Today is Palm Sunday. A Christian holiday. The day Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

A donkey instead of a horse. Reasons two fold. First, to show humility. Second, to evidence to the people that He came in peace and not as a warrior king.

The people scattered palm branches in front of Jesus.

His entry into Jerusalem triumphal.

Less than a week later, Jesus would be dead.

Though not a major holiday, Palm Sunday was one my Italian family celebrated. Generally at my grandparents’. The whole family. Aunts, uncles and cousins.

The meal not unusual. That would come next week on Easter Sunday. A huge bowl of ziti. If a special touch at all, melted mozzarella on top of the ziti. A meat sauce, of course. Meat consisted of the meatballs, beef and pork which were part of the sauce. A huge pasta bowl of such meats. Salad. The meal concluded with espresso and fruit.

My grandfather would start dinner with a blessing. He would take a small piece of palm and dip it into a bottle of Holy Water he kept. He would say a few words and sprinkle us.

The palms were a big deal. You had to go to Church to get palms. They were given out during Mass. When I was a kid, all the palms a person wanted. In later years, each person attending Church got one. Cost, scarcity, or what? I could never figure it out.

My uncles were pros at making crosses and other things out of palms. Small crosses, large crosses. Horses and other animals. Like the balloons of today which can be molded into anything.

The Italian custom was to visit the homes of friends after Mass. To exchange palms. A hug and kiss. Followed by a Happy Palm Sunday!

I was invited by friends on Sugarloaf to party last night. Drinks at someone’s house first. Then dinner at Square Grouper.

About 20 miles each way. Too far for me if I was drinking. I wanted to have a few drinks since I have been avoiding as best possible alcohol while on a diet.

So, I opted for Berlin’s alone.

Shawn and Gage bartending. The lovely Bria singing. Tuna for dinner.

After dinner, I sat in the lounge for a while listening to Bria sing and sipping a Bally’s Irish Cream.

While at the bar, a hug from behind. It was Lynda Frechette. Together with husband Bob, ML and Brad. All good people. Especially Lynda who does for everyone. They were having dinner inside at A&B.

Bob was wearing a blazer. Confirmed my thought expressed earlier this week that the no jacket Key West no longer existed. Bob had jumped over the fence.

Another couple was listening to Bria also. Charlie and Margo. Margo visiting from Maine. Charlie originally from Fonda, New York. Like 70 miles from my home town Utica. Small world.

Bob now lives full time in Key West. On a boat located in a Stock Island marina.

Walmart, where fort art thou Walmart?

Roughly 10 years since it was announced that a private group was going to build a Walmart on Rockland Key. 335,000 square feet with some smaller stores.

Still not built. Key West Citizen reported yesterday size now 150,000 feet. No date to begin construction advised.

The problem has involved the land owners and developers. Ten years of fighting over money, including a court case.

I wish they would get the project off the ground. We need a Walmart in the lower keys. We wear shorts and t-shirts. Brooks Brothers we are not.

We also need a cheaper place to purchase groceries.

The Key West Citizen wrote on the first page of this morning’s paper that taxis are going the way of the dinosaur. No question about it. Such the case, the City Commission should get off its ass and approve Uber and Lyft for Key West operation.

Let me finish with Trump’s bombing of Syria.

I was/am generally opposed. Not our war. I don’t see the English, French or Germans bombing anyone. They’re too smart.

On the other hand, once the Rubicon has been crossed, Trump should have done the job correctly. Destroyed Assad’s Air Force.

What did Trump do? Fifty nine missiles. Directed at one air base. Twenty planes destroyed. Twelve killed.

In retaliation for 70 plus lives lost. Proportionate? No way!

Even worse, not one of the runways was damaged. It is said the U.S. spoke with Russia in the afternoon and advised what we were going to do. I suspect that during any conversations, Russia said no potholes in the runways, please.

The Democrats describe the bombing as a pin prick. I have to agree. Not a political conclusion on my part. A common sense one.

Enjoy your Sunday!




  1. “Even worse, not one of the runways was damaged. It is said the U.S. spoke with Russia in the afternoon and advised what we were going to do. I suspect that during any conversations, Russia said no potholes in the runways, please.”

    From what I have read not only did Trump warn Putin but Vlad than warned Assad of the impending “attack” and only a few out of service wreck planes were destroyed along with people Assad obviously does not care about.

    The runway and airfield was back in service within 48 hours. Sort of a Three Stooges way to fight a …..?? War. No, Congress has no guts. Conflict? No, a one off supposedly. So a “Show of Force” only it more appropriately can be called a “Show of Farce.”

    Now at millions a pop. those missiles could have perhaps saved Meals on Wheels for the older and poorer Americans. Nope, blew them up. Where is this America First stuff going to kick in? Still waiting.

  2. Lou, as I got older and the world a little bigger I found that immigrants from Italy(north to south) have a country in common and much less beyond that. Food, culture and dialect, all different and influenced by region and history. So since you shared your traditional meal story, I will too. Maybe some of this is common ground for you too.
    To begin, I don’t know how we packed away all the food at holiday gatherings or how the elders, grandmothers and such, had the stamina to cook for such large crowds. They loved every minute of it and had great pride in having the family together, to provide the food that gave so much joy. The Adult table, long and packed. The baby table, little kids and maybe an unfortunate pre-teen who couldn’t fit at the big one. Capuzelle in the old days, nothing goes to waste, eyeballs and all. My memories of Lamb and veal peppered with garlic cloves, massive bowls of homemade pasta or pans of hand-made manicotti or lasagna. Cardones hand picked in season, stripped and cleaned until your hands were black, then cooked till tender. Massive bubbling pots of “Italian Gravy” or just “Gravy”, as that is what it was called. Marinara or aglio e olio, all good was for other days, never this day and rarely on Sundays. The Gravy pot was loaded with meatballs, sausage, pork, beef, and braciole.
    I could eat in those days, everyone could, and we did to the point of rupture. We couldn’t help it, it was all that good.The meal would start in the early afternoon and last into the evening. As I got older, I cooked along side so the recipes endured, as did the memories.

  3. Cardones ! Its hard to find those that know what these stalks are. I grew up with them and enjoy them still. Along with all the other Italian food [ except tripe]. By the time we’ll get back home it’ll be dandelion season, Love them raw in a sandwich with fresh italian bread.

    I never heard sauce called gravy until I started watching the Soprano’s. Must be a New Jersey term I guess.

    • Never heard of cardones. Describe, if you will. Dandelions dfantastic! Salad with oil. My grandmother used to take me picking dandelions with her. I was small. Learned we had to avoid public places. Like parks and open areas. Dog urination, etc. Cemeteries were the best. Generally confined. My mother was a tripe fanatic. I could not stand it. Sauce sauce in my family.

      • Well, cardones are a green leafed stalk, almost weed like, they were found in fields and on the road side. You would spend your time bent over with a knife in one hand and a bag or sack in the other, cutting close to the ground, keeping just the stalk. Tough as hell if not cooked right, but if properly cleaned and stripped they were fantastic. Boiled till tender, often we would bread and fry them, just like cutlet. Wonderful texture. I don’t see them so much anymore and around the holidays you sometimes find them in grocery stores. The commercial ones are massive, bigger than celery and look alike too. Tripa, not my favorite either but a lot of the old folk would go crazy for it.Oh I forgot, added to the Sunday “gravy”— veal or beef bones, the marrow…..heavenly!.

  4. Cardones are kinda in the artichoke/celery family and are commonly referred to as Burdock.
    There are many ways to fix them, but, the only way we fix them is to strip the small tender shoots, batter and fry them.
    Its my nickname back home because I’ll pick and fix them for shore lunches when fishing.
    Fried cardones, fried fish, fresh dandelions, cold beer, can’t think of a better lunch.

    Our Italian Christmas eve tradition was no meat, just homemade pastas with long sauce [ long simmered and one separate pot with squid], fish [ usually lake trout, walleye or perch whatever I had] and broccoli . Christmas day could/would have meat in the sauce.
    Easter breakfast/lunch was always friatta[sp] and dinner turkey. My father-in-law was a master of the friatta, 4-5 inch thick. I try to continue the tradition, but, he was the best.

    • Patrick, sounds wonderful, seafood and sauce, frittata’s, all kinds, and yes thick and tasty. You do need a level of skill to get them right. Here made in heavy old cast iron pans, I still use them to this day!

  5. Charles on April 11, 2017 at 10:31 am said:
    Patrick, sounds wonderful, seafood and sauce, frittata’s, all kinds, and yes thick and tasty. You do need a level of skill to get them right. Here made in heavy old cast iron pans, I still use them to this day!

    end quote

    Yep, Frittata. Thanks for showing me how to spell it, I’ll try to remember it. Most folks think they are a form of a normal thin omelet. And to make the thick ones properly does take a huge cast iron pan. I use cast iron for a lot of cooking.

  6. OH, forgot, chemo brain strikes again.
    Anyway, squid in Christmas eve tomato sauce is a tradition. I like squid as normally fried for an appetizer, but, we simmer it in a separate pot of sauce for the number of us that like it. Its a once a year thing and always look forward to it. Also the fried dough with aleach [sp] [anchovy].
    Our meatballs and sausage are homemade with pork and venison along with chunks of pork and venison simmered in the regular sauce. But thats normal all the time.

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