Mi recordo. I met Ray’s grandmother in the mid to late 80’s. At the time she was probably already 80 something herself. Ray took me “home to the faimily” for the first time. As I look back on this I realize the courage and self assuarnce he must have had to do this.
My family had lived in America for generations, this was my first brush with a family that was so “recent.” Ray had warned me that she could be “forward.” I tthink perhaps that I misunderstood the term “forward” as I recall her first question was along the lines of “why should Raymond have you as a friend?” Then she fed me. She focused the conversation on me. She wanted to know my aspirations, my goals, my status during the meal.
Lunch takes a long time in some cultures, especially in the Sicilian one, Ray was on pins and needles I could see. It was the 80’s, and I was his “friend.” No one needed a diagram. It was uncomfortable. It was the time.
Then, as I was to learn, in the summer we move to the garden. No, not a flower garden, but the most incredible field of vegetables that exist in any backyard in America. But it was the tomatoes we were after. As we were picking them, packing them for our long car trip back to Ohio, I was the one left holding the bag. Litterally.