell us they'd trade their new bathroom to keep us there.




They sing a song during corn harvest that laments how they never expect to see again those who travel over the mountain. For a "year of days" we have been a touch of the outside world -- that shining land of prosperity and hope that is America. And now we are about to drive over the mountain and fly beyond the sea.

We too have been changed by living with them. They are the old grandmothers of fairy tale, who make sure you wear your hat and warn you about the wolves before you go outside. They are the strong men of frontier times who figure the size of a job by the number of strong backs it takes to make it happen.


Petru senior and Maria wanted to escort us over the mountain -- they told us we were like their own children and they wanted to be certain we were safe.

Before we finally drove off, we had one last treat to share from America.


We took Maria to her first restaurant and had her taste a milk shake.


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