Grandma Karason

Published April 29, 2013 by kdorholt

Grandma Karason

Sometimes I imagine her
as Grandpa first saw her,
Mariska Tarr,
behind a booth
selling her father’s finely
crafted cipo
for the feet of the
more fortunate fairgoers
in that meadow
outside a remote
Magyar village
near Jugoszlávia.
Her bountiful black hair
in crochet-like coils
crowned her maiden head,
smiling shyly, but thankfully,
her head slightly tipped to
the right, reinforcing her
girlish gratitude,
her eyes glistening gladly,
so innocent, so sincere–
almost holy in her simple
countenance and grace.
Though small, she was powerful,
used to work–evident in her
agile hands and sinewy arms.
She could endure the
long, languishing journey
to Amerikai Egyesült Államok
help him build a business
bear him boys–
maybe some girls–
reach his Amerikai dream.
“I am going to marry
that maiden behind the booth,” he told
a fair-going friend.

When I knew her
She was Grandma Karason
rounder, older, wearier
an Amerikai now
in Akron, Ohio
on Long Street
usually in the kitchen
preparing Csirke Paprikas
with nokedli and
hot Hungarian peppers
or, if we were lucky,
(and lucky we were)
her perfect, pleasing pastries:
palacsinta, kalács,
or beyond-belief rolls of retes.
These alluring aromas surrounded
us scrumptiously when we entered
and seeing us,
her grandmothery arms would stretch
in greeting and, with her devoted
hands, held us in her Hungarian hugs
so  pure and powerful.
“Leany! Fiu!” she would
cry through cheerful tears
of welcome and warmth.
Softly, soulfully she scrutinized
each of our faces,
her bountiful salt-and-pepper hair
in crochet-like coils
atop her matronly head,
smiling widely and thankfully,
her head slightly tipped to
the right, reinforcing her
“Grandma’s” gratitude,
her delicate brown eyes glistening gladly,
so innocent, so sincere–
almost holy in her simple
countenance and grace.
and each of us experienced–
saw what Grandpa saw,
felt what Grandpa felt–
that fortuitous day in the
meadow at the Magyar fair
many years far gone . . .
And we glimpsed something more–
the certainty that she, no
matter the labor, had
achieved her Amerikai dream.
It was us!

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