Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The Talliaferro Family Reunion
The Talliaferro Steak house was nicely appointed in a ‘Vegas slick’ sort of way; all chrome, dark wood furniture and black leather, crystal chandeliers and red velvet drapery.
Alfred and Mother had arrived a little early, but not too early. The Maître d’ was looking over the guest list, “I don’t see your name,” he said, and then with the sound of surprise in his voice, “Oh, Colonel and Mrs. Montrose, you’re at the head table.” He looked at Mother and Alfred and asked, “Immediate family?”
Alfred gave him a steely-eyed look that said, “Mind your own business.”
The Maître d’ took the hint and said, “Let me show you to your table.”
Mother’s brother Calo was already standing there by the table scanning the crowd. He turned to them saying, “Rosabella, Alfred, glad you could make it.”
There was the customary round of hand shaking, then Alfred held out a chair for Mother, saying, “Rose, let me help you.”
Calo raised an eyebrow, “Rose, not Rosabella?”
Alfred replied, “Rose Montrose is a beautiful name.” Alfred remained standing beside Calo as Mother was seated and looked around the room. Finally he said, “there’s a lot more than immediate family and relatives here.’
Calo said with a snarky grin, “There’s family and there is famiglia.”
Alfred, responded, “I can see from the bulges in jackets that some of them mean business.”
“Forewarned is forearmed,” laughed Calo.
All this while Mother was fidgeting nervously. Finally, she burst out, “Is the Vizzini family here? Whatever happened to Paolo?”
Calo turned serious, “Look, Sis, I told you that you wouldn’t see Paolo no more.”
“I know you did, Calo,” said Mother, but what actually happened to him?”
“We’re not animals,” said Calo, “and there were other considerations. Paolo was the grandson of Don Vizzini back in Sicily. It was important for the Talliaferro family to keep the peace with Don Vizzini, so we came to an agreement with him and sent Paolo back to Palermo. Don Vizzini was very unhappy with Paolo. Part of our agreement was that the Don take back Paolo’s family along with Paolo.”
“What if he comes back?” asked Alfred.
“That’s not going to happen,” said Calo. “Paolo was stupid and didn’t learn from his mistakes. He pulled the same stunt with somebody else’s sister and that kicked off a family vendetta. Paolo is dead. Many of the male members of his family are dead. There are many graves in Sicily. Finis!” said Calo.
Later in the evening Mother and Alfred were back in their room at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Mother heaved a great sigh, and said, “Alfred. All these years I have lived with the fear of the Vizzinis. I should have asked earlier, but I just couldn’t face it.”
“Mother,” said Alfred, “it’s over.” Then he asked, “Do you want to drive up to Cape Ann on the North Shore tomorrow?”
“You know, Alfred, I don’t think so,” said Mother. “Now that I don’t have to worry anymore, I think that I would like to spend a little time with my family before going to Cape Ann. It’s been such a very long time.”
“The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish- like smoke they vanish away.” [Psalm 37:18].