…or more aptly titled, “The Day of 1,000 Meatballs”!
Those of you that follow this blog know that my Aunt Flo passed away in May 2013. We celebrated my Aunt’s life, remembering her with stories and jokes and reminiscing of all of our collective memories of and with her. A lit of wine and tears but it was a true celebration.
At that time, my cousin Colleen asked my mother if she would teach her how to make her mother’s meatballs – my Aunt Flo and my mom had a few recipes in their repertoires – their meatballs being a shared one. My mom agreed and we planned to schedule the “Meatball Fest”.
This past Saturday, we drove to my cousins’ home down the Jersey shore with all the Brooklyn fixings for a pasta and meatball (sauce included) feast; picked my mom up on the way.
It was one of the best days ever!
My mom was throwing her “weight” around, telling my cousins and me what to do. Jokes flying back and forth – “You haven’t cooked in fifteen years, how are you going to tell us how to make meatballs?” John made sure my mom had a “cold beer” at her fingertips, staying cold in a wine chiller as she gave us direction and sampled the fixings. “Not enough of this…”, “Too much garlic”, “Cook them longer” – she was full of them! We stood around mixing the ingredients, rolling the meatballs they way our mothers and grandmother had, the “men folk” hung around, waiting for something to eat. “I knew I needed something… oh yeah, more wine” was heard throughout the day.
The neat thing was this…
We spent time as we had when things were simpler, less busy and more fun. My family always knew how to do things with great “heart”. When we laughed, we laughed heartily. When we fought, we fought the good fight. But we could always come together and enjoy each other’s company. And we could have fun like no one else.
My mom said many times during the course of the day, “It’s not easy”. She is usually referring to putting up with me teasing her or telling her to “be nice”. All in good fun but she likes to tell people that it isn’t easy for the sake of conversation. It was easy this Saturday family get-together; albeit some of our missing family members, my dad and Colleen & Pat’s mom, but we knew they were there. My cousin spoke of a trip to Italy and waiting for a sign from her mom to let her know that it was all right for her to be where she was and to enjoy herself. – her husband pointed out a street sign that gave direction to another town they were near. “Guadagno”, which was our grandmother’s maiden name – sign enough for all of us.
I don’t know if anyone else saw the same sign I did but as I sat at the dinner table for a bowl of pasta with a few meatballs, I thought of how simple things would be if everyone just took a day, did something they never did before with people they haven’t spent enough time with in forever. You begin to see each other in a different light – with everything else stripped away, just a good old time, wine and meatballs for all!