Old Sicilian Proverbs

italian vs sicilianMy husband, who I fondly called the Sicilian, is not referred to as having an Italian heritage, because his grandmother would rise from the grave and curse me.  Technically Sicilians are Italians, but don’t try to tell them that. They are a people and culture unto themselves.  And per my Sicilian, his family was steeped with myths, adages, and possibly even a curse or two.

After Katrina destroyed the home of his elderly Aunt Anna, his mother’s only sister as cry and laughshe was usually described, this little old Sicilian lady came to live with us.  When the devastation of Katrina, which submerged her home in 9 feet of toxic water was mentioned, she would say:  You have to laugh to keep from crying.  Wise words. Words that apply to many situations.

crows on houseGod forbid Aunt Anna  saw a crow. A crow  sitting on your house meant death would visit soon. If this adage were true, I should already be dead. Perhaps I am and I don’t know it.

Once a baby, twice a child was her excuse for spilling food at the table or her need for help taking a shower, and getting in and out of the car. This does not make sense at first, but contemplate for a few minutes how as adults we become child-like as we age. Can’t imagine anything? Perhaps the mention of adult diapers will help.

She burned black candles. black candlesDoing this was tantamount to calling down the wrath of God on someone. A curse would be put on you and your family should you ever burn a black candle against someone.  Doing this would result in being shunned. I don’t understand how this works, but these first generation Sicilians in America did so you better not burn any black candles.

birds in rainThe birds are crying for rain.  Of course these squawking birds better not be crows. (See crow comments above.) I still don’t understand  how birds making noise meant rain was coming. I heard birds making noise after a storm passed and asked if these birds were crying for rain? I was told, “None essere in asino intelligente.”   Aunt Anna said that meant, “Don’t be smart,” but I think a  better translation might be, “Don’t be a smart ass!”

Next is  a handy phrase that Aunt Anna’s Grandfather, who was a Big Boy by anyone standards, often said. When when asked if he wanted a second helping, his response would always be, “Si, dopotutto siamo in America.”  Yes, after all we are in America. 
cannoli
America was the epitome of wealth, success, and the good life to these first Sicilian immigrants to New Orleans. So, when in doubt, have another cannoli, after all you are in America.

 

 

 

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30 Second Memory

brain-fullDuring our life, the Sicilian and I  have allowed many useless facts to claim brain cells that we now could put to better use. Much of this worthless information should have been put in short term storage, just long enough to pass a required college course, i.e. Asian Politics, freshman English, or Lacrosse rules, but sadly it is permanently  rooted into our limited brain cells, cells  we both need now.
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The latest example of our short term memory shortage took place on Wednesday when we took Spot to a nearby pet store to have her img_1689nails groomed. Spot likes a car ride, but has never liked the pet store ever since she almost failed puppy obedience class. Spot marches to the beat of a different drummer, and “leave it,” “Come,” and heeling are not on her to do list. She trotted into the store’s grooming area and crouched under a chair, frightened. During her 10 minutes of nail grinding, we picked up a new toy for her to destroy.  She seemed more stressed that usual when we snapped on her leash to take her to the car.
poo-pooNot wanting to upset my gentle readers, I’ll sum up the ride home as briefly as possible. Spot deposited an odiferous gift for us on the back seat. Our usual 5 minute trip home took 15 minutes as all the traffic  lights were red and slow drivers were everywhere.  Like dogs, the Sicilian and I hung our heads out the window to breathe fresh air.
Once home, I removed the custom rug from the back seat of the car and cleaned it.  We left my car on the drive with the windows open. The Sicilian put the cleaned rug on the trunk of his car which was in the garage.car-mats-3
I thought, I must remind him to put the carpet back in my car when he puts my car in the garage.
“I’m putting your car in the garage,” the Sicilian said.
Thank you,” I replied, but since 30 seconds had passed, I’d forgotten about the rug.
Thursday morning I planned to remind the Sicilian about the rug before he left for jury duty, but 30 seconds passed from when I thought about the rug until he told me goodbye.
garbage-can-2Friday morning  we were walking Spot. About ½ mile from our house I notice a garbage can curbside for pickup that had a neatly rolled up rug on top.
“Looks like a car rug,” I said. “It is one!” I said as we neared the garbage can. “It looks like mine. It is mine!”
Yep, you guessed it. The Sicilian zipped off for jury duty with the  rug on his trunk. It blew off ½ mile from home. Sheesh. The memory is a terrible think to lose.
The Sicilian just called to me  from the den, “Wait  a second, I’m writing something. I don’t want to lose my train of thought.”  When I finished I asked, “What did you want?”
30 seconds had passed.  “I forgot,” he said.einstein
A word to the young: Be like Einstein. He did not even know his telephone number. He said, “Do not memorize or clutter your brain with anything that can be looked up.”  Smart man.   If I had done  this 40 years ago, I might have enough brain cells left to remember what I’m suppose to do this afternoon.