As previously mentioned, I have arrived. I am in Pitvaros, the ancestral area of my paternal grand-parents and less than 39 km. from my birthplace, Mako.
In small villages in eastern Europe, hospitality is expressed with food. My cousin’s wife, Milka, could not offer me enough. The most often used expression was “would you like something to eat?”. If the answer was negative then she moved to the next stage which was to offer something specifically. To refuse a dish that had been especially cooked or baked is the equivalent of refusing hospitality, an insult! I am quite certain that I gained a minimum of five kilos but Milka was happy and so was I. Now that I am back in Slovakia, I can focus on cutting back and slimming down. Or can I? I am off to Senec tomorrow to celebrate another cousin’s 81st Birthday. But back to Pitvaros.
Thursday and Friday Milka spent in the kitchen cooking and baking because her two children and their families were coming for dinner on Saturday. My contribution was rather feeble, a little mixing, a little peeling but the brunt of the work was carried out by Milka. I kept telling her that she was cooking for an army.
On Saturday the families arrived shortly after ten. There were nine of us and the consumption started upon their arrival with pogacsa and so it went until they left after four in the afternoon. Needless to say, I lost count of all the courses but could easily have fasted for the next 72 hours.
When I departed on Tuesday morning I was loaded down with all kinds of delicacies. A bus ride to Szeged and then a two and one half hour train ride to Budapest led me to re-connecting with Tibor Gottfried, my “piece of gold”, to quote John Taylor. Tibor
was the head installer, trainer at Immobiliser Hungaria Kft. But he was so much more. He was my right hand, my advisor, my friend, a man of integrity,and we had lost touch after I left Hungary in 2001. It was so lovely to sit across the table from Tibor and catch up. I was truly grateful that this opportunity had been made available to me. We shared many happy memories as well as some more recent losses. After a pleasant visit Tibor drove me up to the castle hill for my next connection with nostalgia, a visit with Ildiko Takács. I would have recognized Ildi on the street, even though fourteen years have passed. It was great to see her and I nope that our next visit will be sooner than fourteen years from now.