BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
I remember the day clearly in the 1950’s. Brooding clouds threatened our trip as we piled into our wood paneled station wagon.
“Hurry, we have a long way to go!” Daddy yelled as we bustled into our seats.
Over hills and mountains our German family of twelve children trekked from Glenville, West Virginia to Lake Parsippany, New Jersey to visit our Italian friends the Macchiaverna’s. It felt like it took forever. It was a long, grueling trip.
“How much longer, Daddy?”
“I have to go to the bathroom!”
“I’m hungry,” Harry said.
“Not much longer,” Daddy reassured us.
Many hours later, I remember pulling into our friend’s driveway. Daddy set rules for us–no screaming, no fighting, no teasing….
“You are to be on your best behavior!” Mother said. “Use your manners!”
I remember our dear friend, Mrs. Macchiaverna, opening the front door and greeting us. “Have some sodas, creme or root beer.” Burgundy wine was for adults only.
“Come into the dining room and find your seats.” Mr. Macchiaverna announced, his eyes twinkling.
His daughter Louise said we would be eating antipasto with Italian bread. I took a bite of my bread. It tasted like it was fresh from the oven. JoAnne, Mary Beth and I finished our antipasto quickly, but soon had frowns on our faces. The dishes were cleared. We thought that was dinner.
Soon, my friend Josephine walked into the dining room with bowls of chicken soup with fine noodles. Florence helped set the bowls in front of us. My younger sisters Judy, Cathy, Debbie, Bobbi and Lori had bright smiles on their faces. My brothers Harry, Richard, Tom and David dug into their bowls. Daddy glanced their way, encouraging them to slow down. Not a slurp remained in our bowls.
Macaroni dishes, which included ravioli, lasagna and manicotti, were placed on the table. We helped ourselves.
Mr. Macchiaverna presented the meat course, meatballs, braciole (stuffed steak), neck bones and sausage. Ah, that was more like it–food!
Mrs. Macchiaverna brought on the next serving of salad dotted with fennel, celery, and olives.
Toasted chestnuts, baked at 350 degrees for one half hour, delighted our senses as we peeled and munched. I was surprised at the pleasing sweet taste lingering on my tongue.
We rested, our tummies bulging, as we patted our bellies. Satisfying grins shone on our faces.
Fresh fruit bowls filled with grapes, bananas, oranges, figs, and apples were placed on the table.
Cakes and pies sat tall on pedestal plates. Zabaglione (egg yolks, sugar,
orange zest, Grand Marnier and heavy whipped cream) completed our dinner.
Mother and Daddy enjoyed espresso (Medaglia D’Oro) in demitasse cups. Lemon twists, Sambuca and Anisette were offered. Drambuie cordials were served to the adults in tiny glasses.
It was an Easter surprise and an Italian feast to treasure! But what I remember most was the closeness of family and friends squeezed around a tiny table.
It’s spring---and the bears and birds are back---