Dear old souls, can we put some humor in the house? | Pamela’s Food Service Diary

STATEN ISLAND, NY – At this time of year, I think of my mother who passed away on March 22, 2015 due to complications from a long struggle with multiple sclerosis – a long one, like over 30 years. Now, with All Souls Day right here on November 2, the time seems right to remember her in her prime while working in the restaurant business in the 1980s.

As you may recall from previous discussions, my mother, Patricia, worked as an accountant in place of my uncle, former Jim McMullen on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She befriended some of the regulars as she walked to her office from the bar and the kitchen to collect handwritten “dupe” tickets.

Anyway, my mom got a kick out of some of the customers.

“Here is Martha dancing with the door,” she said without laughing. Sure enough, as the restaurant opened at 11 a.m., a well-dressed blue-haired woman, always the first customer on a weekday, opened the front door with an extended foxtrot on the sidewalk.

Some Saturday nights my parents and I would come to dinner when the place was in full swing. Every once in a while a famous person or notable regular was at the restaurant and my mom would say, “Oh, it’s so-and-so. My father was fascinated and was speechless until my mother kindly told him not to look at him. She thought it was hilarious.

One night I played a joke on my dad with my mom in the know, and I said, “Is that Dustin Hoffman?”

Since a scene of Tootsie was shot at McMullen’s, it seemed plausible. As the elder Silvestri at our table looked at the poor man, the guy became visibly uncomfortable and asked to change tables.

The memories of this scene made my mom crack up for many years, even when it was uncomfortable for her to laugh. What a good soul and what a great sense of humor!

The late Patricia Silvestri

With that, Sr. M. Jessica Swedzinski of the Sanctuary of Candelaria from West Brighton is a member of the Schönstatt Sisters and shares some thoughts on the All Souls topic.

She says, “I really grew up loving November 2, on the heels of All Saints’ Day, and I treasure the month of November!” I have a shoebox full of commemorative cards from deceased relatives and friends. Each November, I make a point of slowly going through the whole box – taking hours – and praying specifically for each one by glancing at their photo, their date, their prayer. It is a beautiful thought to remember the “good things” about this person. “

Sister Jessica

Sister Jessica, right, with her mother by her side. (Courtesy of Sr M. Jessica)

And from her personal traditions from her home state of Minnesota, she adds, “Of course my mom also had November 2 as a real day of fasting where we were kindly invited to offer something for the poor. souls and to have very simple, meatless meals, without any lunches or in-between snacks, as they are called here. “

Sr. Jessica said, “My mom, bless her soul, made me promise that we weren’t going to ‘pray to her’ but for her at her funeral! This was in response to the growing trend that everyone goes to Heaven and it’s a celebration of life etc. She said, “And I want you to pray the Rosary on both nights – none of that scriptural embellishment and praise!”

Other routines of the day for Roman Catholics, according to Sr. Jessica, “One could attend three holy masses and receive holy communion each time, as well as say prayers for plenary indulgences to free suffering souls.”

Sister Jessica

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee Calvary Cemetery with 100,000 souls and Miller Stadium in the background. (Courtesy of Sr. M. Jessica)

Sr. Jessica notes, “Most importantly, I have to tell you honestly that Poor Souls – or as I like to call them Holy Souls – have never forsaken me. They always answered my prayers or my needs!

So mom, with everything going on in the restaurant business – vaccination checks on the door, worker shortages, and wild spikes in staple foods – we could definitely use your sense of humor right now.

Pamela Silvestri is Editor-in-Chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at [email protected].

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