It was a time of festive joy, drink and food. And for Slava Voyko it was no different in the year 1896. There he sat with the game he had caught earlier in the day. Now, it was time to gut it and roast the meat over the stove. He looked at the bottle of moonshine that he had picked up from his neighbor who lived nearly three miles away on the lonely and desolate prairies. Slava pulled out the cork and sniffed the alchohol. His eyes suddenly blinked wide open. He knew he was fortunate to get the strong brew which would get to him quicker so he could enjoy the night longer in a state of disarray. There was no need for a glass as he had no plans to share it with anyone. He raised the bottle to his mouth and tilted it, taking a giant swig. Slava liked the way it burned his mouth, throat and gut as it slid through his body. He burst out laughing in the air for no good reason except to laugh. He knew the key to a good time lay in the bottle. "Oh! Christmas! What a jolly time of the year." he thought.
He took another long sip and put the bottle down on the table and then walked over to the wooden stove and checked on his meat that was roasting and smelling up the farmhouse in a most festive fashion. He licked his lips and couldn't wait for the game to be done. Slava started to sing Christmas carols that he had learned back in the Ukraine. He sung them loudly and proudly as he took another shot of the moonshine and staggered around the farmhouse attempting to dance. He then tripped over his shotgun and fell onto his ass striking his head against the wall. He burst into laughter. Oh! How he was having a gay old time! Slowly, he got to his feet and steadied himself to walk over to the table to set down the eating ware.
An hour later his meal was ready and he sat down to eat it. He looked at his bottle of moonshine and it was nearly empty. He guzzled the remaining liquid and smashed the bottle against the wall and let out a thunderous laugh. Seconds later Slava was hit with reality and began to sob heavily and swiped all of the food off the table and picked up his shotgun and put it into his mouth. Then just as he was about to pull the trigger he pulled it out of his mouth, set the gun down and walked over to the window to have a look outside.
It was his first Christmas alone, he had nobody in the new world; his family, still back in Ukraine. He wondered what they were doing and if they felt the same as he did. He thought about his wife Anastasia and his two little boys Alexander and Darius. He then blew a kiss to them through the window hoping in three years time they could join him.
They never did.