Thursday, November 23, 2006

Truly thankful

I want to be a rebel this Thanksgiving. What does that mean? I don’t know. There are just some years where I’m sick of turkey. I’m not much for ham either. What’s wrong with me? I usually love the whole turkey, stuffing, cranberry, potato, and gravy thing….I like it when it gets all mixed up. Not this year. I’m thinking seafood this year. I’m thinking the Italians got to me. They always do that.

J.D.’s Italian cousins visited from Como in October and you would know they were here because of several evidentiary points. 1. We went through approximately 2.5 liters of olive oil, 2. We drank approximately one case of wine, 3. Two blocks of parmesan are missing from the refrigerator, 4. Several jars of antipasto are missing, 5. The grappa bottle is almost empty and 6. There are wine corks with toothpicks everywhere in this house and the card decks are missing a few face cards.

I know none of this makes any sense to non-Italians, but those of you with two milliliters of northern Italian red corpuscles running through your veins know exactly what I’m talking about. Many of you know I claim this heritage by contamination only, but when it comes to cooking, drinking and celebrating, I’d go Italian every time. When the cousins left, my kids were in tears, my broken English sounded horrible and my broken Italian worse. If someone actually recorded the way we all talked while they were here, it could be a sitcom. Golly, it was fun.

Piero returned to visit with his son Mauro and daughter-in-law Sara. Mauro and Sara had never been to the U.S. before so it was their inaugural visit. MoMaher had a reunion festa to end all festas and even the Irish relatives became Italian for a day. J.D’s brothers flew in from Utah and Washington and the cousins were together again. The bittersweet moment for me was in greeting Piero again for the first time since his wife Guiliana passed away in 2004. I cannot describe in words what that wonderful woman meant to me, so I will leave it at that. She was here in spirit because I felt her the whole time they were here.

J.D. pulled out the old pictures and videos from the last time they were in California in 1998. It was the first trek for Piero’s family to the United States and like their pilgrim cousins who immigrated here in the early 20’s; they made the journey with the faith that something exciting was on the other side. American cousins came out of the woodwork for that reunion, including Lenny and Ronny with their accordions and the music was fantastic. I looked back on that time as such a great family memory. I’ve never seen my mother in law look so youthful and happy, while the rest of us slowly succumbed to the inevitability that we were all truly Italian. It was the start of a decade of travel exchanges to and from Italy with MoMaher and her sons. It took almost 80 years, but hey, who’s counting. Nonno Giuseppe is smiling from heaven.

I know I won’t be able to talk my parents into eating fish this year for Thanksgiving, so as we sit down to our traditional Thanksgiving meal, I am reminded of why I am truly thankful. I want to thank the readers of this newspaper for the time you took over the last year to express your encouragement and prayers for my Dad’s recovery. I am happy to report that Pop is getting close to not needing his wheelchair as much, and he emphatically plans to walk my sister down the aisle next May for her wedding, even if it’s with his walker. He is truly a survivor. I expect miracles, perhaps a golf game in ‘07 because God has been so good and gracious to us. These are the rare priceless times of life to be truly thankful; and I am most thankful for my irreplaceable family.

In that vein, enjoy your Thanksgiving with friends and family, eat whatever you want e rendiamo grazie a Dio.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her at or on the web at


Tom McGowan said...


Yet another awesome article! Boston Market may be open on Thanksgiving Day. You can get some meatloaf. That can replace the turkey. Also Crab Season is off to a strong start and under way.

Hope all Y'all's have a Hobble Gobble of a Thanksgiving!!!!

Anonymous said...

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translazione automatica

your letter has arrived in Italy, as soon as possible francesca will translate it for we Italian cousinses, congratulations from cousins fulvio of Como Italy