For some odd reason Autumn stirs deep memories in me. As of late I have thought a lot about my grandmother. She spoke very little English and always pronounced my name as “Ronyal”. She was a very tiny woman and a prolific rose gardener. Only now (alas, too late) do I realize what a unique link I had not only to the “old world” as a far away place but also to a person who was literally from the 19th century (she was born near Poznan, Poland on July 16,1884 and passed away near St. Cloud, Minnesota on May 22,1979).
She was very fond of wine and always made sure I had a small glass of red wine whenever we would visit her. She began offering me this glass of wine when I was quite young and my parents never objected. Maybe some of my “warm” memories are distilled by this custom. There is even a family rumor that she made bootleg Slivovitz during Prohibition.
I also fondly remember her wonderful raspberry candies. She concocted this confection from the raspberry crop she yielded each year. (there may have been a little wine or slivovitz in them but I am not sure).
So, for my entire life I have associated red roses, red wine and red raspberries with her. I also see her in my mind’s eye donning a long red winter coat and a yellow babushka.
“Babushka” has two meanings in Slavic culture. “Babushka” means grandmother and also refers to the headscarf worn by older women. In my case, the “babushka” reference held both meanings because my “Babushka” always wore one.
Click here to listen to: Babushka
(composed and performed by reynold d. philipsek
2016 copyright/zino-rephi music BMI)