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These days my Babushka insists I treat her with acupuncture because it eases the pain in her legs and she should know. At 93 years of age she has a collection of “battle” scars such as a full knee replacement, arthritis, one blind eye and one semi-working and yet her mind is as stubborn as a mule, like a classic Taurean. *Forgive the cliché* It takes a mind like hers combined with steely faith to survive the World War II of the Soviet Union era.

My Babushka lay on her soft bed surrounded by a halo of icons that decorated her alter space. As if Jesus, Mary and the many saints were watching over us in that moment. A memory came about how she used to be disappointed in me not believing in God. I used to think she was silly to be caught up in so much religion. I didn’t see the difference between God and religion back then and even though she told me her mystifying stories, I didn’t understand the wisdom of her ways or her unique connection with the Universe, until now.

While gazing at her icon collection I said to her. “You know Babushka, I believe in Buddha too; not only Jesus and the others.”

After a thoughtful pause she replied with an expression you’d expect a Wise Woman to have in her crone years. “I think that’s just what the East calls Him. It’s the same Christ.” Her once crystal blue eyes now cloudy with glaucoma looked directly into me.


“Yes, you are right.” There are many pathways going to the same place. Eventually we’ll all get there. Some call it death, some call it heaven and some call it hell.

My Babushka lay relaxed and deep in thought and even though her body has aged her spirit hasn’t. She asked me to “Sing a song Ulyanochka, I’ve always loved to hear your voice.”

I agreed. I couldn’t refuse but what should I sing? My mind went through all the songs I thought I knew or the ones I did and none seemed quite appropriate. It’s amazing how such a simple request should have a simple answer. We all seem too busy to learn the lyrics to a nice song and they don’t stay on the radio for long enough anyway. You have to search for good music these days.

I sang her a song called Scarborough Fair. It was taught to me by a music teacher in primary school and the lyrics and tune were easy to remember.

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there,
he once was a true love of mine.”

Simple and sweet. Life is so short and these finite moments pass so quickly. If you are lucky enough to have an elder in your life use the time while you still can to connect, to learn, grow and SLOW down. It also reminded me of another basic, important, missed pleasure in life.

Everyone must know the lyrics to at least one good song.