Category Archives: Vento’s Trattoria

Memorial Day memories

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The drive up took me past my old school that I taught for nine years (little

preschoolers in an integrated setting with 8 children who had been determined

to have developmental delays with 4 children considered “peers” who were

typically developing.) I gazed back in the rear view mirrow at the long glass

enclosed atrium, with a longing that still can bring a tear to my eyes.

I headed north up 42 till I saw Mt. Gilead and then, turned to go up back and

take 61 to Lake Erie. I made good time and was pleased to spend almost 5 hours

with Mom and both brothers. We watched a gruesome movie, since my mother

usually vetoes comedies and romances. (“Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer.”

Yup! You read that right!)

The next day, I usually go ‘fetch’ Mom’s breakfast from the buffet in her senior

living apartments’ dining room. I have some friends to say hi to, Bonnie who

went to Ohio Wesleyan University and likes to hear how Delaware, Ohio is. Her

husband, Ralph, who is a rare male among the garden of female flowers who

live in the Westlake Village. I also said “hi” to Pearl, Elinore, and Jeannie (who

likes to be called “Jeannie Beannie” and her daughter who was visiting, “Judy

Bootie”). I waved at Joe who is a very nice quiet man who once shared he was

an engineer in his working days, we talked before about my father and his common

interests. I used to say to him, “My Dad would have loved to have met you.” But

we mostly wave across the dining room.

I chose to bring a tray with my oatmeal with brown sugar, butter, raisins and cream

on it, two coffees, two bananas, tomato juice and two cream rolls. Mom is a big sweet

tooth lover so she will have a banana, sweet roll, and coffee. I will hope the fiber in the

oatmeal with all its ‘fixings’ will take away the calories of the cream roll. I will eat the

banana about an hour later. I just love an almost green banana! Mom loves hers closer

to brown.

We went to Bay Village to the bank on Saturday, tooled around the side streets, and did

venture over to Huntington Playhouse and the woodsy hills leading to the Huntington

Beach. I pulled over to Vento’s Trattoria and got out, Mom had chosen to ask me to run

in and get us some strong espresso coffee, mine with a shot of vanilla flavoring plus two

cupcakes. We did not choose to get a fancier dessert that would require a fork since we

were planning to just sit in the car, watch the traffic go by, see the travellers mixed in

with the locals at the beach. The heron at the end of one of the piers got my Mom’s

attention, as did the shelter that has a lighthouse look to it.  We chose to be lazy and

hoped the caffeine would kick in for our last stop, Giant Eagle at the Crocker Park Town

Center.

Shopping with Mom is the usual, I may have mentioned that the list is very limited. Mom

can order meals off a menu in her dining room, she can ask for extra Coke or milk to take

back for her snack along with her Otis Spunkmeier cookies she likes to eat at bedtime. She

gets a pack of two cookies and puts one away for guests every day. While watching the movie,

Rich had two oatmeal raisin cookies and I had two macademia nut with white chocolate

cookies. We also had our little juice size cups of Sangria. Rich and Randy had their beer, this

time Fatheads’ summer brews. Randy does a lot of their artwork in the North Olmsted Fatheads

along with the one in Pennsylvania. He paints their logos on the brick walls and yet, does not

make it look like a mess. I would not be able to make a flat logo on such a rough wall! But that

is his skill.

The second evening, we four went to Friendly’s to have senior discount menu meals, where 3 of

the 4 chose to have a Happy Endings sundae also. Mom and I had their delicious clams with

vegetables and fries. She had cole slaw and traded once she saw my broccoli looked “easy to

chew” and so I had cole slaw for my veggie. Yes, loaded with mayo and vinegar! Yummy combo!

I was “righteous” by trying to order the broccoli and eat it, but glad to be eating what I really

wanted, thanks to Mom’s trade. We talked about art and movies, we talked about the Indians

and also the fishing. I had heard that there was cyanide dumped in Rocky River. One of my

brothers told me that happened a year ago! I cannot believe it, but we watched another violent

movie, very good but not as great as the Swedish version, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

My brother had gotten it at the Westlake Library (Porter Library) and both he and I had read

the book, Mom and Randy had not. We all felt it was well acted and could have been confusing

but we all stayed awake to find out the ending. Both Friday and Saturday nights we were up

past midnight and my Mom insisted on taking Nicki, her little dog out afterwards.

A beautiful full moon was shining in the sky. My Mom hummed a few bars of “Shine on Harvest

Moon up in the sky.” (Although the May moon is not a harvest moon, it rose up  orange on the

horizon and was an awesome sight!)

On the third day, I travelled alone out to the cottage in Vermilion. I chose to stop at Jean J.’s

house and say “hello” and was so pleased to get a short little romantic tale to add to this

otherwise “Just the facts, mam” post.

Jean was one of my mother’s favorite neighbors, over most of the time that Mom and Dad lived

there. Jean is about my age, had met her last husband in Burger King by his reaching his hand

out to shake it, she had always told me, “I felt electricity vibrate across our fingers!” It broke

my heart (and Mom’s, too) that her Dennis had died helping with trimming trees, got a heart

attack on a ladder and fell. He died instantly about three years ago.

I like to think that I helped Jean to decide to get online to try a dating site. She introduced me

to a man she had met online who still lives in Texas! He is a cattle ranch owner and has been

visiting once a month since she started to talk to him in October. He was average in appearance

but Roger has a very nice voice, a southern drawl that seems more like Georgia, but I did not

inquire if he had always been a native Texan. I just can tell you this, Jeannie’s eyes sparkled

and once inside her home across the street from Mom’s I saw the wedding portrait and little

photos of Dennis were gone. That is a good sign, yes, Jean had found a hopeful new beginning!

I weeded a little, I walked the beach but it had been stormy out in the Lake Erie, so there were

very few nice rocks, only a few pieces of beach glass and a piece of driftwood I placed in the

front rock garden.

I gazed out at the lake and thought about my Dad on Sunday. On Memorial Day, my son had

a big trampoline, guests that he and his wife know along with my oldest daughter and her 2

boys. I enjoyed hot dog, hamburger, pasta salad, mac and cheese and a cherry coke. My baking

daughter had brought yummy cherry cupcakes with buttercream frosting (no offense, better

than the ones at Vento’s but made with love, helps improve the taste!)

Hope you had a safe and happy Memorial Day and thanks for visiting with me on my trip to

Lake Erie!