Category Archives: Stories

The Moody Italian

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Louie Manfredi was known as a snappish person to his employees, but appealing to the loyal patrons. A proud owner and operator of Pappa Louie’s, a local Italian restaurant. Eighteen booths and tables inside with tiffany lamp lighting, a quaint bar and buzzing atmosphere. Customers have come here to dine for over thirty years. The food is tasty and the prices are affordable.

The smell of garlic from the kitchen consumes the restaurant, filters out through the building’s pores and into the streets. Louie’s main expertise is making hand tossed pizza. His area of the kitchen consists of a marble counter top with a stainless steel compartment attached ,containing toppings. His favorite piece of cooking equipment is the massive oven, which has four levels for baking the mouth-watering pizza. The floors covered in flour and dough, as well as Louie, similar to the Pillsbury dough boy. Every few months, he has a need for pizza cooks, but is a difficult task due to his high standards. Many have tried, but few made the grade. There is no training and you have thirty seconds to show your stuff. The ones that had the guts to stay usually got an earful of unnecessary abuse. When it comes to how he wants the pizza made, there is only his way-no exceptions. So, if the dough is not pulled to edge, covering with the right amount of cheese, sauce and toppings, then you are labeled an idiot. Louie does not tolerate anyone that does not have his qualities. No mistakes, only perfection.

Louie has a gruff voice and shouting is the only way to get you to listen. There was a server granting a customer’s request for extra blue cheese dressing for his salad. Louie came up behind her and said: “unbelievable, do you think we are giving away blue cheese?”

Pizza is the favorite among most of the customers, so Louie stays in his part of the kitchen. But every once in a while, he gets to take a breather and then the tension begins to heighten. Everyone’s peripheral vision is activated because you always have to be aware of where he is walking. If you are behind him while he is strolling the dining room, and he suddenly turns around, it will be your fault that you were in his way, as you hear him loudly sigh.

As he saunters into the dining room, the corners of his mouth turn up like a Cheshire cat. Seeing the other Louie is as if you are in a fantasy. He picks up babies, sits down with people like they were family and talks about what’s on his mind. The favorite topic of conversation is baseball, a Yankee fan, and anyone who does not share the same is on the silent treatment list. The patrons don’t mind, they play the game and enjoy the challenge.

I believe that Louie is in his late fifties, early sixties, although at times in his mind is still in his twenties. Mostly gray hair covers his head with shades of black at the tips, neatly combed back. His brown eyes, gray shadows under them, his facial skin slowly losing muscle mass. Whenever he is irritated, he looks at the floor while stroking his beard.

Even though his demeanor changes sporadically, customers still desire to eat delicious Italian food and communicate with the locals. Although he is a grumpy boss to his employees, his pleasant and accommodating persona will never stop the faithful and loyal customers from enjoying the good times at Pappa Louie’s.

My Attitude Did a 360 When I Received an Unexpected Gift

For the last couple of months, I have been spending Saturdays  at the Downtown Market to sell my recycled creations.    At times its a bit of a struggle with my body to get motivated at 5:00 a.m., but when I do, its worth it.  Always the same routine to get my pieces together and load them into the truck, along with tables, tent and chairs.

After that is finished, I let my dogs go out to do their thing, and then I am on the road.

Five minutes of driving and I am here.  The time is about 6:30.  The area is an open, grassy setting, quite large.  The back drop is  a view of the waterside and the sun on the horizon.  This particular Saturday the sunrise was breathtaking.  By the way, I live in Florida.

The space that I have been in for a couple of weeks now is next to a very nice gentleman named Mike, who sells some rare and amazing jewelry and gems.  He has such a positive energy and like that we are next to each other.  He is definitely a motivator.

I will not bore you with the setting up details……

Jumping ahead: set up is complete.  After coffee and some breakfast, its now about 8:00 a.m. , and now the fun begins.   I almost forgot, we have the honor of listening to live music until about 1:00 p.m.  A different local band every Saturday.  People from all over come to enjoy the music, food and art from the locals here.

I have to say that I am very grateful and blessed to be able to spend time with all the beautiful and friendly artists and crafters.  They are all amazing!

So, let’s get on to the point of the title of this post…..

It’s reaching the noon hour and it has been a pretty awesome day!  Talked to a lot of people, and even got to see some friends that I have not seen in a while.

The time has come now to start packing it up, people are dispersing and going on with the rest of their day.

While I am getting my things together, Bernie and Donna (they run the market) come by and inform me that they are going to do a drawing.    Last week they came and collected all the vendors business cards, so I thought they already did the drawing because I didn’t win.

They come to the middle of the grassy knoll and with them is a little blond hair, blue-eyed girl who I wish I had a picture to show you, because her smile was a heart melter.   Her name was Jessie and she had the honor of pulling the winner.

Drum roll…..

She pulled the card and gave it to Donna.  Donna turned to look at me and smiled.  I jumped out of my seat and said: “no way!”  I won!  I was very grateful.  Wondering what the prize was?   I was blessed with a whole month of free rent for my space!  ($120.00 value)

This day could not have turned out any better!

Every day is a gift and everything or everyone that you meet is just an extra blessing in your life.

Empty Heart

Story written by Tammy More @2013

As the sun went down, she struggled to see the time, noticing she is late for work. Haunted by her employer’s words, “This is your final warning, late again and you’re fired.”she grew frantic, not eager to look for another job.

She forgot everything that happened last night until a man peeked out of her bedroom door. She dropped her head in her hands, feeling dirty and ashamed. Why do I do this?   This is not who I am. Chloe looked at him and said, “Get dressed and get out.”

“But, baby, I love you,” he said.

“Seriously, that’s funny. Bye now.”

Chloe could not get ready fast enough. Anxiety had taken over her mind, nothing made sense.

As she was driving, the wheels were turning in her mind. Once she reached the Longbranch Saloon, her fingers became part of the steering wheel. She feared losing her only stability. She slowly got out of the car and entered the doors to her destiny. She came in to see the regulars had reserved their spot for the night. Chloe said a quick hello, rushing to do her duty, her heart beating in her throat. She didn’t see the boss, which was a relief. But that inner voice kept telling he, You know she’s here and watching. At that moment, she saw the fiery head of hair make its way from the back room. “Will you come back to my office? We need to talk.” Your wild adventures have been hindering your performance here. I don’t want to fire you, but after your shift, I’m granting you a few days off. Chloe wasn’t thrilled, but didn’t argue. Maybe this was a chance to figure out her life and how to end her self destruction.

As she walked back out front, she noticed a man with dark tousled hair, a white T-shirt and baggy jeans, not the usual attire for this country western bar, and Chloe was curious to know more about him. He kept his head down like a shy, innocent child, hoping no one would see him. Was this her sign, an angel to bring her out of the darkness? A force was pulling her to him that she couldn’t control and didn’t want to. She was glad she had the chance to serve him. As she approached, he looked up, and his eyes ,blue like rain, connected with hers.

“Can I get you something.” Chloe said.

“Coffee, black.”

She brought his coffee, and found him looking down at the bar, as if his mother was saying, “its not polite to stare.

She was busy for a while and when found time, to see if he needed more coffee, he shook his dark tousled head and passed a folded napkin to her. Chloe took the napkin and walked to the other end of the bar to read , I THINK YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, MY ANGEL.   Chloe was flattered but confused by his meek and humble demeanor.   She was also intrigued.

By closing time, Chloe was tired and ready to go home. Last call was announced and customers started to leave, all except for her beautiful stranger.   This was okay with Chloe. “Do you need a ride home?” she said.

No, the world is my home, I’m on a life journey.

“Okay, so why are you here?” Chloe asked.

“To help you experience true love.” he said. There is a quote that I live by: ‘Love is an experience of oneself within oneself.’ It starts with loving yourself first and then true bliss will be yours. If you will trust me, I will show you.

Chloe outstretched her hand to his and they walked out into the night, never looking back.