The following scene/sketch is based upon a funny incident (well, at least I thought it was funny) I heard a while back. Enjoy!
I’ll never forget it. My husband, Fred and I had brought our three kids, Joan, Edward, and Antonio, out to visit his parents in New Jersey. Now don’t get me wrong, they are very nice people, but let’s just say it is obvious they did not grow up in this country. As you will see, though maybe it’s just me.
The kids were in the den, watching TV and us adults were in the kitchen, talking and for most of us, just trying to stay out of my mother-in-law’s way. Dear God, you would think that woman was trying to feed a couple of armies the way she cooks. Though considering my husband is her youngest of 12 and I’ve seen the way he and his siblings eat, I can understand why.
Oh my! I’m getting off topic again aren’t I? I’m sorry I’ve been such a scatter-brain lately. Now where was I? Oh, yes, I remember. So the four of us were talking in the kitchen about Fred’s new promotion and Antonia goes to pull out some of her homemade bread from the oven. Mmmmm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about how good it smelled. Before she even starts to open the oven door, all three of my kids are trying to squeeze through the doorway to get at it.
I just don’t understand how they do that, I’m certain it must be a genetic thing with Italians. I can’t do it, but my husband’s whole family comes with a Fresh-Baked-Bread-Radar built in. It is simply astounding to me.
Now, I don’t like my kids eating anything too filling right before dinner, especially when it will be done in less than ten minutes, but have you ever tried to stop Italian grandparents from feeding their grandchildren? Or from feeding anyone in their house for that matter? I assure you, it is impossible! So before I can blink, my father-in-law is having my oldest, Joan, getting the butter from the fridge and telling my youngest, Antonio, to get a butter knife as he starts pulling the heel off the loaf for himself. Good piece of advice, never try and get the heel of a loaf of bread from patriarch of an Italian family, because unless you are the matriarch it’s not gonna happen.
As I’m sitting there fretting over my kids spoiling their dinner, I hear this horrid shriek of pain come from my youngest, followed shortly by him saying, “It’s sharp!”
Oh, you can imagine how my heart was racing! I jumped up and ran over to find he cut himself, on a butter knife no less. A small knick but I was not in a mood to be appeased at that moment. I turned to my father-in-law holding the offending knife and say to him, “It’s sharp!”
He then looked up at me and said, “Of course it’s sharp. It’s a knife, it’s supposed to be sharp.”
“But it’s a butter knife!”
“It’s still a knife.” I swear my father-in-law’s face was straight as an arrow when he said it and I almost lost it right before my husband started laughing so hard he nearly fell out of his chair.
“You think this is funny Fred!? One of our children is hurt and this is funny!?” My voice got higher and higher in pitch as I said it. I was just on this side of shrieking.
“Ah, he’ll be fine.” My infamous father-in-law. Not one to let sleeping dragons lie. Oh, no. He feels the need to poke it in the eye with a stick while it looks at him to make sure it’s awake.
My dear and prudent husband quickly cut in and said, “Look at the boy, Sweetheart. He’s fine the cut’s already closed. Come now Antonio, it doesn’t hurt at all now, does it?”
Thankfully, my son honestly gave the only reply that would have calmed me, “No, Dad. Not at all.”
My mother-in-law never allowing our little production to get in the way of her cooking finished setting dinner out and said to me, “See Dearie, everything is fine, come on now everyone let’s eat before it gets cold. Mangia everyone! Mangia!.”
I having calmed down and all of us having been around enough Italians at that point we all took my mother-in-law’s advice and ate.