Ethnicity in common

On rare occasions I’ll recognize a word or two of Slovak being spoken as people deep in conversation go past me in a store, with no thought that anyone around them may understand their talking. I have written before about missing the sound of the spoken language of my grandparents from my childhood, when I never imagined that in years to come I would not hear it any more, much less meet any people of that old country nationality. 

It took me by surprise when the daughter of a neighbor who lives near the end of the short street intersecting Brookhill pulled into my driveway after I had hauled the two cumbersome trash and recycle tubs to the curb. Rolling down her window she asked if she could help me and promptly hopped out of her car and took my arm to help me up the porch and into the house. 

We got acquainted sitting in my front room while she explained who she was and I recall her mother though we never really talked, but her big dog always barked the minute my foot touched the curb of her drive as I turned in my regular walks to head back home.  

The last time I saw her was at the big neighborhood party that the folks in the end house were giving – maybe the summer before Covid hit.

Diane instructed me that I was not to haul the tubs back up the drive, that she would do it and henceforth she would roll them to the curb as well. Was this an angel in disguise?

She printed out her name and phone number as well as her mother’s on a little note pad and took my phone number down. I asked if it was her or her sister that had the little boy and she said it was her and he is nineteen now.  I remember this because I gathered up pots that Pat discarded to the curb some years ago as well as child’s gardening toys that she said her grandson had outgrown.  I took them to a gathering in West Salem, where I gave them to my cousin Jerry for his many grandchildren.

We each spoke of our marital demises and she of her current heart throb. About an hour passed and she had to get home before her mom worried as to her  whereabouts.

The next evening she called to see if I would like a container of her homemade mushroom soup which was still hot.  Oh yes, thank you! 

In minutes she and her best friend, Kelly, were at the door, handing me the soup and I was telling them my niece made our traditional mushroom soup on Christmas eve and she said they did too, and that people thought it odd that they used sauerkraut in it and I said we just use the juice and excitedly she said they also just used the juice and it was Slovak – so we all laughed about sharing that ethnicity.  By that time Kelly was freezing so they scooted back to the car.

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