Dreams are the touchstones of our character

This week is my father’s birthday. (Mnohaya Lita, Tato.)

When I was a child, my father was a policeman who decided to run for alderman to make a change in our neighborhood. He lost that election but later ran for Illinois Senate, and against the odds, he won. Family and friends spent hours going door to door, handing out fliers, working on a truly grassroots campaign. My father never had an easy election.  Each one was challenging and nerve-wracking, but again and again my father rallied people around him with his vision, integrity, and enthusiasm.

Coffee with my father, Walter. Winter 2010. (Photo by 8 Eyes Photography)

From my father, I learned that hard work can make amazing things happen, that it’s possible to honor where you come from while reaching for what people may deem impossible. The son of immigrants traveled around the world and met with world leaders. His adventures sparked in me an intense determination and a fierce optimism.

He’s retired from the Senate, but my father keeps dreaming big. In recent years he has talked about wanting to create a statue of a Ukrainian Kozak:

“During my travels to Ukraine over the years, I was never able to find a statue that depicted the true essence of what I perceived a true Ukrainian Kozak should look like. I would usually come across a caricature or a humorous depiction of either an intoxicated or overweight cossack that would ridicule instead of give an accurate portrayal of my proud heritage.

So, I collaborated with my son-in-law, Michael DiBartolo, who is a professional toy designer and came up with a line of realistic Kozak  statues that are truly worthy of status as Ukrainian Kozak warriors. Kozak Designs was created and we have just released our first statue titled ‘Taras.'” (Walter W. Dudycz)

Once again, my father saw an idea through from inspiration to creation. You can read more about the Kozak statue here. My father and brother-in-law plan to make several different statues, and they are also looking into creating bronze versions. The signed prototype was auctioned off last weekend at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art for $450.00. Interested parties can check out the ebay listing for Kozak Designs.

Taras Statue by Kozak Designs (Photo by 8 Eyes Photography)

Speaking of dreams, back to edits on the second book…

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on Mastodon.social @valya

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