Jun 25, 2024


This was my post from June 25, 2013. James Gandolfini had died on June 19th, and this was the day of his funeral:


I was doing just fine.  Really.  I was.  I managed to actually get out of the bed, dry my eyes, blow my nose, and sit up in the buggy like a real live person. 

"What ever happened to keeping your crazy on the inside?" I wondered as I poured my morning coffee. "The way you're carrying on, you'd think that you had lost a close family member.  For pity's sakes!  You didn't go this far over the edge when you really DID lose close family members!  What the heck is WRONG with you, anyway?"

So I got on with the business of things until Aunt Chrissy told me that his funeral is going to be on Thursday at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

And I puddled all over the place again.

No, in case you were wondering, I never met or dated or married or touched or talked to or even came within the same zip code as James Gandolfini.  But I loved him as though he were my very own soul mate, imported straight from New Jersey its Very Fabulous Self....just to make me giddy.

James Gandolfini was the only reason I actually put my glasses on my face some days.  And watching him in The Sopranos was a ritual that I performed as a way to forget about reality for a few hours and go deep into a world full of gabba-gool and Christo-fa!

Yeah, I lived in New Jersey for six years, but I never really "was" Jersey.  I tried.  Really.  I did.  I came home to Hoosierville and impressed the dickens out of anybody who would listen with my tales of life on the shore and all of the amazing things you could find there in the way of food and family and attitude.  I admit it. I became a total wanna-be from the moment I laid eyes on the Garden State Parkway, and planting myself in front of Tony and Carmella and the gang made me feel like I could fit right in rather than get laughed out of the neighborhood for calling it pasta and sauce instead of noodles and gravy.

Then there were the moments when I watched other things with my boy in, like The Mexican and The Last Castle.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  He's going to be remembered for his portrayal of the world's favorite white terry cloth bathrobe wearing mafioso, but to me he was also a guy who could make ice melt with those limpid pools of deep brown love once he set them on you.

Oh.  Sorry.  I got a little lost there, didn't I?

From the time I could begin remembering, Mom carried a coin in her purse that she always said was her good luck charm.  All I knew was that it was about twice the size of a quarter and had a church on it.  I'm sure that she probably told me a thousand times where it came from, but all I heard was something about New York and a cathedral called St. John the Divine.  I don't know if Mom got the coin during a visit there, or if it was given to her by one of her brothers as a souvenir, but she carried that thing every day of her life and then it passed along to Aunt Chrissy and moi as our very own good luck charm.

Over the years, we've kind of passed it back and forth as a little secret way of bolstering each other up during tough times.  We've never actually said it aloud, but when the coin change hands there's an implicit "Boy, are things sure screwed up for you!" that necessitates the transfer of the coin and all of its hopeful good luck.

So as I was sitting and minding my very own business yesterday, Aunt Chrissy walked in and handed me the coin.  I figured that it was her way of saying "Snap out of it!", but instead she just let me hold it for a minute and then she told me that James Gandolfini would have his funeral in the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.

And I bawled all over again.

OK.  I'm done now.  Sorry to let my crazy on the outside, kids, but it was getting pretty full in there and I'm almost afraid of the permanent damage that would have resulted from me going one more day with a smile plastered on my face and a simple "Fine, thank you.  How are you?" coming out of my mouth every time somebody in polite society asked me how I'm doing.  So, finally, we're moving on.

Stitching continues on the Rishfied canvas.  I'm concentrating on the center flower and hope to make some significant progress this weekend when we get together with some lady friends for a little Saturday afternoon stitch fest.  I'm so excited about it I can barely keep from prancing around, but I've promised Aunt Chrissy that I will take my medicine and not "be me" no matter how hard it might be to just fake a little normal for a few hours.
Is it just me, or does this look exactly like the progress pic that I posted nine months ago?


Stewey sends his love.  He has his very own obsession at the moment, so we're currently in an "all Liberace all the time" mode around these parts.  I swear, if I have to watch Behind the Candelabra one more time I'm going to break something.  When you combine that with the fact that I keep finding rhinestones all over the damn place, it's any wonder I haven't gone further round the bend.

 "Sorry, Mo-ther.  You've got your crazy obsessions and I've got mine.  Get over it already."

I hope that this finds y'all well and safe and happy and healthy and stitching to your heart's content. 

Can you believe that it's June already?

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