A month ago my dear Aunt Carmella died.
Neither unexpected nor tragic.

Of course I went to the funeral.
On the morning of her burial, I was at the funeral home, hanging out with Auntie’s daughter, my dear cousin, Joan.
A wonderful woman.
She and I close all of our lives.
She a nurse, working full-time, plus caring for her mother, bringing up her family, and bringing up her nephews and nieces, taking everything in stride.
Never complaining, Joan.
Accepting all of the trials life presented her.

That morning, hanging w her at the funeral home, very strange.
Joan was distracted, hardly finishing a response, eyes constantly scanning her large family.
This tete a tete odd throughout.
That was a month ago.
Or so.

Then yesterday I get a call from my cousin Michael.
Never a good thing.
While Mike and I were good cousins, full of love, we had different orbits.
So a call from Michael not a good thing.
And in the event, it wasn’t.
Cousin Joan passed.
Very ill, she.
We commiserated.

Then the sadness.
As per Michael, Joannie had told her children to be sure to contact me.
Cousin Dom.
Because she wanted to be sure I attended her funeral.
And had lunch with our circle of cousins.
A lunch she obviously was constructing in her mind.
The first such cousins’ lunch she wouldn’t be attending.

Be sure cousin Dom was notified.
“I want to be sure he comes.
“Because he didn’t come to my mother’s funeral.”

What a chill!
My cousin Joannie spending some moments of her last few thinking I had ignored her mother’s passing.
No! Joannie.
I was there with you.

My eyes filled.
How could I explain?
I couldn’t, the point.


Today is Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my sixty-seventh consecutive daily posting.

It’s 5.50am
And lovely weather.
I’m at my desk.
Dinner is Chicken Cacciatore with a twist that simplifies and dramatically improves the classic approach. Recipe in queue.

On TV:  “Black Stallion,” a 1979 American adventure film based on the 1941 classic children's novel The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. It tells the story of Alec Ramsey, who is shipwrecked on a deserted island with a wild Arabian stallion whom he befriends. After being rescued, they are set on entering a race challenging two champion horses.

The film is adapted by Melissa Mathison, Jeanne Rosenberg and William D. Wittliff, directed by Carroll Ballard, and stars Kelly Reno, Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr, Hoyt Axton, and the Arabian horse Cass Ole. The film features music by Carmine Coppola, the father of Hollywood producer Francis Ford Coppola, who was the executive producer of the film.

Readers’ Comments

Sally from Sally’s Corner on website.

Hi, Dom,

Your ode to The Gravy makes me think of the Friday supper fish fries of my youth.  I raise them to the same heights of your Gravy.

Like you, I was raised Catholic, so again, there was no eating on Sunday until we got back from church.  My mother usually put a roast into the oven before we left, on low heat, so it would be fall-apart and succulent, sticky and moist, when we got home.  Then it was just a matter of boiling potatoes and cooking up a vegetable or two, and the meal was ready, generally around 2 pm.

But Friday's fish fry!  Now, just the thought of that makes my mouth water today.  We lived in South Berwick, Maine, a small town (then and now), and we were two miles out in the country.  We had a milk man (whose name I don't remember), an egg man (Mr. Schindler who lived half a mile away), a vegetable man (a jolly Russian from down the road whom we called Angie, who came around with his cart during the summer), and a fish man who came in his truck on Friday mornings. I don't remember his name either, but he'd pull into the driveway and my mother would go out and inspect his wares. He'd scale the whole fish and fillet what she wanted, right there on the tailgate of the truck.  During the summer, we kids would all be home and we'd gather around, too, for he'd give us the tails of the fish to play with. For some reason, my brothers and I thought it really cool to put those tails into our mouths and run around the yard pretending to be fish swimming backwards. When the scales got too much in our mouths, we'd rinse out at the spigot, wash the tails, and do it again.

Back to the fish fry:  We weren't wealthy (we weren't poor, either), so my mother got the more economical fish - haddock went for 17 cents a pound at that time. She'd get several pounds (a dollar or two expense), cut the fish into square chunks, and deep-fry the whole mess, so there'd be a stack of golden blocks piled a foot high on a large platter come supper-time.  We could eat our fill and the pile would hardly diminish.  The remainder lived in the fridge for another couple days, available to any of us needing a snack at any time. Oh, glorious, fried fish!

Web Tweaks
Reports that the google email address still is not working.
I will see to it on Friday.

Today’s Post
The missing Mickies

The purpose of these stories is to share with each other those wonderful experiences and happy times growing up in the North End. We all have many, you know them: holidays, dancing, dating, hanging out, sports and those that are private and unprintable. Because most anecdotes will be covered by the aforementioned, I selected an experience of mine that was bizarre, maybe supernatural. I will explain, you decide. So come along and enter the twilight zone as I take you to the fall of 1957.

At that time, I was attending the Michelangelo Jr. High. Because we were Catholics in a public school, we were required to attend Christian learning classes at St. Leonard’s Church. Every Tuesday, promptly at 1.00pm. Father Edmond and his aide, Stanley, would arrive, congregate the 40 or so guys, and escort them to the Parish Hall. That’s when the phenomenon started.

As we proceeded down Charter St. onto Salem St., taking lefts and rights on different streets, at each turn the guys started disappearing. First, Murray, Louie Sforrza and Toto were gone. Johnny Brad, Gumpsy Scarpicchio, Guy G. and Buddy Micelli vanished. As we turned into Tileston St., Guso, Frankie Marino, Alie Federico, and Richie Gambale were no where to be found. The ranks dwindled as we neared the parish. Suddenly, Carlo De Luca who was to my side seemed to vaporize. I then became alarmed. I tried to find Chippa Venuti, Joe “Delie” Deliberti and Ritchie Fan, but failed.

Finally arriving at church, no more than 3 or 4 survived. Fr. Edmond was unmoved. He was composed. His aide, standing to his right was transfixed, mute. They were both oblivious to the voids left by the trip. Were they under a spell, demonized? What happened? Why was I spared? Did my Guardian Angel, which I earned for spending 9 years at St. Anthony’s, save me? After dismissal the bizarre events continued. Miraculously, the guys suddenly reappeared. First, at Carlo’s poolroom, then Minnie’s, Mazza’s was next. Roger’s, Pegleg’s, Fiore’s, followed. I couldn’t believe it! Thank you Lord, they’re safe.

Fortunately, we lost no one that year. Our class, 9 C-208, celebrated the outcome with a prayer we composed. Let me share: Let us pray.

Dear Lord, Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray to you my soul you’ll keep
If I should die before I wake,
Bet a dime on 208.

Sammy Viscione
Michelangelo Jr. High
Class of 1958

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God bless!
Be good.
Be well.
Love you.