July 22, 2015

Two weeks ago we celebrated a family tradition in Los Banos called the "Italian Celebration", which is the celebration of "The Madonna de Carmen", which is a beautiful statue of our blessed mother, that our grandmother (my dads' mom) helped bring over from Italy along with her friends from the village of Grumenta Nova, Italy.
She is celebrated their also, along with many traditional celebrations that we try to carry on here, to keep our grandparents memory alive!
Every year I bow down to her on my knees and am always in tears.  I get so emotional when I am with her.  When going thru my cancer, I prayed to her while holding my childrens hands asking her to cure me so that I could see my children grow and become men, and also get to hold their children.  That was  26 years ago, and I have been very blessed by her and God!  A friend of mine Helen, we always find each other at her feet crying, we can't explain why, we just do. 
 We use to march from the St. Joseph's Catholic Church every hot summer with our cousins and other members of the community to the D.E.S. hall to have the traditional Italian stew and pasta. Our children did too a few times. This year instead of pasta they cooked saffron rice which was delicous with the stew. We no longer march from church to hall, since the new church was built across town. After the luncheon there is a live auction of donated items from different businesses and individuals. My donation this year was the biscotti that I make,"Biscotti by Auntie B.B.", sugar cookies with toasted sesame seeds, a chocolate/orange/nut cake and of course wine.
My purchase was Italian sweet peppers that I came home and stuffed and more!
Our runners for the auction were all the little cousins which is great so that they can learn about our family heiritage.
To the Nonna I never got to meet and my Pops who taught me how tell time and cook and garden and appeciate simple easy made food. He could throw anything together and it tasted wonderful. His pancakes were the size of the plate, lasagne in the pantry ready to bake, and olives curing in the cement wash basin in his laundry room.  I think that is why I wore "chubby girl sizes" before I was in the 4th grade. His garden was his whole back yard, complete with all vegetables, seasonings, grapes, fig tree, and beautiful carnations. Yes I learned a lot of things from my Pops, about food, traditions, and that family always comes first!

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