My dad was a Portland longshoreman and most often worked on Sundays, so it was a real treat when he told us, one Saturday in early March 1951 when I was 10 years old, that he would not be working the next day, and he would call his parents to ask if we could join them for dinner.
My sister and I always looked forward to seeing Dad’s big Italian family — aunts, uncles and especially our cousins. But when we arrived that Sunday afternoon, we were disappointed to hear that none of our cousins’ families would be joining us. However, we quickly recovered when we looked out a dining room window and saw a lamb staked out in the side yard.
We couldn’t get our hats, gloves and coats on quickly enough to get outside and inspect this adorable creature. We had so much fun with our new friend, even though it was cold and raining.
Finally it was time to come inside for dinner. We peppered Grandpa and Grandma with all kinds of questions. Where did it come from? Where did they keep it at night? What was its name? Looking back, I think our grandparents were unprepared for such questions. Grandpa did concede that they kept the lamb in the enclosed back porch of the house.
A few weeks later was Easter Sunday. All we could think and talk about was being able to see and play with the lamb again. But then we arrived at our grandparents’ home, there was no sign of the lamb anywhere, not even on the back porch. My cousins wouldn’t believe that we had played with a lamb. All of the adults ignored our questions, and we soon went down to the basement to play until dinner was ready.
During dinner, I was sitting beside one of my uncles. He he looked up at my grandfather and complimented him on the best tasting lamb ravioli he ever had.
Needless to say, to this day I check the ravioli ingredients before I indulge.
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