Friday, April 1, 2016

A is for Anthony #atozchallenge

Happy April and Happy Challenge Month to all the participants.  I look forward to seeing you on your blogs and I hope to meet some of you here, as well.  Let's get started!

Did I ever tell you about the jar of marinated peppers in my fridge?

My father used to like marinating and jarring his own peppers.  He'd put then in this glass mason jar with a gold colored lid with a little label, "Tony's Peppers".  Truth be told, I never cared much for them but I took them when he offered them because he seemed so proud of them.  I usually put them behind the jar I got at the Italian deli which were so much better. 

I opened this batch when I got home and tasted one of them.  They were the best batch yet.  I closed them up and made plans for the sandwich they would accompany over the coming weekend.  Things leading to other things as they often do prevented that plan from coming to fruition.  In time I forgot about the jar of marinated peppers sitting in the back of the fridge.   

There was this fight I was forced to bear witness to when I was a child between my father and grandmother.  This was as common in my house as mismatched sock in your underwear drawer.   Granny had this shrill voice that could cut glass and she used it at volume often.  They would scream and curse each other and throw things that made especially loud noises when you threw them say, against a plaster wall or into a book case or a china closet with lots of other breakables. 

She kept this jar of homemade marinated peppers in the back of the fridge somewhere.  During one of my father’s, Throw All This Crap Away tirades he tried to throw away my grandmother’s jar of peppers.  I didn’t see the big deal, it was only a jar of peppers.  The jar looked nothing like marinated peppers, or marinated anything for that matter.  It was a jar of brown indiscernible matter I took to be something from the old Italian countryside.  In fact, it looked very much like the Italian countryside itself.  While they were shoving each other around  they did this a lot, too, I realized I had seen this jar go untouched in the back of the fridge for as long as I can remember.   It even looked liked like it had some kind of fuzz growing in it.  Maybe it was eggplant.  I would simply move it from side to side when fishing for something more appealing. 

My father and grandmother were wrestling between the open doors of the fridge and the freezer trying to pry the jar out of each other’s hands.  There was a headlock involved and some spitting and foot stomping, I think.  There were ice cubes and assorted lunch meats all over the floor underfoot. 

My grandmother screamed, “No Anthony, my mother made these, you bastard!!!”  He yelled back, “Yeah well she’s been dead for twenty years, what are you gonna do eat ‘em now?!”   “No, I want to keep -  you can’t throw them out, you prick!” 

"Really?  Maybe you’d like to wear them!”  So it went for some time.  Eventually, he won and the pepper jar was thrown in the trash.  My grandmother couldn’t stand to see her mother’s peppers, which had been lying in state for at least all of my life in that refrigerator being discarded.   She retreated to her room leveling threats of midnight throat slashings in typical Sicilian form. 

I asked him why he threw the peppers away and he told me that enough was enough and it was time to let it go and went so far as to say that I had better not continue any ridiculous traditions.  I remember thinking that although it made sense, it was also kind of harsh.  The jar wasn’t taking up all that much room and they meant something to his mother.  Her mother had made them decades ago.  Those two tries to spite one another all the time so maybe this was just another power play in the household. 

Not long after his death I was rummaging around my own fridge looking for something unhealthy to gorge myself on when I found the jar, his jar sitting there alone behind everything.

Shortly after his death I came across the jar in my fridge.  "Damn” I whispered.  I can't eat these.  Ever.  I held the jar of peppers, my father's peppers.  Memories came though like a flash hurricane and I held the jar close to me and brought the lid to my lips.   

Maybe one day I’ll be able to part with my jar of my father’s peppers.  Maybe one day I'll be able to say enough is enough. the little jar with the gold colored lid with the worn label that read, "Tony's Peppers" in his handwriting will sit right there - in front of the jar I bought at the deli.   

Over the course of the challenge I'd like to tell you more about my father.  He was a bit mad, violent and irrational.  He was also the funniest, warmest and most generous man I ever knew.  You would have liked him.

His name was Anthony T. Serafini. 

Wondering if Clint Eastwood would use mustard on his hot dogs.


  1. Wonderful first post. Those moments that take your breathe away could be triggered by the most seemingly small thing.

    1. Thank you, Dee! I hopes you've joined the challenge, too!

  2. Wonderful first post. Those moments that take your breathe away could be triggered by the most seemingly small thing.

  3. Aye buddy, finally made my way ova here... I'm not a big peppers fan, unless we talkin bout banana peppers, but now I want some... bell pepper... of course, that leads to bacon... everything leads to bacon... I got no idea where i'm going with this but I enjoyed reading about Tony's Peppers!

    1. Anth, glad you came by. It does seem everything leads to bacon so I hear you. :)

  4. Beautiful telling of your family's history with peppers and the meaning behind them, Tom. Enjoyed this!
    Have a great weekend!

    My A2Zs @ As the Fates Would Have It & Promptly Written
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    1. I'm glad you liked this one as well. I'm reading yours. I want to comment but I'm having trouble logging in with my WP account.