A father is a guiding light

By deciding to recycle Uncle Garabed’s Notebook in print editions of The Armenian Weekly for one year following his death, Pauline Getzoyan and Leeza Arakelian gifted us regular visits from The Old Man in our first year of mourning. May 5, 2023 would have been his 95th birthday, and this May 8th will mark one year since “C.K. Garabed’s” passing.

The day he departed the earth, CK repeated a favorite quotation from writer Vladimir Nabokov. “Life is such a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.” CK was never short on words to inspire us, comfort us, afflict us and make us think.

Indeed, CK is still with us every day. While it was a relief to know that he would not have to live with the new burdens we Armenians and global citizens are enduring this year, his ubiquitous presence is still immensely felt. Even from above, CK routinely lets us know he’s watching, standing in support, offering his opinion and often guiding our actions if we were to ask ourselves, “in this circumstance, what would CK do?”

CK on Halloween (Photo provided by Lucine Kasbarian)

If CK were with us now, here are 10 things he would say to keep us keen and sober:

  1. Never regret enjoying your own company in solitude. That’s where creativity blooms.
  2. Kindness is a virtue to be showered on the deserving. Know when it must be withheld.
  3. Work behind the scenes—you get a lot more done and without interference.
  4. When we complain that “everything is going down the drain,” let’s be grateful there still is a drain.
  5. When tyrants will not depart without force, there is a place for vigilantism.
  6. If the people cannot keep their country, they do not deserve to have one. 
  7. When Turkey has a population of 83 million and Azerbaijan has a population of 10 million, there is no place for “sex-selective Armenian abortions.” (Armenia has a population of three million.)
  8. The Turkish government succeeded in carrying out the Armenian Genocide with the help of gun confiscation laws. Gun control never prevented criminals from access to weapons. It’s the law-abiding citizens who will pay the price.
  9. The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.
  10. Dreams don’t die.

Thanks, Hairig. Happy Birthday.

Your daughter

One of CK’s favorite coffee mugs
Lucine Kasbarian

Lucine Kasbarian

Journalist, political cartoonist and book publicist Lucine Kasbarian is the author of several books about Armenia and Armenians. Visit her at: www.lucinekasbarian.com


  1. Great tribute to a great man.

    Uncle Garabed loved word play including “mondegreens,” which Webster’s dictionary says are misunderstood or misinterpreted words/ phrases resulting from a mishearing of spoken words.
    I thought of him just yesterday when reading this kids’ poem with a mondegreen! Uncle Garabed, this one’s for you!

    Homework Stew
    By Kenn Nesbitt

    I cooked my math book in a broth
    And stirred it to a steaming froth.
    I threw in papers – pencils, too –
    To make a pot of homework stew.
    I turned the flame up nice and hot
    And tossed my binder in the pot.
    I sprinkled in my book report
    With colored markers by the quart.

    Despite its putrid, noxious gas
    I proudly took my stew to class.
    And though the smell was so grotesque
    I set it on my teacher’s desk.

    My teacher said “You’re quite a chef.”
    But still, you’re going to get an ‘F.’
    I didn’t ask for ‘homework stew’
    I said ‘Tomorrow, homework’s due.’”

  2. Dear Lucine,
    I enjoyed reading your article about your father. He was a very special man.

  3. A great deal of wisdom to digest. All Armenians should
    seriously internalize #6. Compromises are not free. Sometimes they have the reverse impact. For a nation with
    sovereignty only 34 years since 1375, we can be a little casual
    about our future.

    • He was genuine Armenian very well read , he loved his nation and his people , I always enjoyed his articles , his memory will not be forgotten , thank you for bringing his memories in our life ,

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