Monday, August 18, 2008

Little Italy

Questions, I have questions.

Story Teller (see comments, yesterday), who are you, anyway? What do you write, what stories do you tell? You are always so nice to me but I have been meaning to find this out about you. Are you in Idaho? I will have to ask Mr. Idaho if he knows you.

Chris Byrd -- also speaking of yesterday's comments -- had I known you would not be at the Dozynki Festival I never would have agreed to judge pierogies. Why can't you send your kid off to college by herself? Waaaaah!

I did nothing yesterday but write. Well, first I went to church as usual, then I went to Betty's with my friend Jane. I drowned myself in coffee. Then I sampled that drink they had that is half champagne and half cranberry juice. What the heck is the name of that drink? Well, whatever it is called, the little servers with the pierced lips and noses had to return to our table again and again. As we ate, Jane and I gossiped about the shower the night before and studied the bulletin from St. Anthony's Church. You do not look truly hip having Sunday brunch without displaying a church bulletin on your table.

The priest at St. Anthony's came up to me after Mass as I knelt in my pew -- don't we all love that word, pew? -- and he said, "Thank you for the designated charity." Actually he said, "Thank-a you..." He has a wonderful Italian accent. I love that the priest at my church comes from Italy. Nothing in my life is normal.

I was sort of dazed -- remember, the red wine the night before -- and I couldn't think what he meant. Then I realized it was the cheese-building contest, at the Italian Festival. Remember that? The Sorrento Cheese folks were nice enough to kick in something like $250 to St. Anthony's because of my cheese-building skills, which are considerable. I had named St. Anthony of Padua Church as my designated charity. That is what the padre was talking about, in his-a beautiful accent.

The priest at St. Anthony's has the most wonderful name, Secondo Casarotto. I am in awe of him. He just has this presence about him. The way he blesses us at the end of Mass. That is one line that is spoken, not sung. Father Secondo looks at us and makes the Sign of the Cross and he says, "Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus." May Almighty God bless you. I love that line. It brings tears to my eyes and I am not sure why.

Father Secondo is one of those people who make Buffalo an exotic place. One wet, snowy evening last spring I got to stop by the rectory. I had forgotten my prayer book in the church, and I called and made arrangements to stop by and get it. So I went after work, and I rang the doorbell, and Father Secondo answered the door himself. He ushered me inside and let me sit down and talk to him for a while at his desk. What I remember was how great the place smelled. Something unbelievable was cooking. Something Italian. You could smell garlic and tomato sauce.

Anyway, I never even took my coat or hat off but I remember looking out the window at the sleet and felt absolutely delighted. It was as if I were in an Italian movie. Lucky me, to know men named Leonard Pennario and Secondo Casarotto! Surely we in Buffalo live charmed lives.

When I left, Father Secondo handed me my missal. There was a yellow sticky-pad sheet affixed to it, saying "Goldman."

St. Anthony being the patron saint of lost objects, the padre joked: "Nothing gets lost in this church."


Sarah Bear said...

Hi Mary,
At this very moment in my life I'm up to my eyeballs in writing material from a nonfiction manuscript to web content. I learned about you through Mr. Idaho. You see, I'm the one who did all the Internet searching about Mr. Pennario. Your name popped up on the radar screen. Ever since then I try to read your blog on a regular basis. Since you are the real deal as a writer you inspire me to continue with mine.

Oh I've emailed you through your mkgatmary... account and it was never delivered. I sent the same message to you at Yahoo. See I'm trying to let you know who I am. grinning

Sarah Bear said...

Not being a religious person more of a spiritualist love this line when I go to church; "In peace and love."
Hugs, Cindy ;)