In one’s lifetime, few people will ever have quite the impact on personal development as one’s father will. Father’s Day is reminder to appreciate and honor one’s father for all the things he did and the sacrifices made to make sure you got the best.
Likewise, few neighborhoods in Philadelphia can draw large crowds of foodies and evoke memories of days past as the historic Italian Market. With this in mind, we want to invite our Queso – Files readers to submit their fondest memories of trips to the Italian Market with dad or grandfather.
The writer of the most vivid and creative submission will win a Large VIP ($110 value) gift basket to be sent to his/her father or grandfather. Included in the basket will be your entry so your dad or grandfather can share your memory of time spent with them.
This contest expires on Monday, June 12 so be sure to submit soon.
Cara’s the winner!
Cara – please contact us at email@example.com as soon as possible to redeem your basket. Thanks!
I’m a assuming we submit via comment.
MY FATHER IS NOT ITALIAN
My father is not Italian. He is an Irishman akin to the Santa Claus of childhood dreams; chubby cherry cheeks, a stomach round as the cookies he eats, and eyes that twinkle as if he holds all the joy in the world. Regardless of his external semblance to St. Nick (either that or a giant leprechaun), my father secretly longs to be Italian. He struts down 9th street with me, slowly, cane supporting his bad leg, cigar from Tony’s shop jutting out the right side of his mouth, imitating as best as he can a Soprano. Without trying too hard, you can see right through his pseudo-Italian getup and realize he’s just another Irish wannabe. He might try to disarm you with words, though, when he pretends to have no interest in the Italians; “damn dagos, they’re everywhere.” Of course, you know secretly he’s wondering if he fits in.
For brunch one morning in the winter of 2005 when two of my brothers had come home from the war, my father took us out to Sabrina’s café. Having let my brothers Colin and Charles out of the car to get a table, my father, Tim (another brother) and I went to find the impossible: good parking spots in the Italian Market on Sunday. After circling Washington avenue a few times, listening to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra sing the same old songs, we found a spot directly in front of the café. Naturally, we pull in, but as we are just backing up into the spot, an older man yells from his car “You can’t park there! That’s my spot!” My father and Tim give their respective hand gestures, my father using an Italian-influenced one, of course. After ten minutes, my father now done his routine gathering of various things he might need while we are in the café, we head to the steps.
“He told you, you can’t park here, buddy.”
We all turn around. My father is now surrounded, outside of Sabrina’s, by the older man from the car and four or five new and much younger and fitter Italian men. These were the men my dad emulated, or at least tried his best to.
“Are you gonna move that car or what, sir.” The man in the hat asked, rubbing his hands together.
My father stuttered, realizing he was now confronted by the very men that he iss nothing like, and all he could do is put on what comes naturally to him: Irish blarney.
“Oh, I’m sorry sirs, this was your spot. I deeply apologize for what happened earlier—you see my son, he, uh, just came back from Iraq and he is quite angry and we were just simply hungry. It’s such a nice day, as you all can see, how would you like to come play paintball sometime—we own the field, you know, it’s on me,” and he digs deeply into his abyss like pockets and pulls out pill bottles, cigars, nail clippers, and, eventually free passes to Picasso Lake Paintball. “ Here, I’m quite sorry about that, really, I didn’t realize it was your spot, let me move the car so you can get in there and how would you like some money, can I pay you for this inconvenience…I would sure like to let you know I did not mean to offend you.”
My father, with his Irish wool cap on now, whips out a cigar and puffs on it, a desperate attempt to connect with these men. They all look at him, sternly, and nod towards the car. The old Irishman gets into the car and drives off, quite fastly, and we wait around inside the café for about 15 minutes. Charles was convinced he must’ve been made into sausage.
Our old man stumbles into the café, face quite red and wet, and plops down into the wooden chair.
“I’ll never do that again. I tell ya, they could see right through my dago costume.”
“I doubt it, dad,” I say, smiling, “that cigar really threw them. I could see it in their eyes.”
“Yea, I thought that’d work.”