It is approximately 5:30 am. Depending on your habits it is either early in the morning, or late in the day yesterday.
I've always been an early riser.
This morning I was going through some old pictures and ran across this:
This handsome couple are my maternal Grandparents, late in life, at a senior citizens holiday party.
The man on the right is my all time hero. His name is Frank Celotto. He, and he alone, could call me Mickey.
He was as Italian as you could get. How could he not be? His parents emigrated from Palermo, Sicily in 1905. He was born in South Philly in 1909 and raised there. He loved good food, good beer and wines, and had a deep respect for anything and everything family.
He loved to eat and it showed. He was exactly one foot short of being perfectly round. He was the classic old Italian guy.
My fondest memories of him are the times I'd be up to visit either with my family or later after I was able to drive up to see him and Grandmom on my own.
Because whenever I'd go up there we'd have "the Sandwich". "The Sandwich" was sort of the La Cosa Nostra of lunch. It was our little thing. It always started with the same opening sentence,
"Hey Mickey, go get the bread!!!"
The bread was 6 inch Italian rolls from around the corner at the G&M deli. Mr. Gino had fresh Italian rolls delivered every morning. They were perfect. Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Classic Italian bread.
In the time it took me to walk around the corner Mr. Gino had Grandpop's order ready. For "the Sandwich" it was always the same:
- 6 inch Italian rolls
- roasted red bell peppers, peeled and packed in olive oil and fresh garlic
- freshly sliced provolone cheese
Mr Gino being Mr. Gino, there was always a little something extra tossed in for "the delivery guy" (me). He'd always put a cannoli in there for dessert.
Mrs. Gino made the best cannolis.
Anyway, I'd run the bag home and lunch was on. We'd split open the roll with our hands. Place the provolone on the bread. Layer a generous amount of the garlicy roasted red bell peppers over the cheese. Sprinkle it with salt, cracked black pepper, dried basil, and some good red wine vinegar.
I'm not sure how many thousands of these we ate over the years. All I know is that now, on the days when I miss him and his advice, all I have to do is make one and for a fleeting moment I can remember the simpler times.
I'm having one now.
"Cheers" Grandpop, and thanks for all the love and advice.
I Know DKDC
3 days ago