The Annual Cutthroat Tunno Pumpkin Pie Competition is upon us and the smack talk has started with my nephew, Chris. If I knew how to, I’d share his first Facebook taunt with you, but you get the point. Humility is not his strong point. But this IS competition and what better way to stir up a rivalry than with attitude and a winning pie recipe? (We’re all just jealous Chris.) Who wouldn’t compete for a beauty of a trophy like the one you see above? Continue reading →
My Dad, in his favorite sweatshirt, with me walking on the beach years ago.
I was rooting around in my closet a few nights ago looking for a jacket to wear because, joy of joys, it’s finally cool in the evenings here. As I slid clothes along the wooden rod in my tiny closet, I spotted my dad’s favorite green sweatshirt.
He loved that sweatshirt and used to wear it all the time — really — I mean ALL the time. If you didn’t take it off of him and demand to wash it, he would have never removed it Continue reading →
Last week, when I was visiting family in Pennsylvania, I ate out more times in two days than I did from the time I was 0 to 13. This behavior would have shocked my frugal parents back in the ’50s and ’60s.
From the time I was born until I was thirteen I think I dined out twice. (I did tour the McDonalds in Beaver Falls with the Girl Scouts once, and got a free hamburger, so I guess that counts. OK, three times.) I have a vague recollection of eating French fries at a Woolworths with my Mom once, but that could have just been a dream.
My father didn’t believe in eating out. He’d smoothly drive past whatever restaurant or ice cream stand we were begging to go to, and say, “What restaurant? Oh, did you want to stop? Well too late now. We have better stuff than that at home.” This always left me wondering if he was cheap or we were poorer than I realized. Continue reading →
My brothers were smart, they knew not to bring girls they dated home. The few times they did, Mom would be nice, unless the girl happened to touch them. Holding hands, snuggling, or showing any kind of affection meant she was a puttana and would never do for her sons. She never remembered names, only referring to them as, “datta gal,” as in, “Tella datta gal to eatta sommating, she’s a too skeeney.”
Ever experience something that you don’t talk about much because you know people will look at you funny and say, “Yeah, right.”
For me, it was the night my mom visited — maybe 7 or 8 years ago. If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’ll know that’s impossible because my mom died in 1992.
However, when she was alive, she always said that after she died she was coming back as a “Pooty Butterfly.” My brother, Bernie, always shot back with, “Yeah, you’ll be the biggest damn butterfly around.” And my mother would laugh and smack him on the head. (This is called Italian affection.)
Well, the biggest damn butterfly actually did visit me one night and it wouldn’t leave. Continue reading →
(September 23rd will be the 32nd anniversary of my mom’s big debut on national television. After this story, which was originally called, “Da Holy Hour.” I have an accompanying YouTube video of my mom in action. Watch it after you read the story. If you ever thought I was making any of this stuff up, this video will prove I’m not.)
The look I imagine her with every September 23rd.
Some women love athletes, others love actors, but only the truly discerning woman, has her passions inflamed by a game show host. That was my mom. Continue reading →
It’s no surprise that I was 32 when I married. Frankly, I’m amazed I was that young because my mom had a way of winnowing out the weaker prospects pretty quickly.
Any suitor who visited had to be warned about her because her childlike frankness left people stunned. To protect myself, I sat at the table with her, laughing too loud so whomever she was talking to knew she was kidding (she wasn’t). This rarely worked and made me look like a nervous hyena. Continue reading →
Just as a woman is watching her face shrivel up like the faces in those paintings in the haunted house at Disneyland, a cruel irony of life surfaces. She sees her daughter burst into full bloom in front of her; probably as beautiful as she’ll ever be.
It’s like roses on a rosebush. The mom is the one that’s left with just a knob and some straw-like hairs poking out, next to the fully bloomed, lush rose wafting her fragrance across the yard with a toss of her head. Continue reading →