Since my birthday last week, I've been thinking a lot about Memories. Family Memories. I come from a big Italian family - my mother was one of 7 children and my father one of 6. Both sets of grandparents came from Italy with nothing.
My paternal grandfather (Pappy) was the only grandparent that I actually knew. All the rest had passed before I was born. Until he died and we saw his obituary in the paper, we all thought his name was Charlie. His given name was Michael, but when he came to America he was just a WOP (without papers) and they couldn't understand him so they called him Charlie and passed him through. This past January we had a 90th birthday party for my Uncle. The whole family came from all over. My aunt and uncle from CA, my brother and some cousins from FL, more cousins from NC, more cousins from DE -- you get the picture. The evening was all about memories, most happy, some sad.
I remember when Pappy was alive he lived with my Aunt and Uncle. We'd go over every Monday night for macaroni. Pappy always had butterscotch candy in his bottom dresser drawer. My sister, my cousin and I would go to see Pappy and get candy and he'd call us Miss Mud. We all thought it was a cute nickname, only to find out later that Pappy was 3 sheets to the wind and he called us Miss Mud because he couldn't tell who was who!
My sister lives in my Aunt and Uncle's house now. It amazes us how we used to sit 12 people around the dining room table on Monday nights and feast on macaroni, meetballs, sausage, bracciole and salad (at the end of the meal). I developed my affinity for a cocktail in those days. I'd get a sip of my father's whiskey sour before dinner, had my first sip of wine at that table and then after dinner, my cousin Charlie would slip us a shot a Galiano.
Of course, Pappy is long gone now. My parents are both gone now too. My uncle passed many years ago and Aunt a few years back after a battle with Alzheimers. But the great times we all shared together are very special. Now I make the gravy, meatballs, sausage and braccoile (ok, that I buy already made, but I cook it). We still sit around my Aunt's table, but it belongs to my sister now. And when we do, we tell my nieces the stories of when we were their age at that same table.
My brother lives in Florida now, so we don't get to spend holidays together. This year, my sister and I decided to fly down and spend Thanksgiving with him and my SIL and nieces and nephew. It will be the first holiday we've spent together, all 3 of us, in many years. I can't wait. (now watch, Clay's tour will be hitting NYC Thanksgiving weekend!)
P.S. -- the Yankees are pissing me off. I bet my boss (a Met fan) that they will have a better record than the Mets at the end of the season. Maybe, if someone accidentally breaks Randy Johnson's left pinkie finger, I'll win that bet.
P.P.S. --- 17 pounds lost!!!!