Woman of the Year.

Welcome back readers!! Happy Wednesday, Happy 2019, and Happy Everything!! I’m proud to say the first draft of the “Who Stole My Cannoli” book is almost finished, which means I can devote more time to the blog! I’ve been away from this space for a while and I could share a sad story of how I’m making a New Year’s resolution to focus on this blog but I won’t. In fact, simply put, I’m getting off my fat ass to do what I love and see where it takes me. As many of you know, my life is filled with crazy stories that have shaped me into the food loving, pleasantly plump, family man I am today. So if you will, take a minute to dive back into the “Who Stole My Cannoli” blog and give yourself a break from the world you live in.

During a recent daydreaming session, I was reaching back in the folds of my brain and reflecting back to a time when my biggest worry was how much sweat I was producing in the Florida sun. You know, like every other kid. No? Just me? Anyway, the first thought that came into my head was of my Nana, who happens to be one of the most important people in my life, especially during my childhood. Below is a picture of her on her wedding day, which is one of my favorite photos of her. Here is a woman who was a pioneer of her time, demanding that she wasn’t someones property and would live her life and raise her children the way she wanted. Coming from, and marrying into, a traditional Italian home, her way of thinking caused some waves but to be honest… it was her thing.  And still is! Nonetheless, to better give you an idea of what a typical day with Nana was, we must start with a rotisserie chicken.

Why this story came to mind tends to be a little hazy, maybe it was the cream puff I had just ate or the soft ticking of time that made me wonder back in the past. Honestly, whatever the reason, my brain was racing to get this down and share this gem of a story.

Food is at the epicenter of our family and what would any day be without it. However, true to form, my family takes it one step further. To set the stage, picture a slew of Italians in the local grocery store taking up the aisles, speaking in tongues, and practically hand-assaulting passerby’s as we talk to each other in the loudest voices possible. Scary huh? Well just wait, there’s more! My mom, Nana, and I end up by the deli where they had a giant rotisserie oven roasting about 14 chickens, which is very pertinent to the story, so remember that number. Nana’s turn at the deli counter comes up and she says to the clerk “I would like a pound of salami, a pound of provolone, and all of your rotisserie chickens.” “All of the chickens?” the deli clerk responds. Nana snaps back, “Yes, ALL of them.” At this point the clerks eyes were wider than the state of Texas as she claps back, “Well I’m sorry but you can’t have them all.” That’s when the hole to hell opened up and I made the sign of the cross because that woman’s soul was about to be in peril. Without hesitation Nana exclaimed, “Excuse me!? I will ask you again… I would like all of your chickens and I would like them now, please.” To my Nana “asking” was really more of a polite demand and I mean, she did say please. Then, as if out of thin air, we heard a beeping coming from behind us as if a small truck were backing up. As I spun around an elderly man, about 200 hundred years old, came slowly creeping in his scooter and stopped right next to my Nana. In between oxygen tank-laden gasps, and big sad eyes, he says, “Ma’am, do you think I could have a chicken to take home?” And as if time stood still for a second, we all held our breaths, while Nana looked down and sternly, but somehow politely, said, “I’m very sorry but you’ll have to get your own.” With that, my mom ran over and started scolding my Nana telling her that she didn’t need all that food and asking who she was planning to feed with all the chickens. Nana simply responded that she “Needed to have backup food in the freezer for when family or unexpected guests visit and if there’s an emergency.” A pile of rotisserie chickens are essential in a pinch. Sounds legit, right?  Eventually my mom convinced Nana to part with a chicken but to add insult to injury, as we walked away with 13 rotisserie chickens, Nana looks at the frail man and says, “You’re welcome sir!” Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes when I see a rotisserie chicken, I can hear the soft sounds of pumping oxygen and the faint beeping of a grocery store scooter.

As it was in most of my childhood, the community may not have known my Nana but they sure never forgot her after the first encounter! So I say, who else better to be named Woman of the Year but the one who sacrificed a single rotisserie chicken to answer the plea of a scooter-bound gentleman. Don’t get me wrong, my Nana is one of the best souls on this earth and would move mountains for her loved ones. Although if you ever plan to dip into her food reserves, you might want to think that one through.

Stay tuned for another installment of “Who Stole My Cannoli?” and please follow and share this blog if you found it as amusing as I find my life!

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