Manners for Eating Bites

Manners for Eating Bites

Manners for Eating Bites

It’s true.  Manners for eating bites.  Except talking with your mouth full.  That’s just gross.  This has been an issue bugging me for years.  I can’t tell you how many blouses, dresses, pants, tops, shoes and pantyhose, I have ruined for eating with proper etiquette.

Maybe I am not the most graceful person on the planet, but I am also not the least graceful.  One of the most common “out to eat” motion is to sit with straight back in the chair and bring food from the plate to your mouth.  I’m short, so you’d think with a mere distance of 13″ (yes I measured), would be too small a space for anarchy.  It isn’t.

Even when pointing tines forward to mouth,  I have dropped teeny, tiny pieces of food down the front of me.  A slight lean forward; still a mess.  Bending over the dish, I look like I was raised by wolves.

And, at a party where you have to stand and eat?  I can’t even go there.

Why Can’t We Eat Like We Do at Home?

At home, you can reach if no one is listening when you ask someone to please pass the bread.  You can get up without excusing yourself if you are just walking five steps to get a different salad dressing from the fridge.  You can laugh and spit water without a fuss.  In fact, that one just makes you laugh more. 

If a dish didn’t come out well, you don’t have to battle with your conscience if you should send it back as you do in a restaurant.  You simply say, “Well that isn’t a good batch.  Trash that. Pizza, leftovers or grilled cheese?”

Good Manners Can be Good

Any routine that everyone understands is good.  However, I like most of my clothes and love all my shoes.  Anything that comes between me and them are the enemy.

Dining Out at Friends and Restaurants Can be so Complicated

If you are invited to have dinner with someone, it is always a good idea to RSVP even if by txt or you don’t think it’s needed.  First confirmation is sent as soon as you’re invited to help your hosts plan. The second a couple days before. 

Don’t ask if you can bring anything. Of course you have to bring something. 

Unless it’s family.  With family you can take it a step further.  You can say, “You making Nonni’s braciola? Well make it.” 

What You Bring 

Don’t expect your gift to be used during the meal.

Dinner parties have carefully planned menus, and your gift may not go with the meal.

Sorry to admit, I do go over-the-top sometimes with parties and go plan crazy.  Luckily Chip is always willing to play along. 

The key for over-the-top; if you are all-in, you’re guests will be all-in.


Some dinner parties are formal and have place cards where the host or hostess wants you to sit.  Seating cards can be fun.  One Easter I made personalized eggs for everyone’s place setting.  For those asking (lol) … I was working full-time and had a child.

Whether formal or not, most people ask if there are seating preferences. And, most people say sit where ever you like.  I always try to grab the seat closest to the kitchen.  Usually I forget something.  It makes it easier to subtly go get it.  I learned this by not being able to subtly go get something.

Some people think you should wait until the host positions themselves.  If you eat at my house, you know my thing.  Just don’t pick the seat closest to the kitchen and all is well.

As a kid we used to say grace before dinner. (Bless Us Our Lord For These Thy Gifts). 

With friends from many different places, if a blessing is their thing, we just go with it.  It’s meaningful to them; and a compliment they will share it with us.

I prefer to offer a toast. These are made on the fly.  Don’t expect Shakespeare here, but it will come from the heart.  Or, it may make you spit water, which is also ok.  

Some places say clinking glasses is not necessary.  Here,  clinking is required.

Dropping the Napkin Off Your Lap

You’re not supposed to do that.  It always, always, always happens to me.  My legs don’t make a right angle on the chair.  They are more a 60-degree angle. Points the napkin right to the floor. 

I have been in restaurants and searched for the napkin with my foot.  Grabbed it between my shoes and brought it back up to put back on my lap.  Unless I’m in a pub then I go free-style.  Usually you don’t want anything from the floor there.

News to me … you aren’t supposed to put the napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down when at someone’s house.  You’re supposed to do it after your host does it.  


You know the rest about what to do with it during and after.  One tactic I use when out to eat, and inside laugh about, is dabbing the corners of your mouth. 

Really?  What good does it do?  Does the juice slide from the middle of your lips to the side?

When to Eat


  • If you are eating out, you should wait until all the members of your group have been served before picking up your fork.

  • At a private dinner, observe the host or hostess and pick up your fork when he or she does.

  • However, if you are at a buffet, you may start when there are others seated at your table.

What do you say?  Buffet.

Dinner at home,  dishes should be passed counter-clockwise flow. Salt and pepper should be passed together. 

Table Manners – Part of Evolution 

Table manners were designed to keep people from scarfing food down like animals. I never knew the reason was evolution-based.  If you think about it, it does make sense.

‘One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you should never call attention to yourself by blatantly breaking the rules set by society.’ 

Whoever wrote this has never seen “Saturday Night Fever.”

Below there are lists and pictures of more etiquette, but let’s run away from that for a minute.

Food You Can Eat With Your Fingers

Let’s go outside the burgers, fajitas and shrimp.  Here are some that may not be your first guesses:

  • Asparagus
  • Artichokes (This one is probably on your list; I just like them)
  •  Curry-based food most associated with India
  • Ethiopian food 
  • Most Moroccan food
  • Gatsbys
  •  South Africa has a couple
    •  Kota – make a hole in bread, fill it with what you like and walk around with it.
    • Pap and Vleis – It is like a polenta that you roll into a ball and dip into a porridge or stew
  •  This link is to some cool recipes of finger food recipes.
  •  State Fairs –

Some International Unique Manners – Few Utensils Needed


In Thailand, don’t put food in your mouth with a fork. Instead, when eating a dish with cooked rice, use your fork only to push food onto your spoon. Some Thai dishes are eaten with the hands id they have “sticky” rice.  If something doesn’t have rice you can use a fork. Thai people also have rules for when to use chop sticks.

In Japan, never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice.
Between bites, your chopsticks should be placed together in front of you, parallel to the edge of the table.  During funerals in Japan, the rice bowl of the deceased is placed before their coffin…with their chopsticks upright in the rice.  Guess they are implying rules no longer apply?
In China, don’t flip the fish.
Although you might be used to flipping over a whole fish once you’ve finished one side, don’t — at least when you’re in China, especially southern China and Hong Kong. That’s because flipping the fish is “bad luck.” It is like saying that the fisherman’s boat is going to capsize. The most superstitious will leave the bottom part untouched, while others will pull off the bone itself to get to the bottom.
In Korea, if an older person offers you a drink, lift your glass to receive it with both hands.
Doing so is a sign of respect for elders, an important tenet of Korean culture. After receiving the pour with both hands, you should turn your head away and take a discreet sip. Also, don’t start eating until the elder does.
In Italy, only drink a cappuccino before noon.
  • Some Italians say that a late-day cappuccino upsets your stomach, others that it’s a replacement for a meal.
  • Don’t ask for parmesan for your pizza — or any other time it’s not explicitly offered.  Putting parmigiano on pizza is seen as a sin.  And many pasta dishes in Italy aren’t meant for parmesan: In Rome, the traditional cheese is pecorino.
In Britain, always pass the port to the left.
It’s unclear why passing port on the left is so important.  It may have to do with naval tradition of left side of the boat. Regardless, passing the decanter to the right is a big mistake. So is not passing it at all.  In essence, don’t bogart the port.
In France, don’t eat your bread as an appetizer before the meal.
Instead, eat it with your food or, especially, to the cheese course at the end of the meal. Placing bread directly on the table and not on a plate is preferred.  Viva le France.
Northern Eurasia
Never mix — or turn down — vodka in Russia.
The beverage is always drunk neat — and no, not even with ice. Adding anything is seen as polluting the drink’s purity (unless the mixer is beer, which produces a formidable beverage known as yorsh). And, when you’re offered the drink it’s a sign of trust and friendship.  So never turn it down.  A drink can be offered at any time of day. Again, I may have known a guy who has had Vodka very early in the day.
At a traditional feast in Georgia, it’s rude to sip your wine. You down the whole glass at once after a toast.  If there glasses weren’t small, I’d think I once had a lot of friends from Georgia.
Middle East
When drinking coffee with Bedouins in the Middle East, shake the cup at the end.
Typically, anyone Bedouin will continue to pour you more coffee unless you shake the cup. 
In the Middle East, India and parts of Africa, don’t eat with your left hand.
In South India, you shouldn’t even touch the plate with your left hand while eating. That’s largely because the left hand is associated with, um, hinny buns functions, so it’s considered to be dirty. In fact, says Allen, don’t even pass important documents with your left hand.  Ick, Ick, Ick.
South America
In Brazil, play your tokens wisely.
At a churrascaria, or a Brazilian steakhouse, servers circle with cuts of meat and diners. If a server comes out with something you want, make sure your token, which you’ll have at your table, has the green side up. If you don’t want any more, flip it with the red side up.   Kinda like poker.  Correct, I don’t know the rules of poker.
Don’t eat anything, even fries, with your hands at a meal in Chile.
Manners there are a little more formal than many other South American countries. Their desire is to identify with European culture, so food is eaten with a knife and a fork.
In Mexico, never eat tacos with a fork and knife.
Worried about spilling refried beans and salsa all over your front? Tough.
Ok back to real manners.

Place Setting Manners for Eating Bites 

I Googled this hoping to learn something new.   Basically, this picture tells the story.

Here’s the only new things I learned … Soup may be served in between a salad and main course, which would move the spoon between the two knives.

There could be a soup course and a palette cleansing mint sorbet course which would mean using two spoons, or having spoons brought out for these courses.

Finger bowls may be used in which case they are brought out after a messy course instead of being placed at the setting the entire meal.

A charger plate may be used. The napkin might be set to the left or placed in the center of the charger. I knew the idea; didn’t know the term.  A charger plate is the decorative one you set below the real dishes you’re using.

You could also be serving a different wine for every course which would result in a cascade of glasses flowing to the right of the setting.

The only reason I included this section is to recognize a lobbyist I used to travel with.  No matter where we went.  She could look at the table and tell what the menu would be.  She could get right down to what type of bread and protein.  A good parlor trick.   

Some Dining Etiquette Rules to Consider:

  • Turn off your cell phone before sitting down.
  • Taste your food before you add seasoning.
    • If you are dining with a prospective employer, the person may perceive you as someone who acts without knowing the facts.  
  • Cut one or two bites at a time.
  • Never blow on your food. If it is hot, wait for it to cool off.
  • Scoop your soup away from you.  
    •  Soup is always a shirt-destroyer.  Yet, I always throw the dice.  I love a good bisque.
  • Some foods are meant to be eaten with your fingers.  Just need to know which ones.
  • Try at least one or two bites of everything on your plate, unless you are allergic to it.
  • Compliment if you like the food, but don’t voice your opinion if you don’t.
    •  Again, not an Italian-American family in play here.

Other Things to Do

  • Use your utensils for eating, not gesturing.
  • Keep your elbows off the table. Rest your hands in your lap.
    •  Literally, for me, keeping elbows off the table is one of the hardest things to do.
  • Eat slowly and pace yourself to finish at the same approximate time as the hosts.
  • Avoid burping or making other rude sounds at the table.
    •  Where was this list when my son was young?  
  • If you spill something at a restaurant, signal one of the servers to help.
  • If you spill something at a private dinner party in someone’s home, pick it up and blot the spill. Offer to have it professionally cleaned.
  • When you finish eating, leave your utensils on your plate or in your bowl.
    •  We were told tines down.  That wasn’t in this list.
  • You may reapply your lipstick, but don’t freshen the rest of your makeup at the table. 
    •  If they say so.  I wouldn’t do either.  This is an excuse to go to the ladies room and use the cellphone you’ve avoided for an hour.
  •  When dinners over at someone’s home, stay for an hour after or it’s seen as an eat and run.  

Saving Your Clothes From What You Bite

Where this whole blog article started is from a white sweater that was ruined at an Xmas party.  Over the years, I have stained so many things.  Before putting them in my closet in the ‘someday I will fix this pile’, I’ve tried to save them by soaking, going to drycleaners, white vinegar, Dawn, soaking with special soaps.  I have never been able to save a thing.

Tons of people have said … “I always have luck with White Vinegar.”  Why do I never have luck with it.  Really, I have gone step by step with YouTube videos to clean things and still nothing.

I refuse to wear a plastic poncho when out to eat.  So, this is my plight. 

What’s a stain or two, right? 

If you go day over day, my staining average is about 2%.  Outing over outing my average is probably 20%.  It gets worse when you go favorite clothes over favorite clothes.  That’s roughly about 60%.  Ugh.

Really not so bad though.  I get to go to and give parties; spit water when laughing; eat delicious food; spend time with amazing family and friends.  Actually, I’m very lucky.

Cheers (Not the all tempa one)

Enjoy your holiday. 

Very often you get a nice sweater for a gift anyway.  That can start the cycle all over.

If you have a spillage story, please share it in the comments.  If you like this post, please share.





Real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner?

A Real Italian

Real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner

This morning I started planning Thanksgiving dinner, of course, with an Italian flair. Out of curiosity, I searched to see if there was anything out there that even slightly resemble what I grew up with and heard about.  Guess what?  Not-a-one.  Let me introduce you to what a real Italian Thanksgiving dinner is like from before soup to past nuts:

1. Appetizers

  • Pepperoni, wine-cheeses and crackers
  • Prosciutto and green olives as well as black olives that are dried and then soaked in oil
  • Braided Buffalo Mozzarella with tomatoes and parsley gently sprinkled on it
    • And having some basil nearby is always a good thing
  • Stuffed mushrooms (these were Frankie Boy’s favorite) —

Oh in the Italian culture, sometimes junior is known as boy or sonny.  My brother (age 57) hates being called Frankie Boy now.  However, in my family, he is Francesco’s son, so from now till forever, he is Frankie Boy.  And no one, I mean no one, likes calling him that more than me.)

  • Sometimes you may also have stuffed clams
  • Sausage in the oil
  • Also, at this phase of the event, drinks include things like Rob Roys, Manhattans, Scotch, Campari or Martinis

2. First Course

  • Soupa escarole – if it has the little meatballs in it, it’s Italian Wedding Soup.
    •   Another option is pastina, escarole and shredded chicken soup.

Also on the table are Lupini beans, more olives, hard crust Italian bread, and butter as well as home-grated Parmesan cheese and dried roasted red pepper flakes. *The cheese can be sprinkled in the soup or on the bread. 

This is eaten as all the minor sides are passed around.  I’d like to tell you these are only cups of soup, but they are not.  The bowls are large and deep,

Some might have wine at this point.  For “the kids”, it’s usually a bottled water such as Pellegrino.

3. Second course

You’d think now is the time for Turkey.  Not yet!  Now it’s time for Lasagna.  With the lasagna, is sauce-soaked meatballs, bracciola, sausage and possibly egg balls.  Sauce is usually in a gravy boat, because we love it.

An antipasto is put on the table too.    Antipasto in my family, was lettuce with tomatoes, prosciutto and olives as well as homemade oil and vinegar dressing.  Some families save the salad for after all the courses.  Mine didn’t.  Here, it’s a side dish.

Now the wine comes out.  Some families have a jug wine … Carlo Rossi perhaps.  If you go with bottled wine, it’s a Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.  These are hearty and pair well with the sauce.

4. Third course

Stuffed artichokes which is a mess when you have a table full of people with the artichoke dish and the leaf bowls.

5.  Fourth course — The Key course of a Real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner

Finally, turkey!

The turkey is brought to the table on a wooden dripping board.  This is where the ceremonial carving takes place.

As the patriarch of the family becomes a Samurai Warrior sharpening the knife on the honing stick, all the sides come out.

That’s right; more food.

Mashed potatoes with butter and mozzarella inside, roasted potatoes in oil, and candied yams, squash (both mashed and in the gourd), cranberry jelly, crescent rolls, stuffing, garlic green bean casserole (no funions on top) and gravy are some of what you find.

Another gravy boat for the gravy? But, heck no!  You’ll find  gravy is put in a bowl with a silver ladle spoon.

Here’s the trick, gravy is spread as a gentle drizzle while sauce is a generous pour. That’s how we roll.

Wines are on the table, same as before.  My dad also likes having peaches in his wine at this point in the meal.  Why,  because it cleanses the palate.

My dad also says Rinfreschi il palato tra una portata e l’altra.  I guess when you transition from Italian food to Italian food, you have to get your palate ready for the change. 

Drum roll, carving of the turkey begins.  Relatives call out what piece of the turkey they want.  Cousin Sal is always first to call dibs on the leg and Frankie Boy calls the other one.

6. Fifth course

Dessert?  No not yet.

Time for roasted chestnuts, almonds and hazelnuts as well as walnuts are served. These are accompanied by the demitasse coffee and black coffee with the Sambuca and Anisette.

Let’s not forget the biscotti for dunking.

You’d think people would run out of things to talk about, but nope.  The conversation, singing and laughing is just beginning.

7. Sixth Course

Dessert?  Yes!

You have pumpkin pie, apple pie, blackberry pie, pecan pie, gelato, and whipped cream.

This course is accented with cordials such as Galliano,  Crème de cacao, Chambord, Amaretto,  Crème de menthe and Curaçao.

Shh, we also had Baily’s Irish Cream.  Don’t tell anyone.

Do you think people are drunk and ready to bust?  No, it’s just time for a short break.

8. All the men watch a few quarters of football

They may nap too, but they always unbutton their pants temporally.  It’s supposed to be a secret, but we all know.

9. Home movies

When we were young, we’d get the super 8 camera, put up a portable screen and watch the events and family reunions from the last year.  Now we are using wifi and linking the computer to the big screen TV.

I like the super 8-events better.  It feels more nostalgic.  In a storage unit, I have all the old super 8 films and slides because there also used to be slide shows.

9. More Soup

That’s right!  Now there is turkey soup with pastina, more bread and more drinks and the ability to sample anything eaten at any point during the day.

By this time we’ve gone from about noon to 10 pm.

Time for the card game to start.

The night it isn’t over until someone is practically falling asleep at the table.

Once that happens, everyone decides which kids are sleeping over and which are going home and finding out who is coming over the next day for left overs.

Because we do it in an edited version the next day too.


Every family has some variations here and there, but this, in essence, is a real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner.

If anyone tells you that an Italian Thanksgiving includes dishes made with saffron or any other fad spices, they are not Italian.  They are wannabes or trying to sell a cookbook.

Happy Thanksgiving week.


What’s your Thanksgiving tradition?









Country Music – Not Always Southern

Northern Country

Country Music – Not Always Southern

If you listen to some Country Music, whether Johnny Cash or Miranda Lambert, you hear songs about Georgia, Texas, Alabama, etc.   You also hear about huntin’, fishin’, pickup trucks, dirt roads, cornfields and porch swings.  Well let me tell you about what it’s like to live in the Northeast.  Almost 90% (89.4) of the Northeast is non-Urban.  It is farms, mountains and undeveloped property.   As for pickup trucks, Ford 150 followed by the Chevy Silverado are some of the most purchased vehicles.   So where is the Country Music from the Northeast? Because it’s not only Southern.

Why It’s Not Only Southern

Most of you know I grew up in a small city (60K) and small town (300).  So farm land, Adirondack mountains, and cool natural nooks were everywhere. 

My brother had a black standard Ford pick-up.  One of my cousins brought me to a party in a cornfield.  The local swim club in my town was actually a pond.  Another cousin had a farm where I milked a cow.

My friends (not me) would race and speed their cars through the winding roads around a gorge.  There we’d meet new people from other local towns and made immediate friends.  And, no there was no Cello Lambrusco or beer (yuk) to accelerate the friendships.  🙂

And, something few people know, I was given a ticket once for fishing without a license.  I was really holding it for a friend.  Funny, but true.  The ticket was contested and the matter dismissed.  BTW – The magistrate took this event very seriously. 

Another time, I came home, pressed the button to open our garage door; and there was a deer hanging with blood on the hole on its chest.  I screamed and closed the door.  A deep laugh could be heard through the door.  Frank, my brother, enjoyed grossing me out.

Since I mentioned Frank, he used to hunt with gun and bow; and even fish with a bow.

Sound Country?

Uhhh, yeah.   So where is the country music from Upstate NY.  The only thing that came close was American Pie.  That’s only because it mentioned a levy and a Chevy.

The soundtrack of Upstate included some southern rock (Lynrd Skynrd), pop music (I won’t write Madonna, but will write Phil Collins), progressive (Rush) and hair bands like Bon Jovi.  Not too different from other places.


A few years ago, an article was written in the Washington Post outlining that the Northeast is embracing country music to the point it could overtake local music.

Gotta thank the marketers for getting us to like Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and more.

There has to be new talent in the Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest that contribute to the country music scene.  These areas have large areas many would describe as country.

Think about it … Australia is even represented in the country music scene.

Some music scouts and marketers need to get up North and even-out the playing field.

It’s Possible

Across North America, people now have eclectic music taste.  People may have a genera they favor, but they are open to new music too. 

Let me say it again, the north is under-represented in the Country category.  

Record labels, scouts and marketers … take a plane north and change that.  The financial payoff and contribution to the evolution of music will remember you as innovators.

Just Some Country Music Fun Facts

Other than Sawyer Brown, the kid who won the Voice a few years ago; and New Jersey born Clint Black, there are no big music acts from the region.

As reported by Wide Open Country, here is the list of famous country music artists by Northeast states.  I only knew a couple.  Most are songwriters or studio musicians.

  • Connecticut – The Carpenters.  Are they country?
  • Maine – Patty Griffin (mostly songwriter)
  • New York – Pete Seeger – Song Writer (If I Had a Hammer)
  • New Hampshire – Tom Rush (known from work in the 1960s)
  • Vermont – Grace Potter (she wrote “You and Tequila Make Me Crazy”.  Just born there)
  • Massachusetts – Jo Dee Massina
  • Rhode Island – Billy Gilman (our state is so small we only have a tween as our famous act).

Top 10 Per Capita Music States

The 10 you’ve been waiting for. The states where country music has a firm place in the past and in the future.

10. Pennsylvania Of all the Northeastern States, Pennsylvania definitely has the largest country music appeal.  They get to claim Taylor Swift.  That’s a skew.

9.Mississippi Not Just Elvis Presley, Mississippi has produced countless country music stars, most notably Charley Pride and Faith Hill. 

8.Arkansas Johnny Cash – enough written.

7.Missouri -Mostly because of Branson.

6.West Virginia “Take Me Home Country Roads” by pop country artist (John Denver).  It has one of the largest country stations in the nation.

5.Georgia – Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan – all native Georgians. And you can’t forget superstars like Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt or Trisha Yearwood. Georgia is much more than just peaches.

4.Kentucky – For a state that’s known for bluegrass, it also delivered Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakam, The Judds, and Montgomery Gentry. 

3.Oklahoma – There was a time, about 10-15 years ago, when  Garth Brooks, Vince Gill and Reba McEntire were topping the charts, it was ‘the’ top state for Country.

2.Tennessee – Nashville is the center of commercial country music, and also the place where the Country Music Hall of Fame, all its famous honky-tonks, the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium are located. 

1.Texas While country music is a way of life in Texas. There are no other places with as many country music concerts, nightclubs, small town Opry shows and legends). And it’s also the only state to have an independent country scene apart from Nashville. 

One of my most-Boston friend is married into a family of doctors, lawyers and investment bankers from Dallas.  Every weekend they’d go to a rodeo.

The Real Deal

You can easily find me at a cool restaurant or shopping as you can hiking or enjoying a lake-side picnic.  

Because of Chip, I have gone to a bunch of country concerts.  You know what, whether the venue is 5K people or 80K (think that’s what you can fit in Gillette Stadium), country concerts are low tech, friendly and genuine … other than the jumbotron.

Let’s hope there are some smart marketers who are willing to visit cozy country bars in the North and find talent.

If you have a country concert, open spaces or music favorite story, tell us about it.  I bet you have ones much better than mine.

Please share this post.  Your friends may like it.








Watermelon Cold in The Stream – Good Thing

Watermelon Cold in the Stream – Good Thing

In the grocery store today, I passed the watermelon and then fresh basil; and a bunch of 4th of July and summer memories popped in my head.  

Some of you know, I grew up in the Adirondacks in small (I mean under 200 people) town and a small city.   It made me decide to set aside the post I had ready; and just share some things that make me think of summer.  Most of them revolve around our lake house, we called it camp. 

It was 35 minutes from our house.  That’s how we roll upstate.

We did have a fridge in camp and all other modern features, but with all the Italian and American food in it, the watermelon couldn’t fit.  Yet, still needed to be cool.  So it went in between the rocks with the cold water flowing over it for a couple days.  (no bears ever got it)

In the moving water in the Adirondacks, lake temperature ranges between 53 to 65 degrees.  Some can get up to 73.  So, the watermelon was in good care.

When it was cut into slices, it was cold, sweet and delicious.  An event worth the wait.  It’s the same level event as cutting a Thanksgiving turkey.

Hot Spring



Across from our camp was a small island.  It’s about 40 ‘ x 15’.  Somehow in the middle of it, there is a small hot spring.  We would wade through the cold, water climb the rocks and sit in the pool.  We didn’t know that years later people actually paid to do things like that.  Not sure. but I do not think it preserved my skin all that much.  Ok, not at all.  

Never occurred to us to bring watermelon over there.  Bet that would have been good.

The Rocks

Around our camp’s shoreline and in the water to the island, the floor was covered in rocks.  We used to have to wear old stringless, Keds and Converse to protect our feet.  Over the course of years our parents cleared all the rocks leaving a smooth, water floor.

When we skipped stones, it defeated the purpose, but it gave our parents something to do.

The rocks at the shoreline had some spots were they jetted out into the water.  This gave us an opportunity to scale the boulders.  And, my cousins would fish there.  However, rarely were any fish caught.  Not for a lack of trying.  The camp’s shed had at least 15 old rickety fishing rods.

4th of July 1976

This was my cousin’s Sal’s 15th birthday.  You’d think after 15 years of a total of 5 fish being caught, he’d not give up the 4th festivities to fish.  

The night before, he went out and collected a bunch of nightcrawlers….ewww

He was ready.  After the traditional pancake breakfast made by my Uncle Sal,  he went out to the rocks near the middle of the lake and sunk his hook between two of the boulders. 

Doesn’t sound like a good approach; does it?

He did not fish near the watermelon … just sayin.

Well on his 15th birthday, he caught 15 Sun Fish.   When he got number 8, he was thrilled and didn’t think he’d catch anymore.  By 3 in the afternoon, he had caught the 15th one.  He tried until the dusk; and didn’t catch any more.

Thank God we never threw out (or cleaned out) the camp’s shed.

Basil Behind Dad’s Ear

The final summer memory that hit me in the grocery store, was my dad keeping basil behind his ear when he gardened.

There wasn’t much gardening that took place at camp, but at our house, we had a true garden. 

In his garden, Dad raised tomatoes, dandelion lettuce, endive, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, eggplant, onions and pumpkins.  

And, along the back side of the house, he’d grow herbs … parsley, basil, oregano, chives and I’m sure several more too.

He loved his garden.  It was his sanctuary after work and on the weekends.  He weed a little everyday.  And, he’d frequently move the dirt around the plants.  Not sure why,  Maybe move the air around it after he watered?  No idea really.

But he wore a piece of sweet basil behind his ear and a cloth, rust, baby fedora on his head.

In Italian tradition, men would wear basil behind their ears as they courted women.  Before going to meet the object of their affection, they would take a deep inhale of the basil.  And, luck would be theirs.

The scent was supposed to be sweet and enticing.  

Maybe my dad was a romantic.  Or my mom wasn’t. 

There are tons of other summer memories that I can share, but these are the ones the grocery store brought me today.

Your Memories

Tell me about your favorite summer memory.  Or, share your last trip to the grocery store.  I’m shocked how little you get for $112. lol

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