Russian For Cute

In a park on Bainbridge Island my niece, Masha, freed herself from her stroller and trailed along behind her mother and me.

Natasha and I crossed a little bridge and looked back at her. She was tearing a leaf apart and pushing the leaf flesh through the little gaps in the bridge floor. When she was finished, she stood up with the leaf stem held out in front of her, and said something in Russian.

Natasha laughed and translated for me, “She says, ‘Now it’s a stick!'”

On the ferry ride back to Seattle, after calling out in English some of the letters from the brand name printed on the stroller, Masha made a declaration in Russian.

Natasha translated again, “She’s been saying that she’s a cat lately.”

I asked her, “What’s ‘cat’ in Russian?”


So I started babbling back to Masha, “Masha Koshka. Are you a Koshka, Masha?”

She answered; and Natasha translated, snickering, “‘Yes. A cat, with stripes.'”

The Cheese Car

We first saw the slice of American cheese on the roof of Ingrid’s car when we got back from the beach. It was already melted around the edges – or better to say, the corners had settled in and fused a bit with the car’s paint.

“How do you think it got there?”

“I don’t know – maybe it fell.”

We both turned our heads and looked up.

“But from where?”

“Maybe from an airplane?”

“Maybe someone was trying to make a sandwich and they mistook the car for a slice of bread.”

We left the cheese where it was and drove away. I looked when we got back to Ingrid’s place and it was still there.

The only sign of it the next morning though, was an oily 3×3 square and a few crumbs baked into the paint.

“Whoever put it there must have come and gotten it.”