Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Tale of the Babushka


It's not a word that is in everyone's lexicon.  It was a common word in my household for the scarf my mother always wrapped around my head and tied under my chin before I went outside.  I can remember a drawer full of rayon (or other synthetic 60's material) square scarves in my mother's drawer.  These mostly faded pastel scarves, my mother, with the flick of her wrist, would fold into a square into a perfect triangle and capture my wayward pigtails and floppy bangs.

"You'll get an earache."

Girl with Babushka,
 Istvan Nagy (1873-1937)
Anytime I would attempt to defiantly wander into the sunny Chicago spring without the Babushka, my mother would reel me back in with vague descriptions of unknown, potentially life-threatening ailments if I dared wander out of the house without a Babushka.

She almost sounded like the stereotypical "Jewish Mother" if not the Central Missouri "hillbilly" that she was.  No, No.  She learned the Babushka trick from my paternal grandmother who was from Eastern Europe-we-don't-know-exactly-where-maybe-Romania-although-ethnically-Hungarian/German.

And so it is that I now find myself, hiking up the Tom McCall Point Trail in the windy Columbia Gorge or walking my dog in the open terrain of Condon, Oregon, wishing I had one my mom's Babushkas. A Babushka that would wrap me up tight with protective fingers, making the knot under my chin perhaps a bit too snug.  A Babushka that would keep my greying hair from flying wildly and protect my ears from unknown trauma.  A Babushka of love.

No comments:

Post a Comment