W R I T T E N · W OR K



by Robert Ranieri, 2015



          Narrow row houses each with a front porch; cement steps lead up to the shaped wooden balustrades.
         A lovely auburn haired Irish American lady, lived next to us; the neighborhood, a mix of Irish and Italian. Merely five years old, me and my siblings always used Mrs. or Mr. when answering grownups. (My father's mild law).
         Sitting on the porch's wicker settee, we loved the heavy shade under the rolled out awning. Hot sun heated the street, and when it rained, the dusty smell was replaced by cool drafts of air up under the awning. A cozy feeling.
         One early Fall evening before dark, some boys around the corner, had made a fire, and on approaching, we could see a bunch of potatoes in the flames. To have in hand one of those hot, scorched potatoes, skin charred and blackened like tree bark, would remain as a culinary plus for all time.
         Hucksters on horse and wagon would often move and stop along the street. "Fresh Jersey tomatoes," or "ripe, free stone peaches by the basket."
         Neighbors play their radios; loud singing.
The tinsmith displays his wares as horse and wagon rattle along.
         From nowhere and singing, with occasional steps, a tall elderly man advanced down the sidewalk. Dressed in worn denim shirt and overalls, his slow step was interrupted only if a housewife should hurry out to give him some money.
         The dignity and solemnity of this African American, and the beauty of his bass voice in slow cadence, has remained an unsurpassed icon. "The Old Rugged Cross." 




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