Light & Shadow #25

Never Too Old To Bowl — Moscow, ID Circa 1977

I went to the local bowling alley one afternoon when they had a group of senior citizens scheduled to play. It so happened that a bowling association of some sort was having a photo contest to promote the sport. I won 500 bucks for this picture — almost as much as I made per month as a newspaper photographer in 1977.

This lady reminds me of my grandma Kalisek.

Matilda Pospichal didn’t bowl or learn to drive, but she sure could cook, bake, garden, quilt, crochet, garden, and butcher chickens. She had the skills of self-sufficiency brought from the old country to the Bohemian communities of Nebraska.

I have many memories of her. Though a bit of a stoic, she did much out of love for us. I so wish I could have her strudel again. It was a marvel that would rival the skill of any pastry chef.

I’ll never forget the last time I had it. It was summer break after my second year of college. My parents and brothers were off to Mexico. I was home alone. No big deal, except for the day I had a bellyache from hell. A friend and I were planning to spend the next day at the lake. When he called that evening, I told him of my situation. It must have been intuition on his mother’s part because she thought it best I stay with them.

Good thing because within hours, I was in the hospital for an appendectomy.

After my hospital stay, I went to grandma’s house. Of course, the best way to recover from having your guts opened up is with food. After lunch, a slab of strudel the size of a dinner plate appeared. My post-op system wasn’t ready for it, but I ate every last bite.

Thanks for everything grandma, and I’m glad the fed’s didn’t throw you in the slam for growing opium poppies!

2 thoughts on “Light & Shadow #25”

    1. She grew a lot of them over the years for the seed she baked with. Until the government guys in black suits showed up one day. I can almost hear the panic in her voice as she called my dad — “John, you better come over here right away!” They tested them — yep, opium poppies. From then on she could only grow a few each year — hardly enough to keep us in kolache!

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