Monday, November 30, 2009


As we approach the Christmas season this year, I am blessed that my mother was thoughtful enough to leave a very special gift to her children a few years ago. She gave us all a handwritten account taken from her diaries of her Winter Vacation spent with her Ba'buschka at the Dacha in 1932. What a treasure it is to have these memories from Nonna to cherish long after her death. The following is an excerpt from Nonna's writing. " We heard Babuschka calling, Petrovich, get the horses and the Sleigh out, we are going for a ride! While we were being dressed in our warmest clothes, caps with ear flaps, scarfs, mittens etc. my Uncle Szenya and Anatoly were already outside opening the gates. Now I could see the bright colors of the Sleigh and I could imagine why it had been called the most "important thing" in the Family. It had been in the family for several generations and was a very large Sleigh that could fit at least twelve people in it. All three horses had bells on their harness and it was very exciting. After everybody was seated and everything was in order, we took off. What a glorious feeling!! It was a very good day for a sleigh ride, as the Sun was still out, but it was very cold, about 25 below zero. When you breathed, you could see your breath turn into particles of the beautiful glitters. When we were far enough and Grandmother's house could no longer be seen, Petrovich took a road that was close to the woods. It was Grandmother's idea so we could spot some Rabbits or other animals. By the sound of bells and children's noises, the furry creatures would scatter back into the woods. " Not too close to the trees Petrovich, Grandmother was saying, We don't want to see any Wolves or wild Boars! It seemed that she really enjoyed to put a little fear into us and see that anxious look on our faces. After the sun went down and everybody was getting hungry we were ready to go back to the Dacha. For us, there was still plenty of day left, even though by then it was quite dark outside. The best times were still to come!

Nonna wrote all about that special Christmas and it was a time that she remembered for as long as she lived. My wish for you is that you too will have a special Christmas that stays inside your Heart for all of your days!

Love John

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