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POST-GAZETTE, JULY 29, 2011 Page13 ! Sanna,4. I abb'Jnonno by John Christoforo nce. I Last week, on two or three occasions, I thought about how my family moved from the cellar kitchen to the back yard for dinner when the temperature was oppres- sive. Well, last week, we had oppressive temperatures, and although the cellar based kitchen doesn't exist for us, I decided to cook and eat dinner in the back yard. Today, we call this a barbe- cue. I told Loretta that I wanted to have just a few people over and fire up some steak tips which could be consumed along with a couple of cold beers. Of course, she refined my menu to meet the taste buds of the ladies that would be present. As a result, my steak tips became shish kabob, skewered chunks of meat interspersed with onions and peppers. My couple of beers became bottles of room temperature red and chilled white wines. Just plain chips evolved into little scoop shaped objects that could hold salsa and guacamole. After she added in the fixin's for a garden salad, ears of fresh corn, slices of watermelon and as- sorted fruit, I lost out on my primitive barbecue. All of the ingredients for this restruc- tured menu came about when we went shopping for the things we needed for the cookout. I didn't want to have a large crowd, just my closest friends joining me in the back yard, so I invited Dean Saluti, John Silva and Bill Strachman, and all were free on last Friday night. Of course, I didn't exclude the ladies, but we had a segrc- gated crowd. Their ignifi- cant others, the ladies, stayed in the kitchen with Loretta and the guys joined me in the back yard. So, Margie, Stephanie and Jane sat around the table in an air conditioned kitchen and we guys sat around one of the tables in the back yard sip- ping drinks and smoking cigars. When all of the food was ready, we guys chowed- down in the back yard and told war stories. The ladies dined in the kitchen and told war stories. It was a fun evening until dusk and the unwanted neighborhood mosquitoes joined us. When we all lit our after-dinner cigars, the mosquito squad- ron flew away and we were saved from a night of scratching their bites. Later, when everyone left, I returned to the back yard with a cup of coffee and Finished my cigar, As I looked around, I reflected back on the back yard at 70 Eutaw Street in East Boston and how Nanna and Babbononno the sectioned off area, he and Nanna grew their veg- etables. To get into the yard, we had to walk under an arch shaped trellis inter- laced with grape vines. Once in the middle of the yard, there were flowers that Nanna had planted that Babbononno thought were useless. His comment was, "If you grow it and can't eat it, it ain't worth it," but she grew flowers anyway. Our back yard is a bit dif- ferent than the one designed by Babbononno. The main area has sidewalk brick as the base. As a matter of fact, they are the bricks that used to be part of North Square in Boston's North End. When North Square was done over about 25 or 30 years ago, I bought the bricks from the contractor that excavated the square. Beyond the brick-lined part of the back yard is a low wall, about a foot or so high, and above this is a rock garden that ascends upward in several tiers. Inter- spersed among the rocks are objects that reflect different cultures on the planet. In one corner, Loretta has a statue of Buddha and a couple of brass Chinese lan- terns. In another area is a working Roman fountain with a lion's head that spits water into a small shell shaped bowl that spills into a lower large shell shaped bowl. This is surrounded by ancient Mediterranean statues and relics that bring out the glory days of ancient Rome. In yet: another area she has a bird bath and a dish that she fills with bird seed every morning so the nighb0rh00d crlttcr won't starve. Interspersed with all of these things are flowers of all different types that bring her designs to life. I love the atmosphere and have my morning coffee al fresco when the weather permits. In a way, this is the modern version of the cellar kitchen and back yard living that I remember as a child in East Boston. Sometimes, it's so comfortable out there, I hate to come in. During the morning hours, several dif- ferent animals come to the dish with the bird seed and take their turn having breakfast. First are the squirrels, next the chip- munks, and then the birds. First in the bird category are blue jays, then cardinals, black birds, mourning doves and then starlings or spar- rows. They take their turns in twos or threes, and when one group is done, the next group takes over. This morning activity of ours might sound strange, but it is actually quite interesting only animal noises I could hear at night might be the squealing of a couple of cats that got into a fight. Other than that, the night-time noises might be the planes landing at Logan, an occa- sional dog barking and the whine of either police car or fire truck sirens. With everyone's windows open in the summer, these noises might be joined by loud con- versations or family argu- ments in English, Italian or Ingliano. When we moved to Belmont in 1961, we couldn't sleep for the first couple of nights, due to the silence. No jets flying overhead, no sirens, no loud families and no cat fights. I guess fami- lies are quieter and cats don't fight in the suburbs. As a matter of fact, there was a brook running through the back yard when we first bought the house, and at night, when all of were asleep, the wild animals of the neighborhood would come to the brook to drink. It was fascinating, espe- cially for a city kid like me. Unfortunately, as the neigh- borhood became more devel- oped, the town covered the brook with a culvert and that rustic atmosphere came to an end. Civilization had attacked. Earlier this morning, as I sat in my back yard sip- ping my morning coffee, I wondered if the back yards and summer cellar kitchens from Nanna and Babbononno's day stin ex- isted. The reason I wondered was the various phases my back yard had gone through. When the kids were infants, we had a playpen out there, along with a sandbox, a kiddy pool and a child-sized picnic bench. These were always surrounded by toys. Later, I put up a metal pole with bas- ketball net. I built a small skating rink for winter skat- ing, added in a putting green nearby and an area for base- ball. My back yard became the catch-all for neighbor- hood kids and I was happy with this because my house was where all the neighbor- hood kids gravitated to when I was young. Recently, sons John and Mike came home to be groomsmen in a wed- ding party. Before they left, my back yard was filled with the same kids they grew up with. Only now, they are men of the world. I just sat off to the side and observed and listened, knowing that all of them, my sons included would be in other parts of the country within 24 hours. I was happy and sad at the same time, but that's the way life is ... GOD BLESS AMERICA had it arranged. Their yard and relaxing. [ i~i!~~ was rectangular in shape as Growing up in the city, you are the yards behind most ofdon't see many animals in Boston's three deckers, the back yards. They are BabbononnOfence had built a tiny often kept away by stray cats picket about three feet that roam the neighborhoods in from the fence That sur~ at night'~With the windows ~rounded the y.a~d,..-Wit.hin:..-ooe~ tr~--h~ --su-m~e-r~ - ~t~e The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) As promised last week, we share a photo from the ribbon cutting at The New England Historic Genealogical Society's opening of the newly designed and constructed front garden entrance at its Newbury Street research center. Pictured (center) are Mayor Thomas Menino and NEHGS Garden Committee chair Carolyn Lynch, with (left to right) Garden Committee member Kelly McCoulf, NEHGS Board of Trustees chairman Eric Schultz, and NEHGS president & CEO Brenton Simons. (Photo by Roger Farrington) June Robinson, Mary Wendell, Martha Reardon Berwick, John Collings, Linda Foehl, and Mary Rifle Hiss. The "Hutchinson Retreat at 88 Wharf Street Restau- rant" will include compli- mentary beer and wine and passed hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are limited and are available by calling Becky Wright at the Forbes House Museum, 617-696- 1815, or via e-mail at r.wright@forbesmuseum.org. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Website, www.bostongardens.com. In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist, "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press releases, PRNewswire ser- vices, etc.) Americans with Disabilities sively worked to make sig- nificant improvements to make its infrastructure more accessible and address vari- ous concerns of the disabil- ity community including: A program allocating $15 million to increase pedes- trian access to bring curb cuts into ADA compliance Changes to city contracts and approvals to ensure ADA c0mplianc on the construc- tion of streets and side- walks; The training of all city inspectors on rules and regulations for maintain- ing access to those with disabilities during any construction; The establishment of the nine-member volunteer Act (Continued from Page 1) policies concerning the disabled; Increasing access at approximately 100 polling places throughout the City; The Disability Commis- sion's "Accessible Path to City Hall" to reconstruct the ramp to City Hall; A program between advo- cates and the Boston Police Department to retrain taxi drivero on how they deal with disabled passengers comprising a sting operation to check compliance. Currently developing an accessible component to the Hubway bike share system to launch in the fall. For more information on the Commission for Persons with Disabilities, please Disability Commission to visit www.cityofboston.gov/ advise the" City of Boston on' ~disability/. Stirpe Nostra (Continued mitted half of his troops to the engagement against Otho. Following Otho's defeat, Vitellius ordered punish- ment for Galba's murderers from Page 2) an all night festival on the hills to the north of Rome, and on the following day Vitellius entered the city to the sound of trumpets. He wore the "Palaudamentum," and started his journey back(short red cape) over his dr- to Rome, riding through cit-mor, his staff wore their mili- ies as a triumphant general, tary cloaks, and the troops J He was wined everywhere marched with drawn swords. at public expense, he granted freedom to slaves at his personal whim, and he se- verely chastised anyone who objected to his actions, how- ever, it was said in truth that the pillaging and wan- tonness of his troops was scandalous. The returning troops held His first act was to assume the office of high priest, and he then appointed him- self consul for life. Later, he conducted a memorial cer- emony to Nero in the middle of the Campus Martius. NEXT WEEK: The Voracious and Vicious ViteUius WWW.BOSTON POSTGAZETTE.COM