Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The best experiences in life are usually unplanned. First, some background:

It has become a tradition on my trips back home (Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey) for me and my dear friend Obie (Wilmington) to travel to south Philadelphia early Sunday afternoon to visit my cousin Danny and his brother Joe who comes down from central NJ. After a few glasses of wine, some cheese, bread, and other goodies, we go to our favorite cafe at 6th and Bainbridge for the best martinis and crepes east of the Mississippi river. I called Danny a few weeks ago to let him know I would be back east this past weekend and we arranged for our usual outing. Before leaving on Sunday I called Danny to let him know that our friend Hal would be joining us. It took only a few minutes of phone time for me to know that he had forgotten about our visit, and had planned on a dinner at home with Linda (Danny’s saintly wife), daughter Michelle, Joe, and their sister Emily and one of her friends from the convent.

After letting him hang on his own forgetfulness for awhile, I declined his invitation to join them and said that we would be coming for a brief visit before going off to the cafe and would not disrupt his family plans. Now I knew all along that Linda would not allow us to leave their house, and was not surprised - or embarrassed- when she insisted we stay for dinner, telling me she had already started cooking for us. I only hope I can do justice in describing what followed.

First, there was the usual wine, bread, hot peppers, and cheese. But in addition she set out a plate of broccoli rabe that 48 hours later still haunts my taste buds. Just when I thought it could not be any better, a platter of small lamb chops, broiled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar appeared, and then I knew...yes Virginia, there is a heaven.

And the day only got better. For about two hours we enjoyed the company, the wine, and Danny’s vodka martinis. (Danny, Joe, and Emily’s parents are both gone. Their father was my mother’s brother, and they lived together with 2 other brothers when they were teenagers how that came to be is another story.)

Then the call came, Linda telling everyone to find a place at the table, and the serious dinning began. Before us were bowls of ravioli. fettuccini, meatballs, pork and beef from the gravy, and salad. And the feast began, with Pavarotti and others filling the room, the conversation and laughter flowed as easily as the wine. It was truly a most wonderful day. I do believe that their was love in everyone's eyes as we relished Linda’s food and each other’s company.


laurie said...

yummeeeee! For all that, I'd agree that the cafe could wait til another time!
I'm glad you had such a great time :-)
(that's how I feel when I come to your house!)

timerulesmylife said...

That's awesome!!

Terry Banderas said...

Sounds good when you talk about food, wine, people and fun. We just returned from San Diego where we saw old friends, drank, ate and talked about old times. We had such a good time plus we saw my niece get married. I remember her as a little girl laying her head on my lap while I rubbed her face. Now she is a grown woman and married. Happy and sad for us.

GALLERY kuma said...

I have enjoyed seeing your work, it is good. myself from new jersey, i enjoy going to lovely art galleries & antique shops in lambertville & new hope (NJ/Pa). it has an old world charm to the place with lot of creative energy & good food. Just a visit can keep one wanting to come back again & again.

Lesley Rigby said...

Well, Pavarotti was just the "Icing on the cake" wasn't he? What a wonderful picture of happiness you painted!