From the Sky - Part XVI

The following year all customers were invited, from those who bought a single loaf of bread on Sunday to those who purchased hundreds of loaves and boxes of desserts for their restaurants. Now the picnic could no longer be left at the mercy of the elements, so a tent was rented to keep the guests dry if there was a cloudburst. It did rain and the tent proved uncomfortably crowded, so a second large tent and several dozen folding chairs were rented the next year. A band played at one end of the new tent while children played at the other. There was plenty of room in between for people to dance or just sit and enjoy the music, a mix of energetic polkas, Italian classics, and occasional pop tunes. The music targeted the largest ethnic groups in a Walnutwood where Italians and Polish dominated, followed by those of western European descent. "Italians and Poles run the school board, the Welsh and the Irish run the town," says Aunt Rae. "That will never change."

I'm not so sure about that.

Like all of America, Walnutwood is changing. There's a Latina woman named Caritina Martinez running for council, and a black man named Gabrial Washington running for school board. He says he can trace his family history all the way back to Wessyngton Plantation in Tennessee, where his ancestors were slaves to distant relatives of George Washington. Both candidates have a shot at winning. Impermanence rules our Universe, whether we choose to believe it or not.

I'm wandering again, aren't I? I'm so sorry! Let me continue…

When my aunts were very young women and my father was approaching his teens a new restaurant, Delvecchio's, opened nearby. This set in motion events which forever changed the Tarentella picnics. Delvecchio's was a promising new customer for the bakery. Grandfather and Uncle adored the place. Delvecchio's specialty was exquisite Italian cuisine and yet they were struggling. Walnutwood, as you know, is a place where most people are of modest means. Delvecchio's menu was very expensive. The prices put most folks off.

The Tarentella brothers believed in the new restaurant's potential. They offered to put up a small stand in a corner of the dining tent and let Delvecchio's offer samples of their cuisine to entice picnic guests to visit the restaurant. Aunt Rae says the stand was a huge hit. It helped establish Delvecchio's as Walnutwood's premier dining spot. At the same time, the Tarentella brothers realized they'd stumbled upon something by giving Delvecchio's a spot at the picnic.

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