MAJOR RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS BACK TO BACK

Jewish and Christian religions overlap this weekend. Beginning today.

Tonight, the beginning of Passover. Seder.

Seder is a Jewish ritual feast. Marks the beginning of Passover. Celebrated with a huge dinner. A family and friends event. The meal begins with the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

The narrative of the exodus is called Haggadah. Special blessings and rituals are involved. Commentaries from the Talmud are read. A special Passover soup served. Followed by the eating of symbolic foods, wine drinking, eating matza, and reclining in celebration of freedom.

A big deal!

Followed by a meal of brisket.

I am invited yearly to celebrate Seder with Donna and her family. Tonight, at her daughter Stacey’s home. Thirty to forty people.

Donna’s children and grandchildren return to Key West each year to celebrate the holiday with Donna. Mandatory. No one misses it.

Donna has spent the past three days cooking all day. Her children help. A lot of work. A labor of love for them.

Today is also Good Friday. The day Jesus was crucified. Hung on a cross. For three hours till dead.

Christians world wide mourn his death today. I know of the day from my Catholic upbringing.

Traditionally, Jesus is hung on the cross at noon. Three hours of agony follow till He expires.

Fasting and Church services today. Part of the services include the Stations of the Cross.

Passover Seder and Good Friday coincide this year. Not necessarily so every year. Though both occur close in time.

I had a difficult experience in Church one year during the three hours.

I went to a Catholic high school. Sisters of Charity taught us. I was a freshman. Fourteen years old.  The three hours was mandatory for students.

Seated in my row two seats from me was one of the nuns. Directly in front of me in the row in front of me was a lovely woman. Early 20’s I would suspect.

A sensuous ass. I could not get my eyes or mind off it for three hours. I had an erection. I was praying to God to make it go down. No help. I feared the nun would see it. Fortunately, she did not.

It was a difficult three hours. My time for pain and suffering.

For some reason, I was tired all day yesterday. I had intended to go to The Studios to hear author Arlo Haskell of The Jews of Key West. He recently received the Florida Book of the Year award for the writing.

Never made it. I spent the day and evening lying around. Dozing on and off.

Feel fine this morning.

I mentioned yesterday that there had been a change in the operational heads of the Key West Citizen. The publisher and controller were let go.

Turns out the scenario was sort of coup. The change took place monday morning. The publisher must have been aware. He did not show up. The controller did. He was escorted off the premises by two police officers. Two police officers were stationed at the Citizen monday and tuesday.

Key West is a giving community. Many organizations award scholarships for college study. I am a member of The Sons and Daughters of Italy. We have a scholarship program.

One of the ways of funding it are special events. Tomorrow night The Sons and Daughters are having a bocce fundraiser. Tried it for the first time last year. Successful. Hopefully will be as successful this year.

One does not have to be a member to attend. Last year, I would estimate 70 percent of the attendees were not members.

The event is from 5:30 to 9:30 at the bocce courts on the ocean at the corner of White Street and Atlantic Boulevard. Cost $20 for adults and $10 for children. Includes food, drink, bocce equipment, and instruction for those who have never played.

I am one of those providing instruction. Did it last year. Many of those playing had never played before. Everyone had a good time.

Interestingly, many of those who attended merely to support a fundraiser subsequently joined The Sons and Daughters. I made several new friends as a result of the event.

In March 1958, Sugar Ray Robinson defeated Carmen Basilio to regain the Middleweight Boxing Championship. Robinson and Basilio held both the Middleweight and Welterweight championships at different times.

Basilio had beaten Robinson to win the Middleweight title. The same title Basilio lost to Robinson that March 1958.

I knew both men incidentally.

I attended Manhattan College in New York City 1953-57. Located at 242 Street and Broadway. Robinson’s mother lived at 238 Street and Broadway.

Whenever Robinson visited his mother, word spread on the campus. It was easy to know. Robinson drove a big pink Cadillac convertible. We would hustle down to 238 street hoping to see the champion.

If successful, Robinson was always quick to smile and say, “Hi, guys!”

Basilio I knew a bit better. A little bit.

Basilio’s home was Canastota, New York. Twenty miles from my home town Utica.

Canastota is well represented in Key West. Many from the area have homes here. I attribute it to onions.

Canastota is the onion capital of the world. Was in 1958 and remains so today. Everyone I meet in Key West from Canastota was or is in the onion business.

Basilio was known in the boxing world as the “Upstate Onion Farmer.”

At some point in time after Basilio and Robinson had been champions, the International Boxing Hall of fame was opened in Canastota. Yearly inductions.

It was at the inductions I got to see and greet Basilio up close. No more than a hello and how are you. Basilio later became physical education director at Syracuse’s Le Moyne College. I ran into him at some college functions when I was active at Syracuse University.

Enjoy your day!

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