A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A Holiday Tradition

Growing up, Holiday meals with my Italian family were interesting events. There was always lots of food, lots of laughter and one important tradition. After dinner, usually over dessert and coffee, we would tell stories about my dad. He would be sitting there laughing along with us, sometimes just shaking his head.

Three of my favorites are The Lamp, The Washer, The Water Bucket.

The Lamp - my aunt and uncle moved to Tucson a couple of years after we did and bought a new house. They waited patiently for it to be built and finally they had the walk through, signed the papers, and were ready to move in. But, first they wanted to show it to my parents. My uncle was taking us on the grand tour and we got to the dining room. One of the new-fangled things many new houses had was a pull-down lamp over the dining room table. Not really sure of the purpose, but people thought they were cool (until they banged their heads a couple of time). So, when we got to my uncle's dining room, my dad said, "What a nice lamp. Is it pull-down?" Before my uncle could answer (the answer being "NO!"), my dad reached up and yanked on it. Nice and hard. Pulled the darn thing right out of the ceiling!! Broken lamp, plaster everywhere, the whole group just staring at the mess.

The Washer - my dad loved to do things around the house - build, repair, etc. Some projects worked out okay, but others were fraught with disaster. Okay, disaster is too big a word, but definitely fraught with, "oh, for pete's sake!!". One such time was when the washer broke. Turned out the hose was old and leaking. So dad carefully cut a hole in the wall to get to the hose. Bought some new tubing, carefully replaced it, cut a board that would fit the hole, sanded and painted it, and began to put everything back. This took the whole day and my mother was patiently waiting to wash the loads of clothes that were sorted and lying on the floor in anticipation. Finally dad put the board back on the wall, nailed it on, and managed to run one of the nails right through the new hose he had just installed!

The Water Bucket - we used to take a lot of road trips in our 1954 blue and white Olds (yes, it WAS my father's Oldsmobile). On one of our gas stops - this was back when the attendants actually pumped the gas, filled the radiator with water, etc. - we were done, dad paid, and then we drove out. The car seemed to hit a small bump and so dad backed up a little gunned the car a just a bit so we could go over the bump. We heard the station attendant yelling and saw him walking towards us. Couldn't hear him, so dad backed up. Ran into that same danged bump again but managed to get over it a second time. The attendant yelled again so dad rolled down the window. "My water bucket, you ran over my water bucket!!" the man was yelling. Dad apologized and offered to pay. The man said no and we drove away. I still remember looking out the back window and seeing that station attending sadly holding what can only be described as aluminum roadkill.


Jenni said...

Ha! I love the story of The Lamp. That is so Gramps. I can't believe you let him help install our ceiling fan after that!

Arlene said...

I had Thanksgiving dinner with an Italian family a few years back, and I can honestly say it was the most fun I've ever had! Not only was the entire family warm and welcoming, they picked on each other like crazy, laughing the whole time, and dinner included spaghetti!! Does it really get any better than that??