A Short Story Long or Stealing Is Wrong

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The plate on the right is the average sized dinner plate. The plate on the left, and newly acquired, is bigger…fits today’s oversized portions. But portions and size isn’t what this blurb is all about.

This is about a plate that was intentionally (and rather joyfully!) stolen from the ristorante where it eclectically held PIZZA MARGUERITA in front of me on the table. Oh, the pizza was sooooo good but the plate served more than its function and in a way was more delicious to my senses than the pizza!

The plate is restaurant porcelain china, HOMER LAUGHLIN to be exact. It is very durable and though not FINE china, it is still very pleasing to the eye. Its background is off white with a garland of pink flowers. I’m sure this design reminded Mama of St. Theresa and her love of roses…

The delicate design on this plate is the same one on our restaurant china which my family used while I was growing up. My Uncle Pete used these in a restaurant he used to have and gave my father a service for 10. I still have 6 of the dinner plates, 6 of the bread and butter plates and seven cups and saucers. I am from a family of nine so even having this many after DECADES of use is amazing to me. I have them on my shelves and use them when it is just five or six of us for dinner. I love them!

So, today, on seeing the LARGE dinner plate in front of me, a dozen memories from growing up came back to me. Now I had to have this oversized plate like Mama’s to show my brothers and sisters! I’ll serve them fresh bread and olives on this plate and they will melt from nostalgia!

Being with my daughter and son-in-law made things (like stealing!) a little more uncomfortable than it would have been if I had been alone or with my husband. They kind of understood about the LIFT, and left a bigger tip and a promise to go back for dinner one evening…without me and my sticky fingers.

I’m not a thief. I have never really stolen anything in my life (and I am 64!) except for a few plates. I justified my actions using “LOVE” for the motive and Love for the excuse to do something inexcusable.

No excuses.

I know this is wrong but sometimes it goes beyond right or wrong. (Lax conscience once again kicking in!)

It is not like murder or grand theft or destruction of property…I am not a chronic clepto!

I feel guilty about taking the plate, yet even while writing this I feel so happy for taking the plate.

Am I happier today with the plate than I was yesterday without it?

Why did I take it?

Maybe because it was a reminder, just a simple little reminder from a time and place that I miss…

For a moment I was back on Teppert St. For a moment I was back home in our Italian kitchen (basement) having Mama’s ravioli, Daddy’s Peppers and Pork and Grandma’s special birthday torte on a restaurant white and pink floral designed plate. People I loved served love on these plates to the people they loved.

Not nice to steal…

One day I will return the plate…actually plates. Until then…

They make me smile.

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Love lifts us up

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My sister Irene and her husband Danny are in Iceland and then will be off to Norway for a wedding. They are also celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary with this adventure.

Dear cousins of mine are in Chicago and will celebrate their son’s marriage tomorrow.

The squirrels are building nests and gathering acorns. It seems these little critters have no rest…

While sipping my morning coffee I thought about last night’s sunset and how vivid pink and gold the sky was! The moon was almost half full and so bright in the evening sky. The moon made me think of Irene and Danny in Iceland and if they had seen the moon last night. The moon made me think of Kathy and Chuck and if they will catch the waxing moon tonight after the rehearsal dinner…

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God”. Gerard M. Hopkins

The world at any given moment, in any given space, in all its glory or in all its shame, exists because of God. We exist because of Him.

He created us from Love…to love.

Truth. Beauty. Love.

“ALL THAT I HAVE SEEN TEACHES ME TO TRUST THE CREATOR FOR ALL THAT I HAVE NOT SEEN”. R.W. EMERSON

Beauty places us in the arms of Love…then Love lifts us up to know the Truth.

Glacier and lava rocks in Iceland, St. Michael’s Catholic Church in old Chicago and an even older Catholic Church in Norway (1150 AD), a squirrel’s nest in an oak tree on my front lawn, sunshine on my patio this morning…I am in HIS arms of Love.

WE are in HIS arms of love…

Beauty beauty everywhere…replenish. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. It will always be about LOVE. Celebrate!

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The 1150 AD Catholic Church in Norway.

Don’t blink!

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Sometimes I’ll see something inspiring, something beautiful, something I couldn’t explain with even a thousand words…

And in the time it takes to get my camera, the moment is diminished…sometimes lost and soon forgotten…

Like today’s early morning sun on the top of my lilies which grace the patio…it was truly a prayer, a gift given for just a moment or two!

Boom! It was vibrant! Then literally, in a blink, it became more ordinary…still beautiful, but not saying in its reflection what it had told me just seconds before.

Just a couple of weeks ago while at my summer cottage, and while attending Mass at St. Francis De Sales Parish, another such moment as the one with the “sun on my lilies” was given to me. It was during the SIGN OF PEACE.

A very elderly woman shook my hand and then pertly gave me a wink and a smile. Immediately I felt her love and a message.

Oh I could have quickly dispelled it in a SEINFELDIAN way as a twitch I suppose, but I knew it was more than that. Her smile gave the wink credibility and purpose. She wanted to say so many things, but her wisdom (given to her through longevity of years) told her a wink would suffice.

Her smile became young. Her blue eyes though worn and pale from years on this earth, seemed to sparkle after the wink…my heart and soul sparkled after her wink.

All gifts are given.

In a blink some beautiful moments pass…and sometimes through a wink, in the time it takes to blink,
some beautiful things are spoken in volumes and never forgotten.

First garden tomato, garlic, flannel and Sinatra

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First tomato from the garden. I placed it on the countertop.

So little, so alone. It needed a friend.

Garlic.

Garlic and tomatoes go together like Romeo and Juliette…like Chianti and pasta…Sinatra and love songs.

And how could I see the two together, the tomato and garlic that is, and not think of my Grandpa and my Dad and my father-in-law, Pete. These men made the best sauce from these two ingredients! Adding olive oil, basil, salt and pepper they made the best sauce you could ever serve with a barbecued steak! Now I’m drooling!

In a few days there will be enough fresh tomatoes on the vine to pick and then concoct the “sauce”…until then I have a little sewing to do.

I have my sewing machine set up in the garage today…

The fans are blowing morning air around my face while my “playlist” is creating a soothing sense of thanksgiving for having been raised in an era when love songs were just that…songs about LOVE…real LOVE. THAT’S ALL. What an incredible love song…”I can only give you love that lasts forever, and a promise to be near each time you fall, and the heart I own for you and you alone”.

My daughter Emily is expecting her third child next month (my eleventh Grandchild). I’m making some flannel blankets for baby girl Fairchild. I’m hoping she is born a few days early on August 10, my Grandmother’s birthday! And, I’m kind of hoping Filomena is her name…St. Filomena was my Grandma’s favorite Saint! P.S. I LOVE YOU.

Even if she is born on the 14th of the month and they name her Odette, she will definitely hear about all her family who were also born in the month of August. And, she will hear old love songs from my playlist as she grows up…lyrics her Great Great Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins all fell in love to and with and how a song can turn a simple pasta meal into a sacrament. She will hear about favorite saints and favorite family recipes and who made what the best and what the worst! Baby girl Fairchild will also hear about gardens and tomatoes and how fresh grown tomatoes are like GOLD and taste like Heaven! She will hear about the full moon on Christmas Eve…

Cousin Larry, Great Great Uncle Roger, Grama Brenda, Great Great Grama Theresa, Great Great Grama Antonia, cousin Luca, cousin Angelo, St. Monica…St.Augustine…crickets chirping…daylight shortening…sunflowers…lots of garden tomatoes…being Italian…French…English…Irish…

DANNY BOY…geeze, Harry Connick sings this song beautifully. SANCTA LUCIA…MIA BAMBINA CARO…PUCCINI…GLEN MILLER…ELLA FITZGERALD…SINATRA…

ALL MY TOMORROWS…”As long as I’ve got arms that cling at all, it’s you I’ll be clinging to”…who sings this better than Frank?

Garden tomatoes. Love songs. Flannel blankets. Tony Bennet.
“TIME IS SO OLD…and LOVE SO BRIEF. LOVE IS PURE GOLD and TIME A THIEF…our summer’s day withers away too soon…too soon!”

A little yellow grape tomato. A head of garlic. A new little baby is coming soon. Soft flannel pink blankets. The sewing machine is whirring. Love songs are playing. Lyrics are bringing to mind, heart and soul beautiful memories of loved ones from the past! Yes I hear them singing along and reminding me that whether it’s an ingredient we add to a sauce or the secret “fertilizer” we use in the garden, or an old love song that describes perfectly how we fell in love, these things in life will always be about the unique way each one of us loved and how we were uniquely loved by others. ALWAYS ABOUT LOVE.

As I unplugged the sewing machine and while the song “MOONGLOW” was playing, I thought I heard Great Great Grama Bolone say to me, “I am cheering for the name FILOMENA!”

Okay…okay…just saying. lol

Cosmos

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Like when Horton heard a who…this Cosmos sent a “BOO”… WAKE UP!…Corn is as high as an elephant’s eye…crickets soon we will hear…the Ides of july…August is near…what to fear… seize the day…make hay while the sunshines and the flowers bloom…tis summer! a time to be gay!

 

 

 

 

 

My Country tis of me, oops, I mean Thee

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WHAT IS GOING ON AMERICA????????

People cheering on a woman who is rambling on and on against Texas abortion limits?

ABORTION LIMITS?

Who would ever have thought there’d be the day when a child could be ripped from its mother’s womb and they’d call it “CHOICE”!

Against human nature. Abortion is a crime. Evil incarnate.

Red, white and blue…some have made a mockery of you.

Amazing grace…one nation under God. What have we become.

Look, it’s a bathroom, no, it’s a kitchen…no, it’s my Garage!

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Sunday. Sunday dinner. We gather together to reconnect and to enjoy each other’s company while relishing something delicious from my kitchen.

Normally we gather around tables in my dining and living room area. But in the summer, if the weather permits, we will eat outside or in the summer kitchen, aka, the garage.

Yes, usually a garage is for protecting your car from the elements, but if you have an ounce of Italian blood running through your veins, a garage is for entertaining…

While I was on my way to my “l’estate cucina” (summer kitchen in Italian) to set things up for this afternoon’s Sunday Dinner, I had to chuckle at this big room that makes no sense from an INTERIOR DECORATOR’s eye. But, how poetically beautiful it is to me and my family.

How to describe this place…this room…hmmmm…

First, there are two big tables. Both from my childhood home on Teppert St. in Detroit. One is a huge Duncan Phyfe table given to my Mom from a dear neighbor, and the other is a more modern formica topped round table Mama had purchased in the late 60’s. Then there is Grandpa Pete’s antique 1912 National Cash Register he used for many years in his Barber Shop. That hefty relic which only tallies a grand total of 3.00 adorns the countertop while a plethora of used San Marzano tomato cans (I use these for vases!) grace the shelves which store even more trinkets necessary to run a smooth kitchen. A POTATO RICER which is a must for making GNOCCHI, a FOOD MILL, favorite bowls, and wooden blocks that spell out BABE and THERESA. BABE and THERESA are my parents who have passed away physically but spiritually remain alive in our hearts…especially when we are in the kitchen…in the garage…eating spaghetti with Mama’s sauce and tossed salad with ceci beans!

Also, there is an Antique stained glass window depicting St. Bartholomew (patron Saint of hospitality) which hangs in the 6X9 foot picture window my Uncle roger gave to Daddy because this room needed more LIGHT. Then why stop with one window…Daddy knocked out another wall and installed a bay window…and a door wall! This room is well lit! For festive days there are lights, Christmas lights (strategically hung on the rafters with care) the old fashioned 4 watt bulbs that glow colors and feelings which say in their beaming, “Yes, this is what life is all about.” Actually, AMORE is what life is all about, but lights have a way of saying that in a special way. In Italy, instead of saying it with flowers, they say everything with lights…and flowers, too!

There are chandeliers hanging from the tall ceiling in the garage which were no longer needed inside my home. One is from a famous restaurant from the downtown Detroit area which closed and had a GARAGE SALE! Like, it was meant to be hanging in our garage…Mama carried this monstrocity four blocks to the car…it was something she had to have! We love it, too!

There are bookshelves filled with books, no! Bookshelves filled with bar glasses and games…

Well, I only meant to post a pic of an old bathroom sink sitting in an old Italian spirited garage. The beauty of the worn porcelain sink being used as a potato bin struck me hard this morning. The rose painted mural Emily painted around the door for Theresa’s Wedding Shower with the sink my father-in-law used in his barber shop and then used in his garden to rinse his vegetables every summer (Yes, this too, was in the garage!) made me realize the whimsy of life…the beauty of some old things used in lovingly new ways.

YIKES! It’s time to get ready for Mass and check “Mama’s sauce” simmering on the stove…

I’ll set the table later…wondering which linen tablecloth to use today. The white one which echoes cheers from the past, or the red, white and blue one which will hide the sauce dribbles…

HAPPY SUNDAY…from my garage, my beautiful Italiano cucina, to yours!