There is a special guest here in the Auriemma hizzouse this week. And maybe for another few weeks. With this particular house-guest, you’re never sure how long she’ll stay.
This guest will get up at 6:30 and rustle you awake as well, demanding she clean your room. When she says hello, she’ll squeeze your hand so tight you’ll worry about the condition of your phalanx bones. If you say you’re having an argument with a friend, she’ll call them a stupid bitch. If you run out of milk in the morning, she’ll put water on her cereal.
Yup. My Nonna is here.
Now, you would think someone who’s visiting their family would sit back, relax, and let the family do the work for them. No way. Nonna will force you to sit down and demand she clean the entire kitchen top to bottom, as well as do the dishes, wash the sink, clean the oven, and wash clothes. If she had her druthers, she’d do all of this then go out in the back and gut a goat for our dinner. I have no idea where she gets her energy; I think she goes outside when the sun is out and attains it through photosynthesis.
You’ve probably seen my Nonna at games. She’ll sit there, quietly panicked, digging her nails into my arm so deep I’m stunned I’ve never had tetanus. She and I share the exact same tendencies for gametime panic. We also share a deep and profound love for the kitchen. I have a few recipes of hers that I will never share with anyone, because if I did, she would come to me in a dream and throttle me.
My Nonna is the reason why Dad pushes the team as hard as he does. When they tell him it’s too difficult, and too tough, he tells them a small story. A tale of when my Nonna, at the age of ten, had to go away from her mother and hide in the mountains from an army of advancing German soldiers. Her mother, my bisnonna, stayed behind in the basement of their house with her hand on the snout of the family pig. If the pig made any noise, they’d both be shot, and Nonna would have starved that winter. Without that pig, there would have been no food.
My Nonna jars and cans her own sauce every single year. When people ask me ‘Is this Geno’s sauce, really?’ down at the casino when I hand out pizza slices, I proudly state ‘It’s Geno’s mother’s sauce she makes herself every year.’ They scoff at me sometimes, which makes me want to go all gangsta and shout ‘You making fun of my Nonna, biznitch?’
My Nonna slaps my butt and forces food down my throat when she thinks I’m too thin. Then the next time I see her she tells me I’ve gained weight. This time she says I look wonderful. I hope she’ll still stuff my face with food…
My Nonna absolutely loves coming to games, but if you come to talk to her, she’ll hide and say to me “Why do all these people want to talk to me, Lysa?” And I say, “You’re a rock star, Nonna.” And she’ll say, “Shut up, you crazy girl.”
My Nonna’s favorite players are Svetlana and Shaq. I have no idea how she landed on Shaq. But she loves him.
My Nonna can sit in the sun for five minutes and come inside sporting a tan line.
My Nonna will probably clean my room without me knowing it today.
My Nonna cannot read or write yet if asked is able to deconstruct the twelve intersecting plotlines of The Young and the Restless.
My Nonna yells at you if you roll dough wrong.
My Nonna functions on ciabatta bread, peanut butter, red peppers, coffee, dry cereal, and meatballs.
My Nonna makes the world’s best Christmas cookies. Last year I think I ingested so many I started sweating powdered sugar.
My Nonna is the only person aside from me who can smack Dad across the face. Come on…who among us hasn’t wanted to bitchsmack Geno Auriemma and get away with it? I’ve done it at least five times. I did it the other day. He just laughs. (that being said, don’t try it in public.)
My Nonna is currently washing every single shelf in our pantry individually. Nobody asked her to do this. And if I try to stop her, she’ll yell at me.
My Nonna is here for Thanksgiving.
So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to go hang out with my Nonna.