Winnie and Tom

For the past couple of years at this time, we visit our dear friends at the place they rent, located at the corner of the Atlantic Ocean and the north end of Island Beach State Park at the Jersey Shore.  Winnie and Tom's funny bones are in sync with ours, and when ever we get together, its a laugh a minute, from subject to subject.  We're grateful for this, because they belong to a club which no parent should:  those who have lost a child.  

I always feel my wacky behavior is put to best use when their sides ache from my antics.  At my best, I can be a supplement for high blood pressure and stress reduction.

We arrived at the rented condo mid afternoon last Wednesday, without any commotion like occurred before our arrival last year.  At that time, a woman had gone onto to the dunes to change out of her wet suit, without seeing (or caring that) Tom was on the overlooking balcony.

"Could you tell if she dyed her hair?" I asked.

Laughter from Tom and Winnie, dagger eyes from Genna, my wife.

This year the only thing to discuss when we arrived was what we were going to start drinking.  After an hour or so, we put together an order for pickup at Berkeley Restaurant and Fish Market in South Seaside Park, NJ.  Great place, the seafood is fresher than I was to most of my old girlfriends, and Nick put together our order of  2 lb. lobsters, scallops, steamer clams, corn, potato salad, and cole slaw.

I almost suffered a minor injury trying to sample the size of one of the steamer clams.  I didn't see the blue claw crab in the box to guard the clams, and he took a swipe at me.

Tom and I returned to the condo with our cooked feast, and for the next three hours ate, drank, and laughed into a stupor.  Actually, just Genna ate for the next three hours, while the other three of us drank and laughed.  She had collected everyone else's tiny lobster legs, and tediously drew out all the meat, oblivious to the time versus reward aspect of her effort.

The heavy salt air helped us decide to retire early, which caused me to get up earlier, and see the sunrise from the balcony.

After the rest of the troop became functional, we headed to a buffet breakfast a few blocks away, then packed the car, and headed for home.

Showing Winnie and Tom a good time was one thought I had.  The other was, I could get used to this, I really miss the ocean.


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  2. Dear John,

    You seem to have a touch of Italian humor in you. Is there any of that region in your bloodstream?


  3. Hi Wella!

    You're good! I'm half Italian on my mother's side, the family originally from Tuscany. Scroll down my blog, and you'll see stories about my Nana, a VERY funny lady.


  4. Dear Giovanni,

    The Tuscany Region, eh? The capital of which is Firenze, I believe? Has anyone in the family been named after that City of the Arts? It is sometimes a custom for the Italians to do so ;-)


  5. Wella,

    Actually, my mother had a cousin named Florence. Aside from all the priceless artwork, the other thing I associate with Florence are the miles and miles of girasoles (sunflowers) as you approach the city. Breath taking.

  6. Dear John,

    It seems that the Italian people had another intriguing custom when they lived in their two-story casas....When someone came to the door, they would open the windows and throw down the keys if the visitors were welcome....

    I came across this poem in a little-known book of Italian romantic poetry. Here's the rough translation:

    "As I kneel before your door,
    In the garlic-fragrant breeze,
    My serenade is sweet,
    As I wait upon my knees
    For you to open unto me
    And put my heart at ease,
    I sing to the heavens and to you:
    "Louise, throw down the keys!"

    Poetry-loving Wella

  7. Wella, my new pen pal!

    Those Italians do have a way with words, especially poetry.

    Being fair skinned (most Tuscans are), I've come upon numerous slurs, referring to wops and guineas, to which I would reply,
    "I'm Italian, and when your ancestors were throwing rocks at trees, mine were writing poetry."

    That usually got a blush, and an apology.

    What a wonderful poem, and here's the kicker: my Grandmother's name was Louisa.

  8. Dear Gio,

    With regards to your previous posts, you said your mom had a cousin named Florence. Is your Florence still around? I had a cousin named Florence, too, and I'm not sure if she's still with us. Interestingly enough, I also had an aunt named Louise! What a coincidenza....

    How about those grape arbors that our Italian families had in their back yards?

    I had a great-grandfather who made good use of the fruits of his labor filling a big oak barrel with....uh...fermented grape juice! He'd bring it out on special occasions....but for him, every day was a special occasion!

    He even entertained his friend, the Great Caruso, at his humble abode and probably brought out the best samples of his special blend for his special guest.

    I'm sure Mario and Enrico hit a few high and low notes together before the mamas called them inside for raviolis.....;-)

    Regards to your mama,

  9. Wella,
    Are you sure we aren't related?
    My mother's cousin Florence is long gone, however, her grandfather, the maternal patriarch of the family was nick named "Wella". He too, as well as my grandfather, knew Caruso, as well as Mama Leone,of the famous restaurant in NYC which he encouraged her to open. In those days, the Italian community around NYC was very close knit.

    My mother's father also made his own wine, and would have "cocktail hour" in his wine cellar before my grandmother's fabulous feasts.


  10. Dear Pisano,

    Are you sure your're not trying to give me the ol' Blarney-o??? ;-)

    I suppose the next thing you're going to say that your great-grandfather ran stables for all the millionares in New York like my great-grandfather, and that my grandfather who spoke six languages and traveled around the world with one of the pioneers of radio is also your great uncle....;-D

    We'll have to have a taste test in the great vineyard beyond someday to determine which of our grandfathers' wines was more "Primo"!

    Bella Wella

  11. Wella,

    After your last post, I'm now sure we're not related. The only thing I have to add is my grandfather's name was Primo

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