field of dreamschristmas 2014 – 4th entry
8th grade – 16th entry
sunrise (ssm) – 8:20, sunrise (pgh) – 7:41

There is a thaw going on, but I need a walk so I head out with my cameras. It really is a pea-soup environment. There isn’t much I can shoot, but with Photoshop I can get rid of some of the gloomy grey. I’m walking down to Ron’s and decide to shoot the empty lot where we used to play baseball. The brick house in the background is where Corrine lived. Sometimes she would play with us. And even though she was a girl she could pitch, hit and run like a boy. The lot was beside Ron’s house and behind Corrine’s. The house on the left of the image was not there.

field3Like everything from childhood, the lot looks small. In my mind it was huge. (I’m standing across the street in the church parking lot shooting.) Most of us hit inside the field. Frank Bitonti and Jacky Porco could hit the ball into the church parking lot, so the fielders would back up when they were at bat. (In my old neighborhood, I never played any team sports. The subdivision was just starting to get built and there were not enough kids or established families to organize team sports.)

Tonight we head over to my aunt-and-uncle’s. It’ll be a meatless meal with lots and lots of fish options. All the fish will be fried. My aunt, my mother and I will eat spaghetti slathered in anchovies and olive oil; the others will have it with a meatless red-sauce. My uncle is from Aiello – and small mountain town south west of Aprigliano – and in his town the rule was that you left 13 items on the table on Christmas Eve. So after we are all done with dinner, he and my aunt make sure to leave 13 items on the table overnight.

There will be cullurielli – a deep fried sweet dough – made either plain or at Christmas with an anchovy inside. (I like the ones with the anchovies. My friend Chris Colecchia coats the plain ones in powdered sugar and has them for breakfast.) In my extended Calabrese family, the cullurielli are a Christmas tradition and I eat them instead of bread for the time I am here.