Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas dinner at Tano and Debbie's home

I thought that since I forgot my camera I would post the Christmas card above that I received from Rissy and Rich of their children, Jed and Clarke, taken in Sicily this past summer. Tano and Rissy are Linda's Bongiorno children whose grandparents came from Sicily. So they traveled all throughout Italy as well as Venice. Rissy said the kids were wonderful travelers. Clarke is the little girl who has been ill from a bad stomach virus at their home in San Francisco but she was definitely on the mend at Tano's house. She and her cousin, Gianna, are great pals and were having a wonderful time.

In the first photo Tano and Debbie, our hosts, are pictured on their Christmas card with their two adopted children, Gianna and Sammy. Their story is especially significant to me this Christmas when the struggle over abortion funding was going on in Congress. Tano and Debbie are very active in their church in the pro life movement. These two children are ones they saved from abortion. They were able to persuade both sets of parents to have the children rather than abort them with their help, and then they adopted them. The parents are given pictures and reports of their progress as they request. Sammy, the oldest, pictured at the bottom, is a brilliant child as well as a very good looking one. He is 15 now, the same age as my grandson Dante, and attends a school where he can develop his gifts. He read us quite a long poem he had written in iambic pentameter as an assignment about Winston Churchhill and his struggles with a father who rejected him. I could not help but think that Churchill's story resonated with Sammy. Tano and Debbie, who could not have children of their own, intervened to help save his life.

The third photo is of my youngest grandson, Ethan, which his mother, Ronda, sent me in her card, for Christmas. He was also having a wonderful time with the other kids. Jamal, my oldest grandson, was home from ASU, tossing the football around with them.

My son Dan did not attend as he had been hit with a $400 dollar repair bill on his old car just when he barely had it, and did not have enough money left in his bank account for gas. He felt bad to think he could not buy any presents, but Scott, Linda's youngest son, was there. He was talking about he and Dan having to pay back school loans, too , with spotty employment. He has not been regularly employed so got a deferment, but Dan had not, but Dan apparently thought it would be better just to get the loan paid off as soon as possible. So Dan is broke broke broke, but will be going back to his job at the Sheraton hotel setting up for conventions and so on after the Christmas break.
I was reading where the convention business has been hit very hard in Arizona with the recession, and it is going to take some time for the economy to recover and get back up to par. A lot of people are out of work. Dan is lucky to have a job. He says the hotel says there will be work in January. I was reading where the Sheraton has cut room prices across the nation to try to keep competitive and in business during the recession.

I am happy to report I was also able to connect to Angelina, pictured here with my son Dan in a photo taken when they were married and she was pregnant with Dante. Dan had had to come to her rescue, also, with money for car payments, so she would not lose her means of getting to work. Angelina has more clients now in her cleaning service she said, so is getting close to enough income to take care of her bills. She actually looks trim and healthy with the exercise she gets in her cleaning work.
This is a better job for her she says than bartending or waitressing where the temptations of alcohol don't exist. Her job in a bar led to their separation. She admitted to me the last time I talked to her she had become an alcoholic, which behavior she regrets so much now. She attends a church regularly to keep straight as she has separated from the father of her two smaller children. He was the one she had met in the bar job and partied with.
My friend LaRena and I both gave her money this Christmas for a trip to the grocery store. I told her how much I loved the hair decorations I bought from her. I put them on all my caps, and gave three cute beanies with decorations on them to my daughter, Ronda, and sisters, Linda and Ann for presents. She was very pleased and said she got another order from my sister Ann.
I am glad to say my sister Margie also responded with some help for Angelina, but I was sorry Dan got so broke he did not feel like attending the family dinner.
My son Gary's daughter, Kelly Anne, one of my older grand daughters, visited him, and Gary did not attend either.

Raymond also reported from Austin, Texas he had recovered from a temporary down mood after his show closed, and had some projects in mind, namely starting on his memoirs, through Christmas holidays. That son has led a fascinating life in theater which only he could tell.

The other family members all just had a wonderful time to Tano's, visiting. Debbie cooked Italian, chichen marsala, sauce and riganoti (sp) and baked manicotti. She served both lettuce and fruit salads, and wines, champagne, and apple cider (my favorite). Ronda brought home made pumpkin rolls, cookies, and apple pie. Debbie always sends containers of the food home with us, so I have some pasta and sauce in my fridge and I bought Doc a sample of desserts.

Doc and I had our shrimp supper the day before, plus a variety of sliced meats, so he had plenty of food to eat! Oh yes, Tano and Rissy's father, Sam Bongiorno, was there really enjoying a genuine Italian meal. He says he is happy he moved here from Florida because he gets to see his kids and grandkids a lot more often!

We also distributed books gifts among others. Ronda and Rissy were marveling over the fact that they gave each other the same book! I received a Barbara Kingsolver book from Rissy who is a great book giver plus a care package of shampoo, etc. she has taken to giving every Christmas. Ronda and Chad gave me money. I am anticipating purchases at the Farmer's Market already. I gave them home made pasta I bought there. Divine.

So all in all I would say Christmas was delightful, with a few problems. Life without problems would not be normal!


ADB said...

Hope you're having a great Christmas this year, Gerry

Guido said...

I loved all the pictures. I didn't get the one Christmas one from may be in the mail.
I did get the one when she moved.
But it's a great picture with kids and water...S.F.Bay?
Another Christmas is come and gone. We are still moving forward, one step at a time.

Connie said...

Wow -so glad you had a good time with family.
Worried how Doc faired the day...
Yeah there's always problems almost always stems from money woes and attitudes...well soon we will have a new year and a new start...

LaRena said...

i admire so much Tono and Debby's major effort to save the lives of these beautiful children, and give them a wonderful home. I think pro-life people have to make every effort to help if abortion is ever to be ended. Janice and Steve did the same with their adopted child.(Persuading the mother to not go that route) and happily taking her baby right from the hospital. This child has not been an easy one to raise but they have loved her and did a wonderful thing, I think.

Missie said...

I'm a little late but Merry Christmas any way! LOL

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