Half Crop & The Angel is a story my father and his siblings grew up with - - told to them by their mother, Nekije Peshkopia.
Half Crop & The Angel is a fable; not of the northern European tradition popularized by Hans Christen Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, but of a Balkan tradition - - specifically of the Albanian people, descendants of the ancient Illyrians.
My grandmother was born in Korce Albania in 1912.
A girl named Agnes . . .
Two years earlier, on August 26, another girl of Albanian heritage was born in a town called Skopje in the eastern European country of Macedonia. Her parents named her Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.
One can imagine Agnes grew up, like most children - - like my father, aunts and uncles, listening to fables - - stories featuring animals, plants and forces of nature which are given human qualities to illustrate a moral lesson.
Half Crop & The Angel is one such story - - a traditional Albanian tale that tells of the riches to be had by helping one’s fellow man.
We cannot measure what impact childhood stories had on Agnes, but she grew up to become a Catholic nun and ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying for over 45 years.
Following her death on September 5th, 1997 Agnes was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Agnes, of course - - as you've probably guessed by now - - was the saintly Mother Teresa.
It is not certain that Mother Teresa heard the telling of Half Crop & The Angel growing up, but one can easily see she had learned the story's lesson well in the way she lived her life.
Kevin “Chopper” Peshkepia was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. He is a first-generation American; product of an Albanian father and an American mother of German-Irish descent. Chopper attended the University Of Michigan. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 1991. A competitive swimmer from the age of 7, Chopper earned his nickname from the lifeguards at the local pool who teased him about his swimming stroke. Inspired and supported by his wife Shannon, Chopper made a leap of faith in September 2008 and committed himself to painting full-time. “My wife is an interior designer and LOVES her job. She inspired me to do what I love and damn the torpedoes!” Today Chopper lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife and their two Jack Russell Terriers.