Don and Olga Patrick

Don Patrick is 55 years old and Don’s mother Olga is a vibrant Ukrainian lady. They both carry out the traditions of their Ukraine heritage. I know this to be true as Don and I have worked together and formed a great friendship over the years. I have learned much from Don about his heritage.

Sadly, Don’s father George passed away in 1995 at the young age of 58. The Patrick name was originally spelled Petrypk, but Don’s Polish Grandfather John, wanted the spelling to be simpler for those in his new country.

Both Olga and her husband George were born in Canada, and were married in the St. George’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1959.

Olga’s parents were Harry Graves and Katie Rogoza. John’s parents were John Patrick and Mary Marchuk. Mary and John Patrick likely immigrated to escape the war.

Olga remembers stories of her mother Mary being a cook in Flanders, Ontario; she cooked for German prisoners who had escaped the war.

Both Don and Olga have many fond memories of earlier years, including the hard work, big gardens, and canning and freezing of food to get them through the winter.

Don remembers digging potatoes, washing and drying them, and putting in the cellar.

He fondly remembers Grandma and Grandpa Graves saying, “Donny get the potatoes, and bring up a jar of beets and dills.”

Don can only imagine how many shovels were broken gathering enough horseradish to make the dish of horseradish, vinegar and sugar, with grated beets, which was served with meat.

He also remembers gathering dandelions for wine. Nothing was wasted. If anything could be made from something, it was.

Don remembers the carollers coming to sing at Christmas time. He fondly remembers Bill Gushulak being one of them. Don still remembers their beautiful voices, sharing the meaningful words and music of the traditional Ukrainian carols.

Don’s Grandma Graves was member of St. George’s church for more than 60 years. How she loved to get together with the ladies from her church at the Ukrainian Hall, and prepare meals for church suppers, weddings and fundraisers!

Don remembers a Ukrainian gentleman harvesting his own buckwheat for buckwheat buns and cabbage rolls.

Olga has fond memories of learning Ukrainian dance from Mr. Parsons and is still grateful today for the lessons. She remembers the beautiful stitchery on doilies and tablecloths from both Grandma Graves and Patrick.

After hearing of the happy life that has been enjoyed by the Patrick family, the conversation turned to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Don and Olga were both shocked and distraught the day it started. They couldn’t believe it.

Both admire Zelenskyy’s performance as the leader of the Ukraine. They feel he is a strong leader and is holding up for his people.

The outpouring of support for Ukraine has touched both their hearts and souls, but they just want the war to end. Don and Olga both hope and pray that help from other countries will continue and other avenues of help will come forward.

Their hearts are grieving, like so many others.

They are both so proud, and love their Ukrainian culture. They have been blessed and now pray for the blessings and answered prayers for this war in the Ukraine to end.

Traditions like Ukrainian dancing are a common thread for Ukrainian families.