Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Family: The Godfather, The Sopranos and Pop by Margaret Ullrich, part 8, Weeding

Artie Bucco's The Sopranos Family Cookbook has something from everybody.
Even Tony Soprano, more or less.
As seen on the show, Tony enjoyed grilling.
But he didn't enjoy talking.

Artie included Tony's advice in the chapter Grilling-Italian Style.
There are barbecue recipes.
But there's also an interesting page from Uncle Junior Soprano:
Junior's Ten Tips to Living Long and Living Well.

Some of Junior's tips have to do with food:
drink red wine, eat a bowl of spaghetti every day, eat with friends.

But the first rule was a little odd:
Always trust blood relatives over friends, but not very far.

Relatives...  Family... the stuff of legends, literature, plays.
Shakespeare's Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and King Lear are all about family.

Hamlet's Dad wants his brother, who had killed Dad, brought to justice.
Hamlet ends up dead.
Juliet's parents want her to 'make a good marriage'.
Juliet ends up dead.
Lear wants his daughters to flatter him.
His most honest daughter ends up dead.

Real relatives' bad situations have been with us from the start.
The first pair of brothers, Cain and Abel, had their problems.
Abel ends up dead.
So much for brotherly love.

Think our favorite gangsters didn't have family issues?
Guess again...

In The Godfather II brothers Fredo and Michael had their problems.
Fredo ends up dead.
In The Sopranos cousins Tony S. and Tony B. had their problems.
Tony B. ends up dead.
Also in The Sopranos Junior wasn't too thrilled with nephew Tony S.
Tony S. almost ends up dead.
Maybe that's where the warning about trusting relatives came from.

Pop had his own problems with family.
Pop trusted his brothers who'd told him to come to America.
The Atlantic Ocean was between them, so the brothers were far apart.
It's too bad Pop didn't know about Uncle Junior's first rule.

Paul and I have lived in Canada over 40 years.
Most of our blood relatives are in New York and Ontario.
Too far to be a part of our daily life.
And maybe that's a very good thing.

Shared DNA doesn't mean shared everything else.
Families can be great.
But they can also be a royal pain.
Ever wonder why folks hit the bottle during the holidays?
Especially when the relatives are all under one roof?

There's a presidential election going on in the United States.
Our American relatives are Republicans.
We tend to agree with our American friends, who are Democrats.
That can be awkward, even on Facebook.

We can't pick our relatives.
We can pick our friends.
Maybe that's why there's this saying in the Bible:
Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.  Proverbs 27:10

Or even a brother near.

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