***If you are unfamiliar with our beloved Jewish Godmother series, scroll to the end of the story and click on the links to read our introductory parts 1-4
**If you are not caught up with part 4 of The Dueling Dons, click on link below:
Let me tell you my friends, after meeting Don Bustamonte behind the dumpster I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning all night long. I did, after all, make a deal with the head mob boss of New York City. The excitement of owning a piece of Via Roma Pizzeria got me so fershimmeled and I ended up biting off more than I could chew. How will I follow through? What will happen to me if I don’t, is he going to break my kneecaps or give me my own pair of cement boots so that I end up sleeping with the fish? Maybe I’ll go the way of the beanie baby empire!
The next morning at the deli I must have looked awful because Francine took notice and asked, “What’s the matter, Jose’? You didn’t happen to eat the whitefish that was accidentally left on the counter last night?” I answered, “No, it’s not that, I’m in big trouble Francine.” At that, Francine motioned me over to the walk in refrigerator for privacy. She put a sweater over my shoulders so I wouldn’t catch a chill and then shouted, “All right Jose, spill it!” I then explained to her the encounter I had with Don Bustamonte and the deal I agreed to. “Francine, it’s obvious she loves him, how can I make this happen?” Her eyes lit up and she replied, “I saw Fiddler last week at the theater, I have an idea, don’t worry, I’ve got your back, I am my mother’s daughter after all, aren’t I? Trust me!” As she walked out of the refrigerator she turned to me one last time, “Oh and another thing, just to be clear, if this works, I want a cut of your pizzeria cut!”
Soon after, The Godmother entered the deli. She grabbed a fresh bagel and some shmaltz and headed to her office in the back. It was then that Francine put her plan into action as she gave me a ‘wink’ and rushed to the back of the deli. “Ma…ma…ma!” The Godmother, startled, answered, “Francine! What’s the matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Francine clutched her chest, “Oh my gosh ma, is it that obvious, something’s happened, I had such a vivid dream last night. At least I think it was a dream, but it seemed so real, I’m not sure what to make of it.” This got the Godmother’s attention, “Sit down, tell me all about it.” She handed Francine a plate, “Have some leftover cholent from Shabbos, it’ll calm you down, I’m all ears.”
Francine continued, “I was in my bed sleeping and I was awoken by a small crowd of people bursting into the room. “The Godmother was curious, “A crowd of people, what were they doing, why were they there?” Francine replied, “They were celebrating, singing and making such a racket! But Ma, they weren’t strangers; they were our relatives, ones that have passed away.” Francine then reached for her mother’s arm and placed her hand gently on it for effect, “Ma, your Bubbie Sylvia Faiga was there.” At hearing this, The Godmother gasped, “My dear Bubbie, Sylvia Faiga? My beloved Bubbie whom I loved more than anyone? How did she look? Was she wearing the scarf I knitted for her when I was 12 years old?” Francine knew she had her mom on the hook, “Other than needing a little bit of sun, she looked great. And she was wearing the scarf, she looked quite lovely in it.” The Godmother was happy, “Was she asking about me? What were they celebrating?” Francine answered, “Well they were celebrating the happy couple who found love at last.” The Godmother was puzzled, “Who is the happy couple?” Francine then went for the kill, “Why, you and Don Bustamonte, that’s who!”
The Godmother’s spine stiffened, “I have no interest in that man, that will never happen.” Francine then pulled out a small notebook from her purse and opened it, “Really? No interest? Then how do you explain this? Here on page 3 you wrote the words: Mrs. Sylvia Bustamonte 20 times!” The Godmother’s face turned red. Francine went on, “I know you are fighting it ma, so I had to let Bubbie Sylvia Faiga know that you are not interested!”
The Godmother looked worried, “What did my Bubbie do, how did she react to the news?”
“She said that if you two do not get together there will be serious repercussions.”
The Godmother was quivering, “What kind of repercussions?”
“She said that I’m going to get married.” Francine replied.
The Godmother looked a little relieved, “That’s a bad thing? I’ve waited for this your whole life!”
Francine narrowed her eyes and paused for dramatic effect and then let the ax fall, “Ma if you don’t end up with Don Bustamonte then I will end up marrying a goy! And not just any goy ma, she said I’m gonna marry MEL GIBSON!”
At that moment The Godmother acted as if she was struck by lightning and clutched her chest. She leaned back and fell off of her chair and as she hit the floor the entire deli shook, dishes fell off the shelves, patrons scattered and some even ran out the door in fear!
I had a feeling that Don Bubbieberger saw this as a sign. For she valued the opinion of her Bubbie more than anyone, and took the warning seriously. Francine and I could see her mother’s demeanor change, she then gave me another wink. We both knew her plan was working. The Godmother turned to me and said, “Jose’, I would like to see The Godfather. Do you know where he is?” I answered, “Yes, I know exactly where he is, he’s in the back parking lot by the dumpster. He spent the night there, refusing to budge until you agreed to see him.”
The Godmother then stormed off towards the back parking lot. Upon seeing The Godfather, she said, “Well Don Bustamonte, you look like something the cat schlepped in, you must be hungry. Jose’! Get him a sandwich.”
The Godfather held up his palm and answered, “That’s ok, I found some day old marble rye and tuna salad in the dumpster. You guys throw a lot of stuff away! We don’t do that at the pizzeria.” It suddenly occurred to me that maybe I should rethink the deal I made to own a part of Via Roma’s.
The Godmother looked him over and held her nose, ” You need a shower!”
The Godfather replied, “Sylvia I’m filthy because life is not perfect.” At that, The Godfather pulled out a piece of cardboard from behind the dumpster. “Sylvia, during my time spent behind the dumpster I realized something. I wrote all of my feelings down with some spicy brown mustard I found.”
He then began reading as a crowd started to form around us. “Sylvia, my darling bagel with everything I’ve ever wanted on it, I recognize that our love is not perfect, God did not make us to be perfect. The universe is perfect, pizza is perfect, at least it is at Via Roma’s. My Mamma’s meatballs are perfect, The Brooklyn Bridge is perfect, especially when it’s lit up at night. But we are not perfect. I have a very quick temper and I can be very messy at times.” The Godmother nodded her head as she pulled off a piece of herring from his shoulder. He continued, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but one thing I know is that I love you and we were meant to be together. Our relationship will not be perfect.” At this point he grabbed a second piece of cardboard and kept reading, “But I can’t live without you. You are my Brooklyn Bridge, you are my Mamma’s meatball.” He then got down on one knee, “I’m pouring my heart out to you and in front of all these people Sylvia, my darling, will you have me?”
The Godmother was blushing, I could tell she was completely smitten but she was still holding back to keep up appearances. “I’ll give you my answer after I get you cleaned up upstairs.” And with that Don Bustamonte took her response as a “yes” and a smile washed across his face. He scooped The Godmother up and led her upstairs. The crowd began applauding as they witnessed something very rare. This man, this mafia boss who comes from another world, just won the love of the woman whose heart is as cold as Brighton Beach in January.
You see my friends, love does prevail in the end, and to top it off, I get free pizza for the rest of my life!
fershimmeled: flustered, confused
shmaltz: chicken fat
cholent: a traditional stew served on the Sabbath
shabbos: the sabbath
goy: a non-Jew
schlepped: carried or hauled
For part one of The Godmother Introductory Series: