Monday, September 7, 2009

Great garage sale find

Today I finally caught up with Leonard Pennario's cousin here in Buffalo. She is the famous woman with the frying pan, the woman my friend Joey Giambra met at a garage sale.

Leonard Pennario's cousin is going to be an excellent source. He was her godfather when she was baptized at St. Margaret's Church and he would come into town several times a year and have dinner with her family. She is going to get me pictures too!

"He was a tremendously handsome man. Tremendously," she said more than once. Agreed! The way I look at it, the biggest challenge I have as Pennario's biographer is choosing what picture to put on the cover. We might have to have 10 different editions because I just cannot make up my mind.

Then Leonard Pennario's cousin paid him what we Buffalonians consider the ultimate compliment.

"He was a regular guy," she said.

That cracked me up.

"Uh, I don't think so!" I wanted to say.

You cannot be the greatest virtuoso America has ever produced and still be a regular guy, can you? Well, maybe you can, if you are from Buffalo.

This cousin was in California for a long time and only came back in the last couple of years. She was home in time to see Pennario at the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame Awards which is where I met him.

She remembers a lot of what Pennario talked about over the years around their family dinner table and we are going to meet and she is going to fill me in. I can't wait! To think that Joey Giambra met her at a garage sale. He overheard her talking about Leonard Pennario and whenever you hear anyone talking about Leonard Pennario and that person is not me, that is your signal to sit up and take notice.

Sometimes I think the old man is up there pulling strings. He is walking me through this book. I said that to Leonard Pennario's cousin.

She thought he was doing that too.

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