“I feel I understand Americans now as never before. Thank you.”

This was her reply, to my reply, to her question, “I have tried to understand this song, but cannot. Can you please explain it?”  The song was, of course, “Hotel California”.

This was almost 20 years ago, off the track that is beaten even in Siberia. She was 20-something. Her father and mother were my house-hosts. About 2 o’clock Sunday morning, her father and I were on the balcony tossing-back shots of (what else?!?) vodka. Her father had eclectic American rock turned up loud on the box.

My reply? Not the point.

The point:  This is one of the most honored moments of my life. Several of which occurred, yes, in Russia.

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