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Saturday, January 31, 2015

THE BLIZZARD OF 2015


It was snowing heavily and blowing to the point that visibility was almost zero when the little blonde got off work. She made her way to her car and wondered how she was going to make it home. She sat in her car while it warmed up and thought about her situation. She finally remembered her daddy's advice that if she got caught in a blizzard she should wait for a snowplow to come by and follow it. That way she would not get stuck in the snowdrift. This made her feel much better and sure enough in a little while a snowplow went by and she started to follow it.
As she followed the snowplow she was feeling very smug as they continued and she was not having any problem with the blizzard conditions. After quite some time had passed she was somewhat surprise when the snowplow stopped and the driver got out and came back to her car and signaled for her to roll down her window. The snow plow driver wanted to know if she was all right as she had been following him for a long time.
 
She said that she was fine and told him of her daddy's advice to follow a snowplow when caught in a blizzard. The driver replied that it was OK with him and she could continue if she wanted but he was done with the Wal Mart parking lot and was going over to K-Mart next.

The weatherman predicted close to 30 inches of snow, the wind would be blowing between 35 and 50 mph, and I needed milk and butter. Setting off for my workout, I stopped at the local Handy Pantry to get the milk and butter, leave it in my car since it was so cold and then go home. The bad weather hadn’t started yet and I figured best to get the stuff now.

Pulling into the store’s parking lot, there are cars already there, with people in the store all holding gallons of milk, all kinds of snack foods and cakes, and someone was buying cold cuts for the next millennium to come. This is called panic buying and occurs on Long Island every storm, equaling in numbers the number of strip malls that populate the Island of Long.

Once I left the gym, the snow was falling, enough to cover my windshield, and when I went to turn on the wipers, it streaked ice on the glass, the cold was entrenched and the winds blowing, I knew I was in trouble. First there was TLW (The Little
Woman’s) Physical Therapy at 11:20 am, and then home to watch the snow fall, and lock us away for a few days. That was not the trouble, the trouble was in anticipation of the TV shows TLW was going to watch, something scary: ‘Wives with Knives’. (If you don’t hear from me know that we watched too much TV!)

But you have to hand it to the weathermen on the TV! Boy do they get all excited. You’d think we were bombed again at Pearl Harbor. Their hands become in perpetual motion, the voice rising in excitement as they now have a show for you. They will attempt to scare the Hell out of you, tell you things that are horrible and that the world will end at once-News at 11:00 pm!

Not only do they state the obvious, they state it over and over again, with this foreboding graphics hinting at our doom. The red crawl across the bottom of the TV screen would add to the excitement and feeling that the world has truly ended or will soon, news at 11.

I have a new plan in place for the hated snow plow guy who waits until I broke my back from shoveling the driveway, so he can come by and plow me back in. I decided to park my cars one in front of the other and then just shovel a little bit since TLW can’t drive in her boot. Will it work? Stay tuned.





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Friday, January 30, 2015

DADDY’S SING-A-LONG


Miranda likes to sing, and whenever she begins, her husband heads outside.

Hurt and a little dejected, she asked him, "Don't you like my singing?"

"Of course, Dear," he replied. "I just want to make sure the neighbors know I'm not beating you."

In Napoli where love is king
When boy meets girl here’s what they say

When the moon hits your eye
Like a big pizza pie that’s amore
When the world seems to shine
Like you’ve had too much wine that’s amore

Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing, “Vita bella”
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella

When the stars make you drool
Just like a pasta fazool that’s amore
When you dance down the street
With a cloud at your feet you’re in love

When you walk in a dream
But you know you’re not dreaming signore
Scuzza me, but you see
Back in old Napoli that’s amore.

Every time I go to pick up my daughter from her home in Shoreham/Wading River, I have to sing in the car to her. This makes her giggling and happy for the duration of the ride. I try to sing happy songs so that she doesn’t get into a funk because her old man is singing!

That’s Amore is her favorite along with Eh, Cumpare, her all-time favorite because I have to go through the list of instruments in the correct order.

The problem is my fellow drivers; as they watch me as they pass by, my singing with my hands and making gestures for Ellen’s amusement. The really annoying ones stay with me mile for mile, as they call the attention of their rotten kids to watch the crazy old man do his thing. My daughter just claps her hands and wildly swings her hands and arms to my cackling.
 
Stopping for a light will bring on a rush of embarrassment and I have to stare straight ahead, like I don’t know or care that someone is staring at me, because I have to belt it out once we start moving. If it makes my little girl happy, then I don’t really care enough to stop.

But if I stop, then there is a disappointment showing on her sweet face as I gaze into the rear-view mirror, as she waits for me to start up once again in the true Daddy-Daughter tradition of a song I used to sing to her, even as a little girl.

 


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

CHAPTERS ENDING


How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my get up and go has got up and went.
But in spite of it all I am able to grin
when I recall where my get up has been.

Old age is golden-so I've heard it said-
but sometimes I wonder when I get into bed,
with my ears in a drawer and my teeth in a cup,
my eyes on the table until I wake up.

Ere sleep dims my eyes I say to myself,
"Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?"
And I'm happy to say as I close my door,
my friends are the same, perhaps even more.

When I was young, my slippers were red,
I could pick up my heels right over my head.
When I grew older, my slippers were blue,
but still I could dance the whole night through.

But now I am old, my slippers are black,
I walk to the store and puff my way back.
The reason I know my youth is all spent,
my get up and go has got up and went.

But I really don't mind when I think, with a grin,
of all the grand places my get up has been.
Since I have retired from life's competition,
I accommodate myself with complete repetition.

I get up each morning, and dust off my wits,
pick up my paper and read the "obits".
If my name is missing, I know I'm not dead,
so I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed


Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?

Now that I am about to touch on 70 this year, I am starting to see a pattern of closed chapters before my eyes. It seems that as I look back and reflect, I see the different chapters that ran sometimes simultaneously and realize these chapters are all part of the book I am living, just as we all are.

There are parts of our lives that are groups of chapters: perhaps we can call them parts as in Part I or Part II. They conclude the smaller chapters in our lives and help complete the bigger picture or book.


Recently I went through my old neighborhood and started to re-read some of those old chapters, discovering and rediscovering the old feeling I had back then, as if I was in my 30’s or 40’s. In some ways it feels good and in some ways no so good.

It seems like I lived with a different woman back then compared to the one I live with now, yet both are one and the same. I guess she thinks the same of me, I changed and I hope for the better.


With the birth of my granddaughter, there is a sense of a new world that is beginning and I am leaving it, and so I quietly observe it and wait for the final chapter. There are some things I still wish to complete in my lifetime and some things I wish to continue yet. One of the things I want to hear is my little granddaughter laughing with me and telling me: “Grandpa, you are so silly!” That would be a milestone. I want to see her shop with her grandma too, because grandma never had her little girl shop with her, so this would be a wonderful thing to see.

I hope and wish to see my granddaughter graduate college and get married, and then I will be happiest, knowing I completed my life on a high note.


There has been a lot of disappointment in my life, some of it very recently, but all of it is past and prologue to the lessons I would teach myself. These disappointments are chapters too, and the pages are all turned and so life will go on to the next chapter. When Dad and then Mom passed, it told me the index of life was right behind, I almost see it through the final chapters.

I’m proud of myself for a lot of the adversity that I overcame, my wife and kids, proud of all my nieces and nephews and some of the friends I made through this journey of life in the book.




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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

THE COLDEST DAY OF THE YEAR


Every year at this time, I try to remember him. It is not too hard, there are plenty of reminders all around me, most of them are pleasant, but today. Today is the hard day, today is the day of sadness.

We all have sad days I guess, but this day in particular I wouldn’t wish on anyone, friend and foe alike.

It was a Wednesday evening. We had spent a long week at the North Shore University Hospital sleeping overnight on uncomfortable couches and lounge chairs as we sat vigil for my 20 month old son who was slowly dying.

I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do
I could never see tomorrow,
But I was never told about the sorrow


We had reached a point where both my wife and I were bone tired and needed a break and so decided to go home for a short rest, shower and then go to the hospital again, out in Manhasset, about 35 miles away from home. Earlier that evening a call came from the hospital while my wife was in the shower and I lay on the couch, getting sharp back pains. The party on the other end said we should come right down, since the baby was about to pass.

We called TLW (The Little Woman)’s brother Dennis who was visiting in town to give us a lift to the hospital since we knew what was in store for us.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again


AS we climbed the steps to the pediatric ICU ward, a priest was racing up the stairs ahead of us, it meant only one thing to me. As we entered the ward, I could look down the long hallway and see my son’e room. I also saw the nurse who so lovingly took care of him, in tears and she covered him in a blanket. When we got there all the IV and tubes were gone. He lay there peacefully, his arms placed over the covers as if he was asleep.

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow,
No one said a word about the sorrow


Sorrow comes in many forms, I see it in the form of the living as well as the dying, and I see it in the finality of death. You can only guess what it feels like when your child dies, something is tearing you apart and the tears that once wept from sweet joy turn to the sour bitterness of the reality of death.

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
And how can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again


La la la la la la, la la la la
La la la la la la, la la la la

Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again

Da da da da
Da da da da, da da da da da, da

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A FULL MOON?


The inexperienced young man was smitten with the girl who was sitting beside him in his parked car. Looking at her in the light of the full moon, he gently placed his hand on her knee and said, “Angie….I think I love you.”
With a knowing smile, she put her hand on his and said, “Higher, Ralph.”
Clearing his throat, he said, “Angie, I think I love you!” in a cracked falsetto.



It seemed like the moon was full in the middle of the day, it was one of the: most unhappy of days for people I ever witnessed last week.

It started when I went to get on a local road that is heavily traveled, and as I attempted to merge onto the road from a cloverleaf, the traffic was backed up, making it impossible to go far. Gradually I managed to negotiate the traffic and found myself determined to hang on until this cleared.  Then there was the source of my consternation: the backup was caused by a young lady and three police cars on the center median, her arms waving and the cops trying to calm her down, her car’s rear was completely decapitated! I was looking into her back seat cleanly. (Yup she did have a nice tookis!

So further up I go and we suddenly break loose and I make it to the hospital, a large university hospital, enter the parking garage only to be stalled once again. As I take my ticket from the machine, I hear horns blowing and people complaining. It seemed that a car was trying to pull out of its parking space, another car stopped suddenly and waited, but it was too close for the car to get out of the space without hitting the waiting car. Behind the waiting car was the source of all the honking, an irate woman who was unhappy about having to wait for these cars to negotiate a solution. From the third cars honking and pressuring the driver in front of her, the waiting car attempted to back up a little to give space to pull out but hits the impatient driver behind her. Madam Impatient suddenly pushes out her door and gets out of her SUV and starts yelling and pointing and of course cursing, all while getting on her cell phone.

Then I enter the hospital and go to the front desk, to seek a pass. There is a line ahead of me and a very slow elderly volunteer behind the visitor’s desk, the faces on the people waiting were filled with anger and annoyance, short little shifting of feet and bad moods. Yes it was a happy day!

I don’t know what is happening these days, either a full moon or the affects of winter and the cold, either way I’m going under my bed until March when I see La Principessa and sing Happy Birthday to her.

 


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Monday, January 26, 2015

FRUGALITY AND LOVE


Three engineers and three accountants were all taking a business trip together by train. The accountants each bought a ticket, then watched as the engineers pooled their money and bought a single ticket. The accountants wanted to know how they were all going to travel with just one ticket. The engineers smiled, and one of them said, “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

When they boarded the train, the three engineers all crammed themselves into one bathroom and shut the door. When the conductor came around, he knocked on the bathroom door and said, “Ticket, please.” One arm shot out of the bathroom handing the ticket to the conductor.

On the return trip, the accountants thought they would try the same trick. They pooled their money and bought only one ticket. They watched and noticed that the engineers didn’t buy a ticket at all. One accountant asked, “How do you guys think you’ll manage to ride the train without any tickets?’ The engineers smiled, and one of them said, “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

On the train, the three accountants cram into one restroom, and the three engineers all fit into another one. Shortly after, one of the engineers leaves his restroom and goes to the room that the accountants are in. He knocks and says, “Ticket, please.”

Dear Readers:

The special and lovely Ava
Today I wish to introduce you to two special people who I think are special because they leave something good behind wherever they go. She is special because she is a child and that would be enough for anyone of us to know. She is so special that recently on Facebook, her grandpa wrote about her and just how special she is. Her grandpa is a Paisano of mine from the old neighborhood in Brooklyn, and posted the following:

“The inspiration for this post came from my frugal granddaughter Ava, who likes saving her money and not buying things she doesn’t need...truly a rare quality in a child of the new millennium. She is not demanding every second that her parents buy her this or that; she truly appreciates what she already has. For example, my daughter was looking at new winter jackets, but Ava nixed them as too expensive. She was perfectly happy to wear a hand-me-down from a friend with an older daughter who has given Ava so many nice clothes.

I don't think I saw a twenty-dollar bill until my first job. People gave kids two dollars in an envelope for Communion or Confirmation and you were overjoyed to see that much money in one place. People actually carried change around in their purses or pockets and used it to make purchases. My Dad carried three pounds worth of loose change in his suit jacket pocket. In tough times I would sneak a dime to supplement my allowance. Luxuries were rare for us but not unknown.
 
Grandpa Jim
One year when my baseball career still showed promise, my parents bought me a Rawlings baseball glove that cost $60 at Davega’s Sporting Goods. I was thrilled of course, but looking back, I now realize it probably represented a week's pay for my Dad. Thrift has become a scarce virtue in the modern era. Few people bother to save up for a significant purchase; they just whip out a credit card that isn't yet maxed out and, like Scarlett O'Hara, worry about the consequences tomorrow.

So my dear Ava, your practical and sensible approach to spending money gives Grandpa hope that your generation will somehow avoid bankrupting the country before my Social Security runs out. Thank you, sweetheart.”

 


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Sunday, January 25, 2015

GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY


A Broadway bookie was given a parrot in lieu of cash payment. The bird's vocabulary included choice phrases in English, French, Spanish and German. Sensing a winner, the bookie hauled the bird off to his favorite bar.
"Speaks four languages," he said to the bartender, who snorted in disbelief. "Wanna bet this bird can speak four languages?" the bookie challenged.
Annoyed, the bartender finally agreed to a ten-dollar wager. The bookie turned to the parrot and said, "Parlez-vous Francais?" There was no response.
Nor was there any reply to the question in English, Spanish or German. The bartender picked up the bookie's sawbuck from the bar and went about his business.
On the street, the bookie glared at the bird. "You fink!" he exclaimed. "I've got ten bucks riding on you and you clam up on me. I oughta strangle you!"
"Don't be a jerk," the parrot replied. "Just think of the odds you'll get tomorrow."

Give my regards to Broadway,
Remember me to Herald Square;
Tell all the gang at 42nd Street,
That I will soon be there.
Whisper of how I'm yearning
To mingle with the old time throng;
Give my regards to old Broadway,
And say that I'll be there e'er long.

Give my regards to Broadway,
Remember me to Herald Square;
Tell all the gang at 42nd Street,
That I will soon be there.
Whisper of how I'm yearning
To mingle with the old time throng;
Give my regards to old Broadway,
And say that I'll be there e'er long.
Did you ever see two Yankees part upon a foreign shore?
When the good ship's just about to start for Old New York once more?
With tear dimmed eye, they say goodbye
They're friends, without a doubt;
When the man on the pier shouts, "Let them clear!"
As the ship strikes out.

Give my regards to Broadway!
Remember me to Herald Square!
Tell all the gang at Forty Second Street
That I will soon be there!
Whisper of how I'm yearning
To mingle with the old time throng!
Give my regards to Old Broadway
And say that I'll be there, 'ere long!

Give my regards to Broadway!
Remember me to Herald Square!
Tell all the gang at Forty Second Street
That I will soon be there!
Whisper of how I'm yearning
To mingle with the old time throng!
Give my regards to Old Broadway
And say that I'll be there, 'ere long!

I love Broadway, there is nothing like it!

Tell me you want to go to Broadway and I say: LET’S GO!

TLW (The Little Woman) wants to go see a comedy musical starring Tyne Daley, and I think there is nothing I would want to do but that.

Watching talent live is a wonderful gift that someone thought up long ago and I wish I could thank him. Maybe he is a Greek or Roman, but whoever he is, Thank you guy!

The singing, scenery, and dancing all draw me in, making me a recipient of a wonderful time. The lights go down and my anticipation goes up, everything in the world ceases to be as I watch the wonderful talent before my eyes transform me from the hum drum of life to the magical world of Broadway.

To hear a beautiful voice for the first time, to hear a funny line or maybe a new piece of music, all exciting and new to your ears, that is what Broadway is all about..





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Saturday, January 24, 2015

DON NA WORRY, BE ‘APPY!


A blonde went to buy a Pizza and after ordering, the assistant asked the blonde if she would like her pizza cut into six pieces or twelve. “Six please” she said, “I could never eat twelve!


One of the wonderful treats in life is finding people that you never met that leave a special light on in your life. In the course of my many years on this Earth, I have to say I have met many, and they help me shape my attitude.

One of the people was Dad, who most of the time was happy, he would joke, enjoyed a laugh even at his own expense. Sometimes he even did things that would crack up the whole family, traveling to Connecticut once, comes to mind.

Then there was the owner of this Italian restaurant named Dominic, who spoke with a heavy accent and when he did he really mangled the English language, but at least he gave it a shot. The word ‘Pope’ would come out ‘Poop’! Some days it was very difficult not to laugh in front of him.

Atza so NICE!
Recently I went out to try a new pizza place, and found one with a really interesting character, the man who made the pizza. He too had an accent that mangled the English language and looked a lot like Dominic! He immediately caught my attention, and gave me a new mantra.

As I ordered two eggplant sandwiches on a special bread they make, I waited and also asked for some garlic knots, one made with broccoli for TLW (The Little Woman) and one made with sausage for me, when all of a sudden, the pizza guy, amid rollicking insults from his co-workers in Italian, as he good naturally took them, placed a brown paper bag on the counter in what I though was so quickly it might not be my order!

“IS THIS MY ORDER?!” I asked.
“Si!”
“You have the garlic knots and two sandwiches in there?”
“Si!” and with a big grim says:
“DON NA WORRY, BE ‘APPY!” My new mantra!






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DO YOU WATCH THE BIG BANG THEORY?
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Friday, January 23, 2015

GETTING INTO HOT WATER



A man and his wife are in the shower together when the doorbell rings. The wife puts on a robe and goes down to answer the door.

In walks her husband’s friend Ben. The woman tells him her husband’s in the shower and asks if he can come back later. Instead, Ben steps in and quietly says, "I have $400 in my pocket. I’ll give it to you if you’ll open your bathrobe for me." She’s offended, but really needs the money so she agrees, opens her robe, and lets Ben have a quick peek before doing it up again. Ben gives her the $400, and she opens the door for him to leave, but he says, "I have another $400 in my other pocket. I’ll give it to you if you let me touch your breasts." Now she’s really mortified, but again, she needs the money, so she undoes her robe and lets him have a quick feel. Taking the other $400 from him, she lets him out the door.

Going back upstairs, she gets back in the shower with her husband, feeling a little bit guilty.

"Who was that?" the husband asks.

"Oh, that was just Ben," the wife answers.

"Ben?" the husband says. "That son of a bitch owes me 800 bucks!"

About 15 years ago I replaced my home heating system, so I know that it is too soon for it to go on me. However we all live in a little fear of that happening.

At night, I set the dishwasher to go on about 4:00 am so that it generates hot water for a nice hot shower. I would think most people do just that themselves for the same reason. Since TLW (The Little Woman) has been home with a leg in a boot and a cast before that, she was taking a shower every other day, and was unfamiliar with its habits. She expressed to me that she thought the water heater had died. I assured her it didn’t but she went into the basement to check the tank and it was warm on the bottom but cold on top.

Since we didn’t have any dishes to wash the other night, we didn’t run the shower for the next morning. I came home from my workout at the gym and noticed the kitchen faucet hot water was running and no one near it.

“Toots! The water is running!”

“Yes, I’m running it for your shower so you have hot water.” She replied.

I thought that very nice of her and at the same time a little strange, she was thinking of me that much, and so far in advance of what I’d do! Somehow it didn’t fit.

As we talked I went over to the water faucet and tested to see if the water was hot yet, and it was still running cold. HMMMM.

“Is it hot yet?” she inquired.

“NO, it is still cold!” I responded.

“Well, let it run for another 15 minutes.”

Hmmm… “Tell me, how did you think of running the water for me so I’d have a hot shower?” I asked. (My beady eyes were now penetrating her eyes to look for some answers.

“Well, actually I was going to take a shower and realized the water was going to run cold, so I thought I’d take one after you.” A sheepish grin was now hiding her face.

“So you would sacrifice your husband for a hot shower!”

“Well, you are supposed to be chivalrous.”

There’s a moral here boys and girls…

A HUSBAND SHOULD NEVER TRUST HIS WIFE WHEN IT COMES TO SHOWERING.

 


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DO YOU WATCH THE BIG BANG THEORY?
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

THE PARSLEY LADY


There are three construction workers on top of a building having lunch. One Italian, one Polish, and one Asian. The Italian has a meatball hero, the Asianl has noodles, and the Pole has kielbasa. The Italian and the Asian are tired of having the same lunches everyday. The Italian says that if he gets a meatball hero the next day that he will throw it off the building. The Asian says that if he gets noodles tomorrow he will also throw it off the building. The Pole says that if he gets kielbasa tomorrow he will throw it off the building. Sure enough the Italian and Asian workers open their lunch-boxes and they find that they have a meatball hero and noodles respectively. They both throw their lunches off the building. The Pole then throws his sandwich off the building. The other guys ask him how he knew that it was kielbasa again without even looking. He responded by saying: "Because I pack my own lunch."
My apologies to my Polish readers, this can be turned around you know. Tell it at an Italian funeral in New Jersey, or a Chinese New Year party in Manhattan.

Years ago while a youngster in Brooklyn, on a Sunday morning in most families in our Italian enclave, as you walked the streets, you could smell people making sauce. Every building seemed to have at least one Italian family in it and they all did the same thing, make the sauce for the Sunday meal and maybe for two more macaroni meals during the week.

Mom was no different and part of the custom with Mom like other mothers was to make meatballs and sausages and a thing called braciola, made from both beef and pork. It was delicious and I loved the pork one.

But to make these things you needed parsley, chopped and along with other things like pine nuts it helped season the inside roll, and Mom never had enough. So every Sunday, Mom would wait for me to come home from 9:00 am Mass and send me to the parsley lady, a dear woman who came from my Grandmother’s hometown in Italy. She was known as ‘A Gumada’. A Gumada was the point lady for parsley: they couldn't ship in parsley to our part of Brooklyn unless they gave half of it to her.

“JOOOOSEPH!”
“What Ma?”
“Go to A Gumada and ask her for some parsley!”

This was one of my favorite chores, because this lady we called A Gumada, was a beautiful wonderful and kind woman, who liked me for some reason.

Every Italian Bride has some in her wedding bouquet!
I would ring her doorbell and she would look down from her second floor apartment and see me. “”My mother said can she have some parsley?”
“Come uppa stairs”

Once in the apartment, I entered her huge kitchen and she would get some parsley, wrap it in a damp paper napkin and make me sit, have a piece of cake and give me some candy for my pocket.

The parsley lady: may she rest in peace.




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DO YOU WATCH THE BIG BANG THEORY?
You should, it makes your meatballs more meatier!

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