Hot and Cold Running Cousins
Families in Eastern Turkey are huge extended affairs, stretching across entire regions, embracing DNA from all of Turkey. And here I wanted to draw them all. Walking was a challenge for me back then, but Celal assured me I’d have hot and cold running cousins to help me. He wasn’t kidding. If a gull ﬂew overhead, someone would say, “there goes another cousin of Celal.”
Abdullah and his family picked me up at the airport bus in Van and took me home to dinner. His mother Nürgül, smiling here right of centre, made from a secret family recipe meatballs like malt balls, with liquid soft centers. Highly addictive! Abdullah’s wife Derya, at left, is at university at Van. HIs brother Omer, shown chatting with Abdullah at right, is principal at a village school that serves three towns.
Nothing would do but a visit to another branch of the family, out in the country in Bitlis. A great fuss was made at the family enclave, a tree- lined grassy enclosure with houses and sheep. Above is family matriarch Hanife the ﬁrst time I saw her, drawn from life with her grand-daughter Derya. Despite language differences, Hanife and I had a ﬁne time in the instant communication of elder women the world over. The whole Buday family knocked themselves out to make me welcome. The star of the family is little Bahar, whose mother had decked her out in this red dress and shoes. Adorable!
My new iPhone was misbehaving, and these hunks ﬁxed it. Living dolls. After more food than I would have believed I could hold, they drove me out into the country.