Wednesday, November 23, 2016


It is cold and windy outside today, 37 degrees worth of chill, shiver and glad I'm inside retirement. It is really the perfect day for as TLW (The Little Woman) says: "comfort foods" and I will go a little better and say comfort days.

Many years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn, that place where I grew up, days like today were memorable. Coming home from school, walking the 4 blocks and climbing the stairs, a glow on the end of my nose, I would enter the house and smell chicken soup. I can still see the large onion slices and carrots as Mom poured them into the pot along with the chicken. After a while, the whole place seemed alive as we smelled the soup come together.

By 5 o'clock, Mom would send me out to the grocery store to purchase some Italian bread, hard and crusty, not like the crap they seem to be selling today. The kitchen lights would come on, and the world was getting better as the time ticked away!

Mom: Joseph, set the table." Was Mom's dictate and so I happily did it, almost dancing around the mesa. Suddenly the doorbell from two flights down rang, Dad was home, let him in. He would climb the two flights, take off his fedora and long coat and place them on the dining room end chair where they would stay until morning when he would return to work.

Life was always conducted around the kitchen table. We ate there, did our homework there, Dad paid the bills there and any business including serious conversations was conducted at the kitchen table. Guests arrived and were placed in the seat of honor at the end of the table, Dad's spot, where we entertained our guests.

But on days like today, after Dad was settled in from work, the bread sliced and the plates filled, Dad would pour the wine and we would begin conversations that had to do with each of us. Each person from Dad on down to me would contribute, and it was during these periods that I learned that if I was to survive, I needed to be good or quick.

Ah, the soup! Pastina sometimes and sometimes D'Italini, always good and hearty, the chunks of chicken falling away in the yellow and orange broth, floating and smelling so good!

Funny how the weather can bring back such memories, such joy and gladness, and so much love.


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