Baca Zana

My grandmother was born today almost 90 years ago, and about 50 years later her husband, my grandfather, died on the same day. She was unable to celebrate her own birthday ever since.

But I wish to celebrate her, today and every day. How she self-preserved all those days, stealing know-how from commercials off RTL, learning for instance that pumpkin seeds are good for her remaining kidney. How she fed ducks by her Drava river. How she told us not long before she died in the home for the elderly that she was in Kidričevo again, where she spent many days in her younger years, and we chalked that up to her dementia, and then her keepers informed us that she was indeed in Kidričevo that day to visit a dentist. But when she asked me, with a slight chuckle of disbelief in her voice, as if to tell me that even though she knew it sounded crazy she really needed to know whether she should feed those little animals that come to her through the three air holes in the door to her room, we knew the answer. How she cried out “Hang on, girls!” before cutting a turn like a pro, driving long into her old age. How she always cooked up a storm and prepared ajvar and made her own noodles. How she collected bones and let me give them to the assorted dogs of the relatives we visited, and how she made up a song about the dogs and sang it to me at bedtime, together with many others (such as “und der flak macht bum bum”). How she used to say that flancati (fried crisp pastry, angel wings, funnel cake) are not fattening because “there is only air inside”. How she loved us and we loved her.

The photos below were taken last summer, the last time we were in her Maribor. I grew up before that window overlooking the hills of Pohorje and the bridge over the Drava river. And her ducks are still below it.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

Photo: MM & MC (on the sofa)

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