Monday, August 22, 2011

My Italian Weekend

Have you ever had a weekend that, strangely enough, seemed to have a theme running through it? I certainly did this weekend -- my Italian weekend.

First off, let me tell you a little of my ethnic background. I was born in the USA, my parents were born in the USA, but their parents came from the "old country," as just about anywhere in Europe was called. I have a mixed European background -- Irish, German, Austrian, Bohemian, French. You will notice, however, that I did not mention Italy. The only Italian family member of whom I am aware was my Uncle Benny (Bettino LaMantia -- how is that for an Italian name?), who married into the family. Someday I will have to write a post about Uncle Benny's words of wisdom, but for now, let's just say that there is very little Italian in the Lightning family tree.

Friday set the tone as Mrs. Lightning received a booklet from the local adult education office, listing some workshops for the fall. We talked about attending a cooking class led by our friend Carlo, who is about as Italian as you can get. We had come to know Carlo through a friend who attended one of his classes, and then became a part of a monthy Italian Dinner Club. Along the way Mrs. Lightning got invited, and for a few years now we have been regulars at the Italian Dinner Club gatherings.

Saturday's big news was that our favorite Italian blogger, Very Josie, went deep (natch!) in a Foxwoods deep stack toureny. Yea Joe C! And of course, that night -- Carlo's annual picnic at his home with our Italian Dinner Club friends. But the weekend wasn't over yet.

On Sunday, I made what had now become a regular trip up north to my "home" poker room at Harrah's Horseshoe Hammond. There are a couple of poker rooms closer, but The Shoe has the best poker action in the Chicago area. On the trip up (just over two hours -- some "home" room, huh?) I decided to give Josie a call to congratulate her and also wish her a happy birthday. When I got her voicemail, I left a message that started, "Get your lazy Italian ass up." I figured that she was still sleeping after her deep run at Foxwoods the night before. I did get to speak with her in the afternoon as I was donking away the profit I had made earlier in the day.

Before I headed for home, I stopped for dinner at the Harrah's buffet. There was a long line and seating was slow, so when ready to be seated I got a shout out from a woman who was also eating alone, asking me if I wanted to share a table so we could get seated sooner. It sounded good to me, as I was starving. There were few people at the Italian food station, so I grabbed some pizza and Italian sausage and brought it back to the table to chow down. My companion said "I noticed you went for the Italian." Knowing a statement like this could only give hope to a certain blogger, I told her that I did so because it was readily available. I am chuckling as I write this!

After stuffing myself with prime rib and chocolate mousse, I hopped in the car to make the evening two-hour return trip. I had the stereo blasting to help keep me awake, and just as I was about to get off the interstate a couple of miles from home, the oldies station played a great classic by The Outfield. As my long trip and what seemed to be a long weekend was about to end, I sang along with the familiar lyrics: "Josie's on a vacation far away ..."

Happy birthday Joe C!

NOTE: Disclaimer ... in the words of Senator Geary in The Godfather:

Senator Geary: Uh, Mr. Chairman, I would like to verify the witness's statement. For years now a growing number of my constituents have been of Italian decent, and I've come to know them well. They have honored me with their support and with their friendship. Indeed, I can proudly say that some of my very best friends are Italian-Americans. However, Mr. Chairman, at this time, very unfortunately, I have to leave these proceedings in order to preside over a very important committee, my own committee. But before I leave I do want to say this: that these hearings on the Mafia are in no way whatsoever a slur upon the great Italian people. Because I can state from my own knowledge and experience that Italian-Americans are among the most loyal, most law-abiding, patriotic, hard working American citizens in this land. And it would be a shame, Mr. Chairman, if we allowed a few rotten apples to give a bad name to the whole barrel. Because from the time of the great Christopher Columbus up through the time of Enrico Fermi right up until the present day, Italian-Americans have been pioneers in building and defending our great nation. They are the salt of the earth, and they're one of the backbones of this country.


Blogger Josie said...

"Knowing a statement like this could only give hope to a certain blogger, I told her that I did so because it was readily available."

ROFL!!! I am all alone and laughing my ass off.

Don't fight it baby, even strangers notice "you go for the Italian".

Thanks for all the good wishes and thoughts and links! Lightning knows what an Italian woman wants!

5:35 AM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

"Get your lazy Italian ass up."


8:35 AM  

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