Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Sicilian Cousin

Cousin Angelo

           Even for Mother it was rather an elaborate breakfast; a damask linen table cloth, our Crown Princess Silver, and our Royal Dalton Primrose china. And what a spread! Papaya with lime wedges each carefully wrapped in small squares of cheese cloth and secured with a neatly tied piece of fine white string, shirred eggs, bacon and breakfast sausages, and toast.  Mother was not looking at me, nor had she said a word.  She sat there with the New York Times carefully elevated.  In short she was hiding.

            Know I knew what the problem was.  Angelo!  Her Sicilian cousin!  He had actually changed his mind and came to the dinner and Bible Study at the Whittington’s last night.

            Apparently what he had said to Mother was, “Anything for a laugh!”

            You can well imagine that I had some trepidation, but I will say that our group was most hospitable.  The only sticky moment was when Horace Whittington asked for prayer regarding a recent accident.  Someone without insurance had rear-ended his Aston Martin Lagonda and then tried to claim against Horace’s insurance.

            Angelo, always ready to grant a favour said, “You want I should to talk to Carlo Civello about ‘dis?  I can get it fixed.”

            “No, thank you,” said Horace; but let me make you an offer you can’t refuse.”  How about coming to Church with us on Sunday?”

            For a moment Angelo just looked stunned, then he muttered, “What do you think I am?”  Then he burst out laughing and said, “That’s a good one.  I’ll have to tell Carlo.”

            Horace was grinning from ear to ear, “Hey, we’d like to invite Carlo also.”

            Angelo was quick to say, “Nah, that won’t work, Carlo is Catholic.”

            Then Horace began laughing, and everybody, including Angelo began laughing; that is, everyone but Mother.  She was mortified.

            I looked across the breakfast table at Mother who was still hiding behind her New York Times.  “Now what will I do?” I asked myself.

            Just then the phone rang and Mother threw down the Times in exasperation and went to answer the phone.  I heard her say, “Oh, good morning Grace,” then she walked into the dining room where I couldn’t hear her.  About twenty minutes later she came back, looking considerably more relaxed and sat down.

            For a few minutes she busied herself with her papaya, then she looked up and said, “Well, Alfred, I suppose it’s going to be alright.  Did you know that Horace Whittington has a cousin who spent some time in jail for embezzling?  Grace said, ‘Don’t worry! Every family has its characters; and I’m glad you brought your cousin Angelo.’”

            Jesus said: “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me” (Matthew 10:40).

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