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A Tribute to Italian Families
APRIL 4, 2004 - As I was packing my luggage for my trip to Italy (I leave this afternoon), I thought about the relatives I would be seeing in Ischia - and the ones in the United States who would be spending Easter without me. Most Italian families are like any other with their share of happiness and sadness, good and evil, love and war. Mine is no different. I always try to explain this to the babies born into the family. When one of my cousins and his wife had their first daughter, I wrote this poem for her. I thought I would share it with all of you as a tribute to my family - and yours. Buona Pasqua!
My relatives - with all their flaws
"You too fat. You too skinny.
Be home by midnight, they will shout
They don't trust microwaves, cell phones or the Internet
About each other, they complain and whine
But if the bad was all I could see
Charming Italian accents and eccentric idiosyncrasies
When your heart is broken, in droves they will come
They'll hold your hand and slap your face
To turn you into a strong woman or man
They'll show you how to work like an immigrant
And you'll finally meet the one who deserves you and this family
When babies come, they'll celebrate some more
About their dog Fox and the shoes they never had,
From the pit of their belly, they laugh and love
This charmed life is the gift we receive
Yet they fail to notice the secret to this family
Over the shouts and complaints and tears you will see
And when God tests them, the secret is revealed:
There's no escape when they think they've had enough of each other,
And I will save your life
So sweet baby, you're stuck with us
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