by Stephanie Williams
For those of you that don’t know, I’m married to a Sicilian man. I’ve known him since the age of 22 and I am now 47. We’ve been best friends until seven years ago, when we dated then got married.
So you can say I married my best friend.
Now mind you, two years after we meet, my future husband dragged me to Sicily to meet the parents.
It was like a Mario Puzo movie.
First of all, hubby is the 17th of 22 bambinos. Secondly, his father is sort of a folk hero.
During the months leading to WWII, he fled, like most Italians and Sicilians, when Mussolini came to town. He came to America. And what did he do in the good old U S of A? He hung around mobsters.
Yes, folks, this man was a runner, an ‘Office Boy’ so to speak for some of the heavies and some not so heavy. The one he is most proud of and has a picture sitting in the kitchen, is his association with Lucky Luciano.
Yeah, you read right. The man himself. There is a picture as big as day on the kitchen wall, with my father-in-law, eating dinner with Lucky.
When asked about this association, he looked at me as though he didn’t understand what I was saying.
Granted he speaks only the Sicilian dialect. Yes, it’s a bit different that standard Italian, and people his age only speak it.
Well, guess what? I speak it to thanks to the hubster.
So I asked him again in his native tongue. He just shrugged. But said Lucky had a great sense of humor.
I guess you have to, when you’re putting out contract killings, huh?
How about the mother-in-law?
She’s 99 and as sweet (and clueless) as can be. She’s a bit dippy, and it’s not due to age, she’s always been that way I’m told.
But that could be a front. (Raises eyebrow).
She can cook up a storm, I don’t think that woman uses anything out of a can, bag, frozen or artificial. If it’s meat, she’ll find someone to kill it. If it’s veggies, she has a serious garden.
Milk? Straight from old Bessie.
She’s a quiet woman but don’t get her dander up. She will talk you to death from sun up to sun down!
I meet hubster's other relatives. He has an uncle who is now serving 25 to life for embezzlement and money laundering. We actually went to his trial. Fascinating.
He has a cousin who has been missing since 1999. He killed a politician and another mobster for—get this, whacking another relative. Yeah, it’s that twisted in mafia world.
So with all that being said, you now have somewhat of a clear understanding of the family I’m married to. No, it’s not I’m married to the mob. Hubster’s family are pretty decent. They are honest, working people. In fact, 90% of his family are good hard working, honest folks.
But like Hubster always said when women want to date Southern Italians or Sicilians, “There’s a 2-to-1 chance you’re dating someone that did 10-20.”
Which brings me to the vacation we took this past February.
It was hubster’s dads 103rd birthday! Yes. The man is alive and kicking.
Kicking too damn much sometimes.
Okay, folks, is it just me, or am I too concerned for the elderly?
Here is a man that has been sick off and on for the past ten years. Yet he still goes out in the early morning to the fishing boats. (He owns a lot of them). He hangs out in the town. Stays out late and barely gets six hours sleep.
The time we were there to celebrate this man being on the planet for a century and three yeas, it rained constantly.
But this stubborn, hard headed….ooh! He still wanted to go out. Hubster and I stopped him every time we saw him heading for the door.
The old goat had nerve to holler at us.
“I’ve been going out in the rain since I was a child and nothing has happened, so you really think it matters now?”
That’s not the point, old man.
Then momma-in-law wanted go out and check on her vegetable garden. Yes, she is just as active.
We had to stop her too. She got in a snit also.
So Hubster and I spent most of our time there, keeping the old ones from going outside. It was like keeping Fluffy from going outside because the neighbor’s dog might get him. Sheesh!
Then the fussing came.
After about two days we were both ready to let them go out, get wet, and catch cold!
Were we being too overprotective? Shouldn’t we take care of our elderly?
Heck, we were more exhausted when we left than when we first arrived.
You know, now that I sit back and think about it, these two have been through a lot. The Depression, WWI, WWII, mafia stuff, 22 kids, and over 65 years of marriage. Maybe hubster and I have no say in how they live their lives and what they can and cannot do. And to be honest, hubster and I sometimes don’t have half the energy as they do. That’s real sad.
I love my in-laws, I talk to them everyday. Papa is a nut and tries to be hip. One day he watched MTV and talked about the ‘Hoochies’ that were on there. I fell off the couch!
Mama-in-law still tries to tell me how to cook. Apparently, I can’t make sauce as well as she can, even though I follow her recipe to the letter. “I don’t have Sicilian hands.”
So looking back on it, I have it real good actually. I must admit, it’s very entertaining sometimes, and the bottom line is this:
I will miss them when they’re gone.