Artwork by Bruce Zboray www.bruce-zboray.artistwebsites.com
My grandmother on my father’s side lived with us. Well, it was really her house, so I guess we lived with her. She came from Hungary when my aunt and uncle were very young. She spoke only Hungarian.
Every Sunday she would put on a small, flat brimmed hat, a black floral dress, and walk two miles, to the Russian Orthodox Church, which had seven spires shaped like candles. It looked right out of Russia.
At Easter, about eight old ladies in the neighborhood, all from the old country, would bring their food baskets to our house, and the priest would bless the food there.
My brother or I had to be the alter boy – that just meant we had to swing the incense holder. My mother would always cough – the delicious smell and smoke were too strong for her.
The priest had a white beard that was four feet long. He was dressed in iconic garments of old Russia.
Not only did our food get blessed, but the whole dining room, living room, and us too, with holy water.
Candles, incense – a little church – a temple – our home.
I would peek to see what was inside each of those pretty baskets so lovingly arranged, with food tucked inside colorful cloth – white horseradish, Babka bread, a big ham, and vibrantly colored eggs.
On Good Friday, grandma would bake. I loved to watch her bake. I was quite young. She’d make Hungarian diaper pastries, some with prune Lekvar, others with apricot, nuts, or white raisins. She’d make Magyar raised donuts with about 20 egg yolks. We had Lekvar a lot. We had it mixed into wide noodles – it was called goloshka. And we had Lekvar as in our crepes – it was called palacsinta.
The women would speak to grandma in Hungarian, starting with their greeting “hogy vagy” (hodge vodge).
I was in a different time, a timeless time.
It was beautiful.
Perhaps you have a timeless time memory too.