Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Meatballs ... and then there were 11 ... The First Annual Casa Stella Food Thing ... North Carolina ...


Meatballs ... Momma Stella, a sprite 79-year-old Eucharistic Minister, sainted mother/loving grandmother and mother-in-law (she has firmly declared she prefers the wife over the son), former swag dealer extraordinaire and without a doubt the best meatball maker in the history of the world, last weekend spent two days making gravy (sauce to you nons) and meatballs for her Sonny Boy (what My Mommy calls the ugly one (moi)).

Momma Stella has several nicknames in and around Casa Stella ... affectionately known as: Spranzie (Speranza/Hope), Don Corleone (pronounced the way Luca Brasi did—see link to actor Paul Vario—a perfect imitation and a fun video featuring Steven Tyler of Aerosmith), the matriarch (for she is the family matriarch), Hopie and My Mommy (pronounced in the very annoying way only her Sonny Boy can pronounce it). Momma Stella was born in the small town of Settefrati (7 brothers), Italy and was brought to America by her mother (my nanny) Saint Theresa. Grandpa Pete (Pietro—my middle name), a Telese with some mysterious family background (nobody seems to know much except he couldn’t return to Italy) was old school tough as a father. My Mommy (annoying voice) was telling the Principessa Ann Marie last week about a time when she asked Gramps for a nickel to buy ice cream and had called out to him (he was looking out a third floor window on Bleeker Street), “Papa, give me a nickel for ice cream, please.” And Gramps yelled back, “Ashpette, Spronzie” (wait, Hope). A few minutes later he tossed down a tiny potato wrapped in a tissue. My Mommy says she was mortified but I still laugh at the images.

Then there was the one where Gramps caught her skipping school to wait on line for Frank Sinatra tickets. He gave her a beating all the way home ...

Or the time she dove under the bed to hide and he used a broom handle to get at her through the bed springs after tossing the mattress off.

His favorite word was “Stroonz” (shit) and until I was five or so, I thought it was my name.

Anyway, the point being, Momma Stella (who will be coming to live with us just as soon as we have the house extended a few feet for her special bathroom) made 13 meatballs for her Sonny Boy this past weekend. Last night, after consuming some of the First Annual Casa Stella Food Thing barbecue leftovers, I smelled something familiar after coming down from playing the drums. And there was The Wife with a mischievous little grin on her face. “You want a meatball?” she asked.

“No, I’m saving them for Wednesday night,” I said.

“Oh, okay,” she said. “But they’re really good.”

“You ate one?” I asked.

“I ate two,” she said.


The grin turned to a chuckle and The Wife said, “She said I hope yous like them.”

“I don’t care what she said,” I said. “My mother talks like me. Where you think I got it? Everything sounds plural. Yous, those, them, these ... I can’t believe you ate two of my meatballs. She only made thirteen.”

“And now there’s eleven.”

“That’s focked up,” I said. “Seriously.”

She was laughing by then, mostly because I must’ve looked very disturbed (and we all know about that schadenfreude thing).

And then later when we went to bed and I was still complaining (“I can’t believe you ate my meatballs. Two of them no less.”), she had the nerve to say “And now I’m gonna breathe garlic in your face all night.”

Like I always say … it ain’t easy being me.

The First Annual Casa Stella Food Thing ... the weather cooperated and The Boss kept shoveling the food out and there were dogs (Lolla, Hugo and Rigoletto) and kids and wingnuts and communists and socialists and neighbors, friends, family and so on. A lot of work (for the boss) but a good time. Some of the desserts were spectacular, especially the “dirt cake” one of our neighbors (Mike and Andrea from across the street) brought over. Forgetaboutit ... 4,000 calories a bite ... chocolate moose with Oreos ... a beautiful thing indeed.

North Carolina here we come ... Rigoletto has several house guests who will be keeping him company and in the insulin during our brief vacation. We tried kennels but our doggie just gets too traumatized without people (especially the Principessa Ann Marie) to put him through that ever again. Tim (The boss’s son) has agreed to use our bedroom so a friend (a former N.Y.P.D. Det. and avowed dog lover (Nick)) can use his bedroom while we head down to the Cape Fear Blues Festival where just last week an 11 foot alligator were spotted in a parking garage courtesy of author Bill Crider’s blog featuring daily Gator Updates. We’ll be taking a blues cruise Friday night and beaching (this whale) Saturday (with a short stop at a gym for some PLing) and Saturday night it’s more blues and Sunday it’s a blues jam with Pete Durso and friends. We’re looking forward to a break from the daily grind and to see some friends from back in the day.

Casa Stella neighbors Mike & Sharon get a break from the DW’s as the ugly one heads south to annoy those poor S.O.B.’s ... spreading the love, amici ... that’s what I’m talkin’ about.