In the long weekend, take some time to remember all of those who have given their lives to make our freedom possible, and all those who put their lives on the line every day guarding it.
Hi, I’m Robin Kaye, the author of Too Hot to Handle. Today I was looking through the clip art for a Memorial Day picture to post and I saw this one. It's a photo of a Wild Quaker Parrot rising up above the markers of Civil War Graves in Brooklyn's Green Wood Cemetery. For those of you who have read my books, you'll know that I was brought up a block away from the Green Wood Cemetery. The Brooklyn Parrots and are a wonderful part of Brooklyn and Green Wood Cemetery. For more information about the Brooklyn Parrots, you can visit the Brooklyn Parrot Website.
Annabelle Ronaldi is the one of the heroines of the Domestic Gods series and I thought it would be fun to talk with Rose, her nosy, slightly zany, and possibly psychic aunt. I made an appointment to meet Aunt Rose at her favorite place—the bench by the duck pond in the middle of Greenwood Cemetery. Granted it’s an odd place to meet, but since I used to play there as a child and my aunt and uncle got engaged on that very bench, it didn’t seem odd to me until I began writing up the interview.
Aunt Rose was feeding the Brooklyn parrots that live here at Greenwood Cemetery year-round. As I walked over to meet Aunt Rose, I realized she hadn’t notice my arrival so I announced myself. I didn’t want to startle an old lady in a cemetery. “Aunt Rose? Is that you?”
Aunt Rose looked up from the birds she was feeding, “Of course it’s me. You were expecting one of the residents? My husband, Vito, is right over there.” She pointed toward the graves over her left shoulder.
I tried not to laugh as I sat beside her. She took her time sealing the bag of birdseed and placed it in her humongous black pocketbook. “So how are you?”
“Fine, fine. Why did you want to meet with me? You need more material for those books you write?”
“No, I’m writing a blog and thought you’d be an interesting interview.”
She waved her hand. “An old lady? Interesting? You don’t get out much, eh?” She rummaged through her bag and pulled out a thermos. “Demitasse?”
“You have cups?”
She nodded. “Sure, you think I’m a gonna drink out’a the cap? What do I look like? A bum?”
“If you have enough, I’d love a demitasse.”
She poured the steaming liquid into insulated cups and handed me what looked like a homemade biscotti. Just before I took a sip of the coffee, she held up a small silver flask. “Zoom Zoom?”
For those of you who don’t know, Zoom Zoom is usually liqueur, like sambuca. I smiled, “Please.” With that she poured a shot in, just enough to have a kick and add sweetness. I took a bite of biscotti and was in heaven. “Thank you.” I washed it down with some incredible demitasse and waited for her to finish chewing. “Tell me about Annabelle and Mike.”
“Those two, they got a lot of things to work out. Annabelle, she just wasn’t right in the head for the last couple of years. She thinks she hid everything so well.” Aunt Rose tapped her temple. “But I know what I know, and I saw she needed to get past the death of that old boyfriend of hers.”
“What kind of name is that? Chip, it’s a break in a cup, that’sa no name for a man. Not that he was much of one. Better that she ended up with someone who can appreciate her, like her Michael. He’s such a nice boy, and a good doctor too. Annabelle, she needs someone who will take care of her and believe in her. She’s a nice girl, my Annabelle.
“You knew about Chip and didn’t tell the rest of the family?”
“Why? I knew it was a passing phase. It was going to end soon enough. Death can’t be avoided.” She crossed herself. “My Annabelle takes after her mama, she don’t like dealing with the hard things in life. She tried to pretend it never happened. But that don’t work. It took meeting Mike to get her to mind straight again.”
I nodded, not sure what to say to that. “Everyone wants to know if you’re psychic.”
“Me? I’m a’ no gypsy. I just know things. I don’t know how I know, I just do.”
“You’re very close to your nieces and your nephew. How does that affect your relationship with your sister?”
“Me and Maria, we don’t talk about it. She don’t like it so she acts like one of those animals who sticks her head in the sand.”
“Si.” Rose took a sip of her demitasse. “She tries to do right by her children, but she don’t know what they need. Just you wait until she finds she’sa not the only woman in Richie’s life.”
“Oh!” I sat straighter on the bench. News! “Then Richie and Gina will work things out?”
Aunt Rose gave me one of her you’re-too-stupid-to-live looks. “Richie needs a woman who will love him in spite of himself. Gina, she’sa not that woman. But then Richie’s not the man for her, either. You’ll see. It’sa gonna be an interesting fall. You mark my words.”
“That’s all you’re going to tell me?”
“What? You want me to write your next book for you? No, you’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out. Somebody is gonna turn Richie’s life up’a-side-down. He’sa not gonna know what hit him.” Aunt Rose took the last bite of her biscotti and drained her demitasse. “It’sa been nice talking to you, Robin. You come back and visit sometime soon. Maybe after you write Richie’s book, eh?”
I didn’t want to let her go, but she was obviously finished talking to me. She was halfway to the Cemetery gate before I could say, “yes, thanks for meeting me.”
Aunt Rose held her hand up as if to say, “No a’need to thank.” The gesture left me with more questions than when the interview began. So what do you think? Is Rich going to end up with Gina, or is there really another woman? Who is she?