Summer’s Dusk

In the summer, after a storm.

Beneath summer skies.

With daily rain often comes drama. Usually, around dusk when the storm clouds are moving towards the west or upriver.

I can see some of it forming from my windows. But, I really see it on dogarito’s second — or sometimes — third walk of the day. Luckily, she’s pretty patient. So, I can make a picture or two.

This is one of the pictures. Not only do I see the sky and the framing silhouetted trees, but the image almost looks three-dimensional to my eye. There are natural layers upon layers hiding in this picture.

And, another word.

I see that our government has reached out to the DOD and are having immigrants discharged from the Army for no real reason except meanness.. Not only are they being taken out of their path to citizenship, but they are being classified as a security threat, which will get them a dishonorable discharge, hurting their lives going forward. In the ultimate Catch 22, anyone with dishonorable discharge cannot apply for citizenship.


This means a guy who wants to do the right thing, protect me and become a citizen can never do either. My God.

I don’t talk much about my life here. I see Storyteller as a place for pictures, art, discussion.

But, there’s this.

My paternal grandfather served in the Royal Russian Navy. In 1905, during the first Russian Revolution, his ship was ordered to fire on Russian people.  Rather than do that, the crew scuttled their ship and left the country. My grandfather made his way to Hamburg, Germany. He caught a tramp freighter and sailed for New York.

He passed through Ellis Island. He had no real papers since he had already jumped ship in Russia. He spoke no English, so my name became Laskowitz from whatever it really was. I still don’t really know. In 1917, when The United States entered World War I, he enlisted to serve his new country. His reward? Automatic citizenship. He died in 1949. I never met him. But, I am him. I’m the grandson of an immigrant.

Oh. About the family name. I’ve done a lot of research. The best I can come up with is that I am really Belorussian. I think our village was Horodak. In Russian that means little village. In Belorussia, it is a village. After that, I know nothing.

Oh. My family were sausage makers in the “old country.” This explains a lot. Like, why I can grind it out here. Heh!


Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

10 thoughts on “Summer’s Dusk

  1. I’m glad to hear the story of your grandfather, Ray. What an interesting family history. Last night was the first time I’d heard about the DOD decision and I’m just incapable of making sense of these cruelties. We are living in emotionally exhausting times! I think multiple walks with our dogs is good for the soul, and your beautiful summer’s dusk is a wonderful way to end a day–I can get lost in such beauty!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Unfortunately, that’s about all I know. My family was pretty closed off about our history. Consider this. I don’t really even know my family name. After doing the DNA thing, the best I can tell is that I’m mostly Belorussian. It’s something that haunts my sister and I.


      1. Your family history is probably “out there” somewhere if you just had the key to open the research! I’m shocked at what some of the professionals uncover, but they have research tools (and funding) the average person doesn’t access. I can understand how satisfying it would be to have the pieces of the puzzle.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not sure. Horodak was burned by the Nazis and salted by the Soviets. But, the real disconnect is the family last name, which doesn’t exists anywhere but in the US. I have some ballpark ways that it might have been spelled, but I don’t really know.


  2. So much going on in this post!

    The picture: depth is the word to describe it. And that feeling when a storm is coming and you’re not sorry because it fits your moods.

    The political statement about the blatant wrongness of discharging immigrants doing military service. It’s an outrage. As you noted, beautifully, when you said: “This means a guy who wants to do the right thing, protect me and become a citizen can never do either. My God.”

    And then, the family story. Wow. You know a little, but there’s so much more behind it. So much history and meaning. I am fascinated by the story, and want to hear more. Beyond the funny sausage comment, there must be so much more that you look for in the DNA of your life history.

    I hope you share more of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kim. The picture is also a great example of, “Don’t take the picture, let the picture take you.”

      Yeah. Military service. Where I come from we didn’t care who flew with us, just as long as they had our backs. On one hand, the present administration wants to build the military. OTH, it is reducing troop size by tossing people out. I suppose, the worst is coming. The draft.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have much more to share. I never knew my grandfather. Our family history only goes back so far via and DNA testing confirmed what we already know. Without a real last name, it’s hard to proceed. It’s like the fates are against us. I wrote to the DOD asking for my dad’s service records. No problem, except they all burned in a famous fire in Kansas City in the 1970s.


  3. I’ve just started my genealogy search. I found your post because I have discovered through that my great grandfather was also from Horodak. I’m sad to hear it was burned. I’m guessing all the records were as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It depends. There were two. One in Russia. That is gone. The other in Belorussia. That still is exists and is fairly large. After a lot of searching I’m pretty sure that we are Belorussian.


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