I visited our friend Mr Richard G. Fournier and I found him on his tricycle several blocks from his home. I pulled up slowly beside him, slid open my passenger window when he turned to me and declared, ‘I didn’t do it’! We both laughed.

I asked him if he’d liked the book I left and he hesitated a moment before answering, ‘I don’t read Serbian.’

‘Sorry!’ I squealed, and I rushed out from my car and went to the trunk and from a box extracted an English version of GENIUS (short stories) and also my single copy of DYNASTY (new book).

‘What’s this?’ Mr Fournier asked.
‘It’s a history book about Napoleon’s hero,’ I said and opened to the page with the quote.

His eyes lit up.
Mr Fournier was already smiling as he flipped through the pages.

I listened as he read the quote from Napoleon Bonaparte talking reverentially of his military hero, and contemporary, a Serb named George who took on the Ottoman Empire, and won.

Mr Fournier said, ‘George sounds like a big man for a little guy. I will read this first.’

When I wrote last Sunday how it’s a family tradition to lose possessions, domiciles, even a country, what I was thinking of was my mother’s line of my ancestry. I knew scant but after my research I learned about this Serb named George Petrovic, a simple herdsman born to pacifist parents and yet innately a leader, a righter of wrongs, and an irrepressible rebel warrior. George is the grandfather of my grandfather.

It is typical in America to look forward. It’s encouraged. But if you allow yourself the luxury to research your past you might better understand yourself and others. For me looking back and learning about ‘Black’ George was the beginning of a love affair with Serbia.

George has many names: George Petrovic, Black George, Karageorge, etc. Serbia is fascinating and complicated. I’ll explain next Sunday.



OR direct from Publisher