Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 26. Brewery

I learned how hard it was for working people to make their bread even before the beginning of my study in the first year of the institute. Though let me tell you everything in order.

I had already written that I was enrolled into the institute ahead of the time together with some other "lucky guys" like myself. Yes, we were called by the provost I.V. Kopytin to his office, and he informed us about "the mercy". I do not remember all of those who were in I.V.Kopytin's office then, but several guys I kept in my mind. One of them was a tall, stocky young man with an open, kind face. He was self-possessed and calm. We got acquainted later, it was Anatoliy Lopatin. The second one was a slender and tall handsome guy with dark eyes, he was obviously Caucasian. He was not just slender, but even a bit thin. His features were not massive, though his huge dark eyes and a nose like a yataghan of a Turkish janissary made him not just handsome, but a very showy young man. That was Gasanov Ilgam Risa Ogly. We were offered instead of going to a collective farm to work for a couple of weeks at the Military Training Department. It was there where I made friends with Ilgam. Yes, he was hot-tempered and hasty, but not with his friends. With them he was very thoughtful and caring. Arkadiy Blyakher, with who we had got acquainted at the Russian language exam, was also sent to the Military Training Department. Though his assignment was to glue together and mend posters (no wonder, as Arkadiy himself boasted to us, the colonel Pyatov was a friend of Blyakher's family). Ilgam and I were given a task of constructing a roof above the department's garages, which were located between the main and the morphology buildings of the institute, right at the fence of a military unit. It was a cooler task than a well-known "go there, don't know where...".

Well, we, too, neither Ilgam nor I knew what to do and how. I had never built anything as well as Ilgam. I will not beat about the bush; just will say that we finished the work on time. Though you will guess yourself, how well it was done, if I tell you that the very roof crashed down the very first winter after the very first snowfall. Assistant professors from the Military Training Department managed to find us and told us that to our good luck the colonel Feodorov's car had not been there, when the roof crashed; otherwise we had serious problems. And what had those tactics and strategists of medical service expected, when they had given to seventeen year old guys (I was seventeen, and Ilgam was twenty one years old) a job of constructing a roof of the garage of the head of the Military Training Department? Well, forget about them, the mockery of worriers. As we see now, there was a similar mess in the whole country then.

Let's change the subject, as I was going to tell a story about hard life of working people. What kind of a garage roof could there be, if Ilgam and I managed to moonlight at a brewery during the construction? I remembered especially well one occurrence. Once Ilgam came and said: "A wagon of sugar arrived to the brewery, and it should be unloaded". Then he asked me, whether I would go with him. Well, it was out of the question, as I without giving it the second thought agreed to the adventure of constructing the garage roof. Though we could refuse and go to a collective farm to dig potatoes together with the rest of the students. So, the next morning we came to the brewery, which was in Kirovskiy district at the embankment. We were met there and forwarded to a storehouse. The task was the following: a wagon of Cuban sugar, those were twenty tons, which were brought by a truck in four runs from a train station.

So, we had to unload the truck, and stow the sacks with sugar in a storehouse. We had to weigh every tenth sack. Cuban sugar was delivered in nonstandard sacks, which weighed from eighty up to one hundred and twenty kilograms. That was the way to determine average weight of a sack. Unlike the Military Training Department, we had a person in charge there - a storekeeper. He was lame and half-drunk, as he constantly drank turbid, brewing beer. But he knew his job. He placed Ilgam on the truck to turn the sacks over and put them on the guys' shoulders. And I was sent inside the storehouse. I had to turn the sacks over and stow them along the wall. Ilgam and I were handling our job well. The students of the Chemical-Technology College, which was near the Sanitary-Hygiene building, were carrying the sacks. The guys were noticeably doing that job not for the first time. The first truck was unloaded quickly, and while the next truck was on the way, the guys made a quick run to the brewery's production shop and got back with a ten liter can of the same substance the storekeeper was drinking - the turbid, brewing beer - and started drinking it with pleasure. They offered it to Ilgam and me. I did not like that slops right away. Though Ilgam had a half-liter mug, and he was sick till the end of the day: it was such a disgust that brewing beer. Though the guys and the storekeeper laughed at us and were urging us to have more of it, saying that it was healthy to drink it, Ilgam and I did not give it the second try.

After the second unloaded truck, I suddenly decided to show off and bring at least one sack into the storehouse. Everybody was talking me out of that; the guys and the storekeeper were saying that it was heavy, and one had to know how to take and carry it, but I insisted. Ilgam chose the smaller sack for me and very gently put it on my shoulders. As Ilgam told me later, I was standing with a sack of sugar on my shoulders and slightly staggering. The matter was that I could not move my foot. At the moment when I tried to make a step, I fell down, and the sack fell next to me and broke. Half of the sack of sugar poured out, and the storekeeper gave me a pail and a broom. He announced a break to everyone, and I swept the yard and took the sugar into a special bin at the storehouse. Then the last truck with sugar arrived. We were quite tired by that time, but we had a work to do for not less than for an hour. I do not know why, but I wanted to assert myself again and yet bring the sack inside the storehouse. I was making noise, shouting, whether I was a man or not. Everyone was laughing,

as I weighed fifty kilos, but after some consideration, they allowed me to carry a sack to the scales for control weighing. It was about two meters from the truck. Again I stood at the truck's body, and Ilgam carefully put a sack on my shoulders.

You know, I made two small steps right away without any thinking, and moved half a meter towards the scales. Then I stood still again. I was trying not to lose the balance. I was driven on by laughter and shouts of the spectators, who were already making bets, whether I would reach the scales or not, I made three or four steps more and stood still again half a meter away from the scales that time. There was the last spurt - I made one step, two, and I was driven somewhere to the other side, I twitched to the scales and fell down again. I fell on the ground, and the sack crashed on the scales. I was greeted like a hero. To toast to me there were raised jars with turbid slops. Later it turned out that the scales broke down. So the guys finished unloading the last truck without the weighing. Ilgam and I came to the brewery once again, but I was not let to carry sacks any more, though I myself was not eager to do that, as I had personally experienced, how hard it was for working people to make their bread. I became very glad that I would study to be a doctor.

july 16, 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21202101821

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content