MAMMA MIA!

Christ, Marco! I’m a nervous wreck!” wailed Tina. “This is the first time I‘m meeting your mother. Do I look ok?”  

“Are you kidding me? You look great! She’s gonna love you!”  replied Marco as he put on his mother’s favorite Dean Martin record. 

Carrying a box of Italian pastries, Marco’s mother Francesca arrived promptly at 6:00 – ready and quite curious to meet her son’s first female roommate. Introductions were made, niceties exchanged and Tina went to check on dinner. “She certainly knows her way around that kitchen well enough”  Francesca thought to herself. 

While Tina put the finishing touches on dinner, Marco brought out some appetizers. “Ah, bruschetta!”  exclaimed Francesca but when she bit into the small slice of toasted Italian bread, she discovered the topping was raw meat. “It’s steak tartare, Ma” explained Marco. Francesca made a horrified face and hastily deposited her half-chewed delicacy into her napkin. “Oh God! Raw meat will kill you!” Francesca emphatically declared, “I hope the rest of the meal is cooked”, she mumbled. 

In an attempt to quell rising tempers, Marco showed Francesca around the apartment. 

“Look, Ma. Isn’t this nice?  A small but functional kitchen, a dining area, and a comfy living room. But the best part is two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom so there’s no fighting over who gets to shower first.”  Marco laughed self-consciously. 

Yes, dear. Very nice.”  

Francesca silently simmered. “What’s this world coming to? Whoever heard of boys and girls as apartment  roommates? Maybe in a large house with five or six people but an intimate little apartment with two people of the opposite sex?”

Finally dinner was ready. During the course of the meal, Francesca couldn’t help but notice how attentive Tina was to Marco. She suspected a romantic relationship between the two of them and their actions only made her more suspicious.

Throughout the evening while watching Marco and Tina together, she became convinced that there was more between them than met the eye. Reading his mother’s thoughts Marco said “I know what you’re thinking, Ma, but I assure you Tina and I are just roommates.”  His mother smiled thinly but said nothing. 

About a week later Tina said to Marco “Ever since your mother was here for dinner I’ve been unable to find the napkin rings we used. You don’t suppose she took them, do you?” 

“Well, I doubt it”,  he replied, “but I’ll email her.”  

Dear Ma – I’m not saying that you DID take Tina’s napkin rings and I’m not saying you DIDN’T take them but they have been missing ever since you were here last week. Love, Marco  

He immediately received a reply: 

Dear Marco – I’m not saying that you DO sleep with your roommate and I’m not saying that you DON’T sleep with her but if she was sleeping in her OWN bed she would have found the napkin rings by now – under her pillow. Love, Ma 

Lesson learned: Never try to fool an Italian mother! 

NAR © 2019

ISN’T IT A PITY?

“Christ. Jesus Christ. You may have heard of me. 

Born in Bethlehem, mother was Mary, father was Joseph. Well, let the record show he was actually my ‘foster father’’.  My real father is the big man upstairs. Crazy, right? What with Him and me and the Holy Spirit being Three in One,  It’s complicated – kinda like the Fab Four only not. Damn, those boys are good. People say they’re even bigger than me. 

Oh, please, no need to introduce yourselves. I’ve known you since you were in your mother’s womb. Actually, since before that. Again – it’s complicated. 

I’d like to address a few things. That ‘questionable relationship’’ between Mary Magdalene and me? Yeah, it happened and let me tell you – once you’ve had your feet washed by Mary’s tears and dried by her long brown hair, there’s no going back. But I digress. 

Do you people think I really wanted to come to earth, take on human form, and die for your sorry asses? You know Matthew quoted me as saying ‘Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.’ You all saw the picture of me in the Garden of Gethsemane. I was sweating blood. Hell, I was crying blood. 

I never asked for it – roaming the desert, preaching, choosing my disciples, performing miracles, being adored on Palm Sunday [ok, I have to admit the miracles and adoration were pretty cool] but the tempers that raged? No piece of cake. 

The denials and betrayals by those I loved most. The badgering  by Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas. The humiliation by the Roman soldiers. My unimaginably agonizing crucifixion – looking down from the cross to see my mother a broken woman. 

And for what?! Look at you! Have you learned nothing in two thousand years? Oh, there are some good ones among you, thank God, but most of you make me sad, regret giving up my life so that you could be saved. Eternal life! How many of you deserve eternal life? 

Let’s take a quick look around. The deceit, corruption, lies, immorality, hatred, killings, greed, war, the democrats, the republicans, the Arabs and Jews (still!), Brexit, Russia, China, COVID, quarantine, vaccines, anti-vaxxers, the WORLD!

What have you done to this perfect Garden of Eden my Father created? Our collective trio of hearts is breaking.

As my sweet George likes to say:

‘Isn’t it a pity?

Isn’t it a shame

How we break each others hearts

And cause each other pain?

How we take each others love

Without thinking anymore

Forgetting to give back

Isn’t it a pity? 

Some things take so long

But how can I explain

When not too very many people

Can see we’re all the same

And because of all their fears

Their eyes can’t hope to see

All the beauty that surrounds them

Lord, isn’t it a pity?’

Get your acts together, people, before it’s too late. Love one another as I have loved you. And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. 

Remember – I’ll be back.”

NAR © 2019

PS – Just a few months after this post, we were in the throes of the COVID pandemic. Perhaps The Father, Son and Holy Ghost were on to something. NAR 2021

BEYOND THE SEA

We were at our yearly reunion in Montauk – three college friends and me on a break from our husbands and kids. 

My friends wanted to take the ferry from Montauk to Block Island and return the next day. I’d been there before and it was exactly like Montauk. I suggested we do something different like rent a sailboat or go hang gliding but I was vetoed.    

“This is great!” I thought, relishing the idea of being able to do something by myself. 

After lunch I decided to take our inflatable raft down to the water – spend some time working on my tan then check out that new restaurant in town. The raft was no frills – a nylon ladder, a paddle and a 15 foot docking rope.    

As I paddled out of the harbor, people waved to me from nearby waterfront restaurants and fishing boats. Clearing the jetty, I stopped paddling and let the ocean swells carry me out to sea. I stretched out as the sun danced off the water and the waves lulled me to sleep. 

When I awoke I was surrounded by a darkness so pitch black I couldn’t see a thing, not even my hand in front of my face. There was no moon or stars and I had no idea where I was. The sea was relatively calm and I thought perhaps I could try to paddle the raft until I caught a glimpse of light but the darkness was so intense I was afraid to move. My skin felt burned and my mouth was incredibly parched. 

I heard it before I felt it – a surging rush of water quickly approaching me. I blindly searched for and found the inner ropes of the raft and held on tightly. Then it was upon me – a huge wave heaving me forward and pulling me back again. I have no idea how long the surges continued – hours, perhaps only minutes of being tossed about like a rag doll – but I managed to keep my grip and stayed afloat in the raft. 

Just as the waters calmed I became aware of something butting the side of the raft. There it was again! I felt it half in the raft, large and slimy, and I instinctively reached for the paddle which was secured in place. Blindly I swung at whatever this creature was until I finally made contact. Somehow it made its way into the raft and I pounded it repeatedly until I knew it was dead. I scampered as far away as I could and curled myself into a ball. 

“Ahoy!” I squinted in the sun at a nearby fishing boat. Ahoy! Do you need help?” 

“Yes! Can you give me a tow?”

“Sure but it would be easier if we untangled your raft from this pier and you paddled to the beach 100 feet away. By the way, sure looks like that inflatable dolphin got some beating!” the fishing boat captain chuckled.   

Mortified, I paddled away to peals of laughter. 

NAR © 2019

RULES OF ATTRACTION

“Credited for my prize-winning chili” was probably the last thing I heard my speed date say before I zonked out, my head hitting the desk with an impressive “thwack”.  

DING!” went the timer and my arm automatically shot up as I shouted out “Check please!” Everyone looked at me like I was crazy. “Yeah, I’m crazy alright for agreeing to go along with my friend Nadine’s cockamamie idea and she never even showed up.” 

I looked up to see my next date arriving – an Elvis impersonator replete with spangled jumpsuit, a ton of hair and heavy cologne. Whoever invented the jumpsuit should be shot. “Well, hello there, little lady. I do believe fate has brought us together. You are the spitting image of my Priscilla.” 

“Oh Lord! Get me outta here!” my mind screamed. Quickly I jumped up. 

“Hey, toots! Number 9! Whaddya think you’re doing? You can’t just break outta line like that!” shouted the hoody-wearing overseer with the pronounced nose. He pointed an accusatory wizened finger at me looking every bit like Charon the Ferryman from the River Styx. 

I shoved passed him, walking out into the fresh night air. “Another wasted Friday night. Wonder what there is to do” I murmured. Looking around I noticed a movie theater down the street. “Well, better than nothing.” As I got closer I saw the movie was “A Hard Day’s Night” and it was about to start. I got my ticket and bought some popcorn. There were clusters of people scattered about and I chose a secluded seat in the back.

Just as the theater lights dimmed, some guy sat next to me. “Jeez!” I’m thinking, “Of all the seats, you choose that one!” Looking straight ahead, eating my popcorn, I assess the situation. I never know what to do at times like this. Do I move? What if he’s a pervert? “This is all your fault, Nadine” I whispered. 

Excuse me. Did you say something?” asked the guy next to me. 

I turned to answer and immediately began choking as I inhaled popcorn. The guy was a carbon copy of my one true love – George Harrison. 

Are you ok? Here, have some water.”

Finally able to breath and talk again I said “I’m awfully sorry! You shocked me. Has anyone ever told you you look exactly like George Harrison?”  

“All the time. And has anyone every told you you look exactly like Priscilla Presley?” 

“All the time.” 

We sat there laughing at the movie, then walked out together deciding to get a drink. 

Who’s in the club but none other than Nadine. 

Spotting us, she came running over, gushing “Oh my God! Has anyone ever told you you look exactly like George Harrison? Giving ‘George’ the once-over, she drooled “Maybe I should have gone to speed dating after all. Mighty slim pickings here tonight. Wanna dance, handsome? Olivia won’t mind, will ya, hon?” 

Grabbing ‘George’s’ hand we ran from the club, laughing and tripping over ourselves just like in the movie.

NAR © 2019