As I should have expected, Sexy Grandma was a hit. I thought in honor of us going to hang out with her tonight, I would share some of the more imperative Life Lessons, as taught to me (either directly or indirectly) by Sexy Grandma. So here they are, in no particular order:
If you tie an Italian’s hands behind their backs, we canNOT talk.
It hasn’t been “scientifically” proven yet, but there is a muscle or nerve or something that runs DIRECTLY from our mouths to our hands. We canNOT talk while standing still. It’s all but impossible. You don’t believe me? We actually “proved” this once by trying to hold down Sexy’s hands while she was talking and she kept pulling and trying to gesticulate the entire time. When that didn’t work, she would move her fingers. (Caution Note: I wouldn’t recommend that experiment with most Mediterraneans, as Sexy beat the crap out of us, while laughing, when we were done). This fact segways nicely to numbers 2 and 3:
NEVER stand directly in front of, behind or beside a Mediterranean when they are in conversation. That’s right. The hands move FRANTICALLY while in deep conversation. The deeper the conversation, the more animated the hand motions. I have been smacked in the face, arms, chest, heck…even KICKED so many times while standing by Sexy & Mom that I have permanent bruises. It is also important to note that:
Being smacked by an Italian or Lebanese is as much a sign of affection as a hug. REALLY, it is. I’ve not seen Greeks do this as much, but DEFINITELY Sicilians AND Lebanese. While in conversation, we will constantly, tap, touch, push or smack you. Bottom line: we are very tactile, so touching usually signifies we like you (unless it’s a punch or a wooden spoon, that’s a WHOLE other thing).
“Always carry a deck of cards with you.” Maybe it’s because she was born in 1920 when there was no other entertainment, but cards were always a BIG deal with Sexy. She had lived with us since I was 5, and we spent summers playing cards with sexy grandma every day. I thought it was just her, but at every “family get together” I can remember EVERYBODY was playing. The minute everyone sat down, decks of cards came out from drawers, pants and purses and everyone: the grandparents, parents, kids and even us toddlers were would playing some form of cards. But BEWARE:
CARDS ARE LIFE. Sexy Grandma…I mean Sicilians…can NOT lose. They will lie, cheat and steal. And…if the game is REALLY going badly, they will flip the card table and yell at their kids for cheating. The worst are partner games. If you are partnered with a Sicilian you had BETTER know how to play the game! There are people who still come up to me 28 YEARS after one particular incident saying “I’ll NEVER FORGET when Sexy flipped the table during Pinochle!” Which brings us to:
“I don’t cheat! I can’t help it if everyone else doesn’t know the rules!” Yes, Sicilians don’t “cheat”… We make up rules and explain them off as though they are the gospel truth, and we just forgot to mention them earlier. Sadly my 5 and 8 years olds have played too many games with Sexy, as they are already mastering this one. This piece of wisdom is closely linked to:
“It’s not cursing if you don’t know what I’m saying.” This one is fairly self explanatory, and tells you why I can curse fluently in 6 languages…not that I ever do…
Some things that sexy grandma passed down truly were gems of wisdom:
“Don’t panic if more people keep showing up to the house. Just add a little more water to the sauce and everything will be fine.” I’ve tried to apply this to life in general. But then, just when it looked like she was a wise example, Sexy would come out with a whopper of a lesson like:
“A little wine builds up the blood, and a little liquor makes you smile. A lot of wine and a lot of liquor and you will turn into a drunken hooker. DON’T be a hooker.” … Maybe my lack of filter is more hereditary than I thought.
I could go on and on, but I will spare you all, as I have a date with a sexy 95 year old grandma, a couple of margaritas and the rest of the family to go see… You guessed it…”My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2″.