From The Sky - Part II



Did I mention that Dad worked construction when I was a child? His hours were long. He often got home well after six, later if the job was far away, and that's how I ended up spending all those afternoons with my uncle. My aunts offered to watch me, but they lived across town and Uncle Gio was right across the street. My father saw no harm in my going there and saving everyone the bother of fetching me after school. My aunts thought otherwise. They did not approve of Uncle Gio. This put my father at odds with his sisters. It was a prickly situation.

My aunts…I suppose it is time to say more about them. I have three that I know of. I may have more, but if I do they're on my mother's side and I haven't a clue about the beasties swimming in the murky waters at that end of the gene pool. Dad never met any of my mother's family, though he thinks her parents maybe lived in Albuquerque.

My aunt's names are Raimonda, Sal and Zia. They're older than Dad. He was born twelve years after the youngest of his sisters, and they still slip sometimes and call him "Little Paulie." My grandmother died shortly after he was born, and he was raised as much by his sisters as his father. Perhaps more so.

Aunt Rae is the oldest of my father's sisters. Never, never call her Raimonda unless you're picking a fight. She is the wise one, the one we seek out when there's anything vexing us. Her hair is still jet-black except for a single thick streak of gray in her bangs. She wears black all the time, but she's not in mourning. I just think she enjoys looking severe. She's what a lot of older men call a "handsome woman." I suppose they mean that as a compliment, but I think it sounds awful. She's not slightly built like my other aunts or me. She's broad across the shoulders, like Dad, and tall like him, too.

Aunt Sal, the middle sister, is our cavalry. In a crisis she materializes and saves the day. She has rescued countless meals, parties and weddings from disaster. Sal is always immaculately groomed, salt and pepper hair just-so, her makeup deliberately understated and expertly applied. She's also an organization freak; she could give Martha Stewart some Martha Stewart lessons. (I've seen her use a ruler to space cannolis on a plate and serve them gingerly with metal tongs. There's none of that nonsense for me and Dad: we eat our cannolis right out of the box from Clancy's. )

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