Monday, June 28, 2004

Well folks, the party’s over (this refering to the family-once-a-year-reunion on my grandfather's side, hosted by his brother Joe on Long Island). My finger nails are partly separated from their beds (I’ll explain). I know a few more cousins, mostly 2nds and 3rds, some removed once or twice.

We left late Saturday night for Freeport, Long Island, NY. We got to the party at 7:00, just in time for the first round of breakfast. It was pretty slow for the first few hours. Slowly people began to arrive, and by the time we left at 10:00 to go to our singing engagement a little ways down the street, there were 15-20 people there for breakfast. The concert went well, we came back, and the place was crawling with people! At least 50. They had so much food for lunch. Actually it wasn’t really lunch, it was an all day meal. That is the Italian way. All throughout the day things were coming out of the kitchen and being set on the table in the huge garage, which was set up with tables and chairs. There was homemade pizza (baked in my great uncle’s backyard 800 degree stone oven), lamb and beef roasted on a spit, fried squid, fried artichokes, pasta fazio, hamburgers, hotdogs, sausage, chicken, 4 kinds of salad, fava beans and pasta, and many other things. I can’t remember them all.

During the hours 1-3, the party started to get really slow. My sister and I played uno for a little while, but we had to face it. We were bored. There were at least 100 people there now, but all the clans were sitting at their own tables and discussing recent family events. It would have been very boring for the next few hours had we not gotten involved in the Fava Picking Contest. Fava is a type of bean, they’re shaped like lima beans but they’re a little bit bigger. Whoever picks the most fava out of the garden gets their name on a trophy that my uncle had made for the family. It goes back 10 years, and is on display at the yearly party. Both of my grandparents names are on that thing! So, my sister and I headed out to the garden and joined the throng of bean pickers. We ended up combining all of our siblings’ bags, and ended up with a pretty big bag. However our cousins, who each would have come in right behind us, decided to combine their bags, so they won 1st place. Since we still got our names on it as 2nd place winners, we put Carol and Vincent’s name on it :D

This fava thing is huge with the Italians, at least those from Sicily. The next part of the party was shelling the beans, and this is where the separated fingernails come in. Besides the picking contest, there was also a contest to see who could get the most shelled, the fastest. So we all sat together at a table and shelled away. The outer part had to be split, then the beans removed from the inside. The only logical thing to use is your fingernail. Once our competitors are us were done, we brought them up to get weighed. Then we were informed that they have to be DOUBLE shelled! Each bean has it’s own covering which has to be split again, and the inner bean removed. More fingernails. This time my thumb hurt so bad I had to use my middle finger. The contest never really was officially ended, I’m not sure who won! It was really close, probably a tie. Anyhow I didn’t find out.

Next we were asked to sing by a few of our relatives who have heard us before. We set up all the equipment and did 20 minutes of our program. The invitation had said “surprise music”, we had no idea we were going to be it! It all worked out though, we had plenty of help with moving the sound system, and they all liked the music. We were getting a lot of hoots from the slightly more intoxicated part of the crowd.

Oh and I can’t go without mentioning the camaro ride. My 2nd cousin Joey restored a 69 camaro last year. It’s got about 550 hp. This car was incredible. Right before we sang he took a few of my brothers and I for a ride in it. We rode down the ‘Nautical Mile’ in Freeport. I had never in my life seen anything like it. There must have been 6 or 7 cafes with live bands playing, signs saying ‘valet parking’, there were people all over the place, shops with tables out with goods on them, big fishing boats at the docks, and EVERYONE stared. I guess a 69 camaro isn’t too common of a car! My cousin even spun the wheels for some guys who asked him for it while he was driving by. What a trip. The acceleration is incredible. He said he had it up over 150 mph last week. Oh, by the way, there aren’t any seatbelts in it either. It was soooo fun. Last time he rode us around in his corvette (one at a time, there are only two seats!).

I’ll have pictures in a week or so. Took them all on a regular camera so I have to wait to get them developed.

My watch alarm is going off, Glenn Beck is about to go on the air.

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