Donna Ulisse is providing us with a diary from her visit to Russia with her band, The Poor Mountain Boys. The trip is by invitation from the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.
Today was like something out of an American sitcom. Our car was supposed to pick us up at 11:00 am to bring me and the Poor Mountain Boys to the venue. Jon Martin rang our room and woke me up at 11:00……..AAAAAHHHHHHHH! I NEVER DO THAT!!!! I was so shook up. I put makeup on in the car and was fast running through a check list in my head hoping I remembered stuff like UNDERWEAR and a hair brush. Talk about feeling unsettled. I should not have worried so. These sweet folks would have loved me in a potato sack. The show was special, filled with warm feelings, tears, smiles and lots of bluegrass!
After our sound check we were invited for tea at the home of Dmitri and Nelly, a most precious couple who opened up their flat to us as if we were royalty. Tea here is big business complete with these delicious thin pancakes, short bread cookies and heavenly breads, strawberries picked from the garden of their dacha (mountain cabin) and the best sour cream I have EVER tasted! Before we could get out of the door Nelly presented me with a spoon holder from her kitchen as it is a tradition for me to take something of hers home……PRECIOUS!
The fans at the show also displayed their love by giving me flowers and taking jewelry off of their necks to give me gifts. it was so beautiful and heartfelt that I wept right along with them. My prayer is that I will always be as gracious as these folk.
The sky is closing down on our last day here in Russia. I am feeling everything…. Joy for all of my new found friends, gratitude to the US consulate here in Russia for the good work they do to bring the relationships between our countries closer together, happiness for the reception my music received here, eagerness for bluegrass music to take a real hold here among the Russians, regret that time flew so quickly, sadness about having to say goodbye and excitement to get back to the States so that I can share all the stories about my wonderful journey to Russia. This experience is something I will always hold dear. These sincere, loving people have found a whole guest room in my heart from now until it doesn’t beat anymore and that’s the truth. My hope is that I will someday journey here again……Dasvadonya for now.