Nonna Next Door: Pasta

“Is the Metro open?”Nonna asks everyone in the car.

I’m sitting in the back seat with Nonna coming home from a visitation. It’s about 9:30 p.m. and way past Nonna’s bedtime. The road we are driving on is dark, the car is pitch black, and the glow from the headlights brighten the highway ahead of us. There are no lights on this road, only the occasional checkered yellow sign that reflects from the beams of light.

“It’s open, yes,” My Mom says. “Why?”

“Oh we should go to the Metro!”

Here’s the thing with Nonna – once she starts shopping, she can’t stop. It’s late and I don’t want us to go on a family adventure that will last until 11:30 p.m.

“It take only five minute,” she says. My Mom and myself both say no. We want to go home, I have blogs to write, my Mom has 24 to watch.

“Lets go,” she says. “We go.”

“What do you mean we go? Did you just make the decision for us Nonna.” I ask.

She doesn’t respond. She is sneaky like that, she is trying to pull that elusive old lady card again. Pretending she doesn’t know whats going on. But she does, oh she does.

“Pasta is on sale! Twenty-five cents,” she says slowly with some good old fashioned Italiano passion.

We already have enough pasta to last us through the war, but still she insists on buying more. Nonna can’t turn down a good deal, she is the ultimate consumer who responds to sales and deals like a marketer’s dream. If the whole world was filled with replicas of my Nonna, well – the whole world would be very worried for no reason. And they would all be stock-piling pasta.

“If we no go now, there will be none-a left.”

I can hear the worry level going up in her voice. I’d say she is at a Nonna worry level four. The rating can go all the way up to ten. My Dad, who is the son-in-law of this whole situation tries to make her happy. “Ok, lets go,” he says.

“Dad,” I say annoyed

“It’s fine.” “No it’s not, lets go home. Drive me and Mom home, you go shopping with Nonna.”

That’s not happening. My Dad and Nonna aren’t the biggest fans of each other. It’s complicated how it works. They don’t hate each other – they just disagree. Lets keep it at that.

“Nonna, we don’t need any pasta.” “But that-a kind is soooo much better,” she says trying to convince myself.

“No, pasta bought a year ago, and pasta bought today, it is all the same.”

“You no know for sure,” she pinches my arm. My Dad cons his way out of this one, looking like the good, Nonna abiding son-in-law.

Today I came home and Nonna was standing in the doorway unlacing her surprisingly trendy Adidas sneakers. I say hi to her as usual.

“Hi Michael!”

“Hi Nonna, how was your day?”

“I went to the Metro!”

Of course Nonna went to the Metro. She had to, she had to get the good deals, and fast. There she stood, sandy brown hair, big smile and all – with four giant shopping bags full of assorted pasta. The bags sit on the tile floor like bags of sand. You could use them to set up a trench.

I throw my arms in the air. “Where is the war Nonna, where is it? Tell me, are you expecting one? Should we be worried? Should I start digging a bunker.”

She laughs at me. “You help a me?” I agree to carry the bags of pasta to the basement, where we already have cases of pasta.

“For ten dollar we can eat pasta for one year.” She raises her index finger to accentuate the one year. She justifies her strange ways. It all makes sense in her mind.

“When there is another sale on Nonna, I’m going to take you down stairs and show you all this pasta. I’m going to point like this, and I’m going to remind you of this conversation.”

“Oh take a easy.” She starts cramming all the pasta into the plastic cases. “I hope they fit,” she says.

This is my open invitation to everyone – when the war breaks out, the Burton residence will be serving Linguine, Spaghettini, Fusilli, Penne, Rigatoni, Farfalle, Macaroni, Gornito, Fettuccine, and Bravette. This will all be accompanied by Nonna’s own meatball sauce.

See you when the Canadian civil war breaks out.

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    • lisabarley
    • April 14th, 2010

    As an avid reader of your nonna stories I expect to be welcomed if a war ever does break out :P

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