My father would usually work again after dinner, late into the evening, after he got the big machine he used to make his instruments. It stood like a small car in one half of the basement, which was more like a first floor, because the house was built into the steep hillside. The other half was a room we played in and a place where he had his wine fermenting. I loved the smell of grape must, the sweet-sour foam, bubbling away in the cabinet.
When he came upstairs, I would come out to the kitchen, where he was eating his supper. He smelled like sweat and metal. His face stubbly by now. and his clothes grimy with dust and perspiration.
Usually, he ate kolbasz. He made it himself because we had no Hungarian sausage maker or butcher in this town. he ate it with fresh bread and a glass of red wine, he had made from the grapes that he grew on the first hillside terrace above the house.
It was my favorite snack. I would sit on his lap, and with the knife in one hand, and kolbasz in the other, he would cut the knife toward his thumb, then put the cut piece, along with the knife onto a little piece of bread, or he ate it from the knife still in his hand. He put the tiny bread and kolbasz pieces together and formed them in a line on the white and grey Formica top. He called them “katona falat” Little soldiers. He said a rhyme that went with the lining up of the pieces, he might have sang it if he had a good singing voice, but he didn’t.