picture credit: clbxg.com

A modern day fairy tale? You decide!

One year ago, my brother was getting married to a wonderful girl and I was over the moon! She often referred to my brother as her “Prince Charming.” She and I got along famously and not only that, my dear friend, whom I always have adventures with, became very close to her as well. My friend and I decided that we would help with planning the wedding and finding her the perfect dress! We chose a day and ventured to the nearest bridal store. It was just lovely, the staff served us champagne and we had quite a good time. My future sister in law tried on several dresses until she found one she liked. It was beautiful and by the time she found it, we were a bit tipsy, and fun was had by all. The dress needed some alterations, so the store manager told us there were business cards with highly recommended local seamstresses placed at the front counter. So, my friend picked a card that had some kind of sparkly dust on it and said, “This one looks interesting, her name is Crisabella Fairweather.” I looked at the card and said, “What an odd name but she’s conveniently located right around the corner.”

So my future sister in law purchased the dress and we called the seamstress and she said she was available right away. We then went to her home. Upon arriving, we noticed immediately that it was a very small cottage. Lining the perimeter was a white picket fence and it was surrounded by an array of colorful roses, daisies and petunias. There was a very large oak tree in the front with squirrels and woodpeckers surrounding it. A cute birdhouse hung from one of the limbs and a red cardinal peeped its head out as though it was welcoming us as we walked to the door.

Things got even stranger……..

We knocked and the door opened slowly as we were greeted by a cocker spaniel, there was no sign of any human being! My future sister in law exclaimed to the dog, (which I found odd, but this whole situation was) “We are here to see the seamstress!” The dog barked and turned around and started walking through the house. He turned back at us, to make sure we were following. So we proceeded to follow the dog. He led us to an open sliding glass door and we walked through it to the back yard. What we saw was so unusual that we must take a moment to describe it! The back yard had several large birdbaths filled with bluebirds who were noisily tweeting. Also, There were hens and chickens running amuck. We saw more squirrels and what we think might have been mice scurrying about. The dog continued to turn around as he was leading us. We then walked down a stone pathway to a small thatch roofed cottage which was her workshop. The cottage was painted white with robin’s egg blue trim. She had more flowers lining the workshop and the top of the doorway was arched as if it was part of a fairy tale. We looked uncomfortably at each other, but then she opened the door to greet us. We couldn’t believe our eyes. She was around 4’11”, very long gray hair with flowers strewn throughout it. She was heavily wrinkled and wore a long lace gown and flat pointed slippers. She wore a ring on every finger and smiled as though she knew us since birth. She had bright piercing blue eyes that seemed to twinkle and when she moved glitter fell off her gown. My heart raced as I looked at my friend who had a complete look of shock on her face. The seamstress said, “Hello my darlings, I have been expecting you. I see you’ve met Prince, my dog, he loves to bring guests to my workshop.” We all found this to be very unusual, but she did come highly recommended so we stepped inside. The floor of the workshop was wood and creaked as we walked on it. it was dimly lit and very tiny, which we thought would make it difficult to work in. She got uncomfortably close to our faces when greeting us which made no sense at the moment. She told the bride to change into the dress, but there was no dressing room. So, she uncomfortably slipped into the dress in front of us and in front of a very large uncovered window that faced the street! We looked out the window and there were about 20 small bluebirds flitting about!


As she was changing, my friend as nonchalantly as she could, pointed at a very rusty antiquated foot pedal powered sewing machine. I thought to myself, How can she get this intricate job done with such an old outdated machine? I then looked up and noticed the walls had small shelves with hundreds of different threads, buttons, ribbons, scissors and sewing needles not in any particular order. The entire workshop was in disarray, things were strewn everywhere. Suddenly, she picked up the hem of the dress and held it extremely close to her face as if she was going to smell it! The Bride to be looked at me with wide eyes as I shrugged my shoulders. Crisabella then stated that she merely had to see the beading on the dress and had to hold it 1/2 an inch from her eyes to get a better look. Our mouths were agape, it made no sense. Most of us use reading glasses to see up close. she saw our reaction and said, “Oh fiddle dee dee, I am as blind as a bat, I have to hold things up very closely to see them!” We thought, how effective could a legally blind person be at altering a wedding dress? And with a rusty sewing machine? Who puts the beading on, the bluebirds? None of this made sense, but, we are just 2 middle aged Jewish women, what do we know from this?

The old sewing machine

Miraculously, she was able to take measurements while squinting and was confident the job could get done in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, the bride was not the best at preparing in advance and the wedding was only 2 1/2 weeks away. We were worried but Crisabella put our minds at ease. As we left, she handed us each a thimble and an apple for the road!

One week passed and we heard nothing from Crisabella. We tried calling but the line was out of service! We thought about stopping by her home, but in the end we decided to not panic yet and gave Crisabella a few more days to get in touch with us.

Four days before the wedding we were nervous wrecks. The catering, the venue, the decorations and the photographer were all taken care of. But we had no idea if there was going to be a dress or not! My future sister in law was starting to truly panic, so we had to make a plan B. Her sister still had her old wedding dress and being that they were the same size, she decided to borrow it. It was not the dress she wanted, but at this point, it would have to do. We called the bridal store to report Crisabella, and they apologized and said they didn’t know who we were talking about!

The wedding day arrived!

My friend and I showed up early to the venue to help the bride get ready. The wedding was to take place on the beach, and we were able to get ready in a lovely beach house on location. We were all excited and the disappointment of the dress debacle for the most part was forgotten.

Twenty minutes before it was time for the ceremony, we heard a knock at the door.

What happened next was unbelievable!

As we opened the door, standing in front of us was Crisabella. She was dressed exactly as she had appeared 2 1/2 weeks ago! In her hands, was the wedding gown, altered and as beautiful as ever. She calmly said, “Did you even doubt me?” Next to her was her dog Prince who seemed to bark a hello to us. Also, on her shoulder, was a tiny blue bird! I looked past her to the driveway and saw no parked vehicle. We were very curious as to how she got there with the dog and the dress and the bird. However, we were even more curious as to how she knew where to find us! We didn’t ask for it, but she added a lovely blue sash to the waist of the gown. We each gave Crisabella a big hug as we were speechless and thrilled beyond words! We briefly turned around to bring the dress inside, and when we looked back, Crisabella, Prince and the bluebird were gone, and all that remained on the threshold was a pile of glitter!

The End…….

For those of you unfamiliar with our beloved Jewish Godmother series, click here to read our introductory parts 1-4

If you need to get caught up, click here to read The Dueling Dons part 2

The Godfather had it “bad” for Don Bubbieberger

Hola Amigos, I’m sorry to have kept you in suspense all this time. When we last met The Godfather was kissing The Godmother’s hand in his “office” in the back room of Via Roma’s Pizzeria. He seemed to be so captivated with Don Bubbieberger that he couldn’t control himself!

The Godfather had been struck right in the tuchus by cupid’s arrow. His kisses slowly went up Don Bubbieberger’s arm and when he got past the crook of her elbow she reared back and gave him such a slap on the noggin. The Godfather fell back in his chair and was softly singing what sounded like the Italian love song That’s Amore. “How dare you,” barked the Godmother, “no one kisses my arm without my consent.” She turned to me and asked, “Did I give consent?” I shook my head. As she used the tablecloth to wipe his kisses off of her arm she declared, “No consent, no amore!”

“Then how do I get this consent?” Don Bustamonte inquired desperately. She grabbed his face in her hands, looked into his eyes and stated, “You have to earn it, besides, I only let Jewish men kiss me!” As she started to gather herself to leave, I rushed up front to order a couple slices of Via Roma’s famous pizza. I figured if I am going to have to deal with all of this drama, I deserved it. As I was handed my take out treat, the Godmother came bursting out the door, turned around and yelled back at the Godfather, “You’re gonna stay outta Brooklyn and you’re gonna stay outta my Spanx!” We then got into the Lincoln and planned to never see the Godfather again.

Meanwhile, days later it was business as usual at the deli. The Godmother was busy dealing with Rita Goldfarb’s latest issue. Rita felt she was overcharged by Stu Botchnick’s Plumbing Service. The Godmother sent her enforcer Avi to give Stu an atomic wedgie right up his plumber’s crack. It was so lethal, that he gave Rita a free toilet installation.

So as you can see all was well and good in Brooklyn, but back in The Bronx a storm was brewing. For Don Bustamonte was not a man who would give up so easily. He was going to do whatever was necessary to win the heart of our dear Don Bubbieberger. I knew that they came from 2 different worlds, how could love possibly prevail? He smokes stogies and she smokes whitefish. He fires a pistol and she fires kitchen staff. He plays the horses and she plays Mah Jongg. He eats meatballs and she eats matzah balls.

How could this ever work?

Well my friends, let me tell you. Don Bustamonte hired a skywriter to write “Surrender Sylvia” across the Brooklyn sky. Through means only a Godfather could use, he found out about her favorite flower, and he had the whole back room of the deli filled with ruby begonias. Neither of these things fazed The Godmother it seemed. But, I heard that he hired a Genealogist to scour his family tree in search of any potential Jewish roots. Lo and behold, he found out that his great great grandmother was of the “Hebrew” persuasion. With the knowledge of his Jewish blood, he hired a Mashgiach to make the pizzeria’s kitchen kosher. He had his pizza chef start making a special pizza bagel and added lox as one of the toppings. Sausage and pepperoni were stricken from the menu. Everyone thought he was losing his mind, but he didn’t care. The heart wanted what the heart wanted.

My friends, that is all for now. The next time we meet you will find out if the Godfather “makes a deal” to win the Godmother’s heart. Will the Godmother choose Don Bustamonte, or Door #2?

Yiddush Word Glossary:

*tuchus: butt or rear end

*mashgiach: a jew who supervises the kosher status of an establishment

Image credit- Pixabay- Annca

Sometimes it takes courage to admit

That we need the comfort of others

To get us through these seemingly peculiar times

We may see ourselves as lone wolves

Independent warriors in need of no one

Able to brave the unknown

Strong and mighty

To fight the battles that are approaching

Without a shoulder to lean on

Or a comforting embrace

But the time does come

When we seek what is familiar

It is with whom we already know and love

That we find our joy and peace.

Written in response to:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: “warrior”


Sadje’s what do you see #25


Eugi’s weekly prompt: “courage”

For unfortunate reasons that we cannot go into, quite a few years ago, my friend’s brother had gotten himself into a lot of trouble and was awaiting trial at a Federal Detention Center in Miami. My friend wanted to plan a visit to see him but the detention center had so many rules that it turned out to be a fairly cumbersome task! For example, one could only visit if they were on an inmate’s preapproved visitation list, visitors were given a predetermined time slot, and once given the time, visitors had to be outside the doors of the center one hour beforehand. There were many items of clothing that were deemed unacceptable such as: hats, shorts, flip flops, sunglasses, hair ties, sweaters or jackets. Shirts could not be beige, black, orange, striped or have any type of suggestive language or graphics on them. No skirts or dresses were permitted either! Also, certain items were banned. No cell phones, no wallets, no purses, no bags, no gifts for the inmates, no personal items of any kind were allowed. The only things permitted were: one small ziploc bag containing quarters for the visitor vending machine, a car key and positive identification.

Our time slot was on a Thursday morning from 8am-9am. Coincidentally, it was on her brother’s birthday, so my friend was determined to take her 2 children as well, and of course her partner in crime: me! My friend’s children were 13 and 16 at the time. We lived 4 hours away, so we had to gather up the kids and get in the car by 2:30am to allow for traffic, parking and any other hazards along the way.

Who could of known the hazards we were about to face?

Melvin was the watchdog of the McDonald’s bathroom!

We arrived in Downtown Miami by 6:00am and we were all exhausted. Not much sleep was had by any of us in anticipation of what was to come. We parked on the street as close to the detention center and of course, we locked all of our personal items in the trunk because the area was riddled with shady characters! We decided we should get some food into us and sauntered into a Macdonald’s on the corner. We had to use the bathroom as well so we attempted to open that bathroom door. As soon as we discovered that the stalls were locked, a gruff voice came from behind us, “You gotta get a wooden chip from the lady behind the counter!” We turned around to find who would ultimately become our new best friend. He introduced himself as Melvin. He was homeless, of small stature, gray hair, smelling a bit like vodka and cigarettes and he by far was the most helpful person to us that day! He went on to say, “The wooden chip is given only to customers and it unlocks the door.” We thanked him, got our wooden chips and used to restroom. He then offered to watch our car for us while we were at the detention center. We agreed figuring we shouldn’t argue with him. After all, we were 2 middle aged Jewish women, what did we know from this? So we got a decent breakfast and went on our way to the detention center to wait outside the doors.

It was an unusually chilly day in Miami, so we stood on line in the cold. We had paperwork to fill out while we were waiting. When the corrections officer came out to collect our paperwork she took one look at my friend’s son and declared, “He’s not going in!” My friend, taken aback, asked why. The corrections officer, quite agitated, explained that hoodies were not allowed and he was wearing a shirt with a hoodie attached. We had our first problem! (yes there were more to come). My friend, who didn’t want to lose her time slot, responded, “Do you have a pair of scissors, I’ll just cut the hood off!” The corrections officer’s faced turned slightly red, “This is a prison, We ain’t got no scissors in here!” With that, she walked away. My friend was not going to give up that easily! It was her brother’s birthday and she decided we were ALL getting in! We started to come up with a plan. We were going to find a shirt that would be acceptable to gain entry into the detention center. We had 15 minutes until our visitation time, so we had to act fast! My friend’s son, being a typical teenager, was too embarrassed to start running around downtown Miami, so he chose to hold our spot in line while the three of us took off!

We were on a mission!

I remembered seeing a church or mission on the same street as we were driving in so I told my friend and her daughter that I would head there, and meet up with them down the street near the Macdonald’s where the homeless people were congregating. Unfortunately, the mission was locked which made sense, it was very early in the morning, but at least I tried. Disheartened, I headed back to the Macdonald’s and that’s where I found my friend and her daughter attempting to communicate in Spanish to various homeless people on the street! Her daughter was using what little eighth grade Spanish she knew, which wasn’t the best. At one point, I think my friend mistakenly asked someone if they wanted to purchase her daughter instead of asking if she could purchase one of their shirts! Time was running out, and obviously my friend was getting more and more desperate. I looked across the street and I spotted Melvin with several of his homeless friends sitting outside the bus station. I noticed he had a suitcase on the ground next to him. I pointed him out to my friend. We quickly ran across the street in a panic and asked Melvin if there was a spare T shirt in his suitcase. He nonchalantly opened the suitcase and surprisingly he responded with, “Sure, what color would you like?” He then opened the suitcase and contained within it were dozens of nicely folded T shirts in varied colors! Before we could ask how a homeless man had so many different colored T shirts, my friend, without thinking about what she was saying, cried out, “Anything that can get my son into prison!” With that he took out a crisp, clean, neatly folded blue pocket T shirt. We offered him the bag of quarters, but he refused to take any money from us! My friend almost started crying tears of joy and we ran back to the detention center. She was waving the T shirt like a found treasure victoriously in the air! My friend’s son, was frantic as we showed up only 2 minutes before our entry time! He quickly changed into the shirt, left his hoodie tucked away behind a garbage can hoping to retrieve it later and we were granted entrance through the doors. Once we got in, we were instructed to sit down in chairs and wait until our names were called. There were at least 20 other people waiting with us. We sat down and felt so relieved to have found the shirt and we began to relax.

Seriously, how does a homeless man have crisp new T shirts to give away?

We really shouldn’t have gotten so comfortable yet!

A woman seated next to us leaned over to my friend and whispered, “You may not know this, but if you have any underwire in your bras, you will not make it though the metal detectors. And so, the wild rumpus continued as we discovered that my friend’s daughter had underwire in her bra! We immediately went into the women’s restroom. Her daughter was quite distressed because she didn’t want to remove her bra nor did she want to do anything to ruin it. It was at that moment that the stress of the entire situation overwhelmed my friend and caused her to have a bit of a meltdown! She began to scream, “Take the bra off! Take it off now, give me the bra! Listen, I can’t take this anymore, I’m exhausted and I only wanted you to see your uncle on his birthday, we barely slept, we drove 3 1/2 hours, I had to go running through the streets of Miami at 6 am just to get a crappy T shirt for your brother from a homeless man, I’m at my wits end and now I have to take the underwire from your bra! This is going to happen!” Seeing her mother in such distress, my friend’s daughter acquiesced and handed the bra over. My friend, after quite a bit of a struggle, finally was able to remove the underwire and threw it in the garbage can. The bra was back on and we were once again ready to go! As we came out from the restroom, we noticed everyone in the hallway staring at us. My friend’s son with his eyes wide said, ” I don’t think you are aware of this, but the bathroom door is not soundproof. Everyone out here heard every word you said and I can’t believe you got me a shirt from a homeless man!” My friend’s mouth hung wide open as she recalled everything she had said in the restroom. Before she could reply, our names were called. It was our turn to go visit her brother.

Just try to remove the underwire from a bra in under 3 minutes, I dare you!

And with that, we ended up having a lovely one hour visit with my friend’s brother. When we left, my friend’s son looked for his shirt but it was gone. We walked back to the car and Melvin was there to greet us, guarding our car just like he promised. To this day, my friend has the T shirt displayed in her home as a souvenir!

No one on the streets tonight
Trapped in my flat I’ve been
A Kingdom of Isolation
And it looks like I’m the Queen
The Virus is raging, a coughing storm outside
I couldn’t stay in, Heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them near me,
Be the safe girl, you always have to be
Covid, go away, don’t let them know
Well, Now they know!
Stay Inside, Stay Inside
Can’t go outside anymore
Stay Away, Stay Away
Turn away, and Slam the Door!
I don’t Care what they’re going to say
Let the Virus rage on…
A cold never bothered me anyway!
Stay Inside, stay inside
Can’t go outside anymore
Wash your hands, Stay Away!
It’s funny how some distance makes the Virus seem OK
And the sneezes that once controlled me, can’t get me at all….
It’s time to see what I can watch
To test my Netflix limits and break through
No night, no NEWS, for me
I’m Trapped!
Stay Inside, Stay inside
I am one with the Fridge and Pie
Go away, go away
You’ll never see me Die
Here I sit, and here I’ll stay
Let the Virus rage on….
A cold never bothered me anyway!

Part of the Jewish Godmother Series

For those of you unfamiliar with our beloved Jewish Godmother series, please click here to read our introductory parts 1-4

If you haven’t already, Read part 1 of The Dueling Dons here

Hola, this is your dear friend, Jose’. When we last met I was telling you about the Mona Lisa Horowitz incident. The Jewish Godmother was enraged that The Italian Godfather overstepped his boundaries by intervening in her business in Brooklyn. She was determined to let him know that she was not going to put up with such disrespect! So we got onto I-278 East and headed to Don Bustamonte’s headquarters, Via Roma Pizzeria on Arthur Avenue. They were known to have the best pizza in The Bronx. The whole time we were driving the Jewish Godmother was wringing her hands in the back of the Lincoln and muttering every insult against Italian Americans she could think of. She was so upset she kept “klapping” me in the back of my head as she criticized my driving. The anticipation of eating a slice of Via Roma pizza was the only thing that kept me from losing my sanity.

Via Roma Pizzeria: Headquarters of Don Bustamonte

When we arrived, the aroma of pizza wafted out to the sidewalk as we approached the front door. Once inside, we heard Frank Sinatra’s song, ‘Fly me to the moon’ playing. The walls were covered with autographed photos of famous Italian Americans like Joe DiMaggio, Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone. There were also photos of Rome and of the Pope of course. Each table was covered with a red and white checkered cloth and had a candle and a bottle of Chianti on top of it.

Don Bubbieberger whispered as best as she could, “Jose, I don’t think we’re in Brooklyn anymore.” She then sauntered up to the pizza chef in the front and banged her fist on the counter, “I demand to see Don Bustamonte.” Upon hearing her, the chef was so shocked that he dropped his freshly made pie as he was pulling it from the brick oven; for NO ONE mentions the Godfather’s name in the front of the pizzeria. He answered, “Fuggedaboutit lady, this is a reputable establishment, we don’t talk about those things, you either order a pizza or Va via!” The Godmother started channeling Robert De Niro in taxi driver as she said, “You talkin to me? You talkin’ to me?” The chef answered, “Yeah I’m talkin to you, who are you anyway, where are you from?” The Godmother losing her patience, picked up a jar of hot pepper sauce, and flung it into his face. “I’m Don Bubbieberger from Brooklyn that’s who!” As the pizza chef doubled over in pain and grabbed his eyes, I followed The Godmother as she marched towards the back of the pizzeria. Instinctively she knew where a Don would be doing his business. Even if she didn’t know, our clue was the smell of garlic and Armani cologne that was coming through the door that was marked ‘private.’ She began pounding on the door which caused the walls to shake. As I watched the framed picture of the Pope rattling on the wall next to me, I felt a sense of foreboding. ‘Oy Dios mio’ I said under my breath. I braced myself for what would happen next.

Just then, the door opened and a very large beefy man stood in the threshold. He took one look at the Godmother, and said, “Hey, lady, the restroom is down the hall, can’t you read the sign, it says private!” Suddenly, we heard a booming voice from the back, “Who dares to disturb me during my favorite show, Let’s Make a Deal?

Don Bustamonte’s favorite show. But, who else can make a better deal than Don Bustamonte himself?

“Let’s make a deal?” The Godmother said as she pushed her way past the stunned bodyguard. “I’ll tell you what the deal is you Bocce ball playing shnook!” She said to The Godfather, who was sitting at a small table. I noticed his table also had the red and white checkered tablecloth as well as a very large loaf of Italian bread. There was a glass of red wine on the table and an ashtray shaped like a gondola which held a very expensive lit montecristo cigar. Behind us was a flat screen TV playing a rerun episode of Let’s Make a Deal. He then stood up very slowly. My friends, I must tell you, the most impressive thing in the room was Don Bustamonte himself. He was not a very tall man, but the way he held himself made him seem larger than life! As the Godfather looked at The Godmother, he narrowed his eyes and said, “Nobody has spoken this way to me other than my dearest Mamma, may she rest in peace.” The Godmother responded, “I’ll make you REST in PIECES!” She snatched the lit cigar and she started to drive it towards his head!

He gently held her arm, took the cigar from her and said, “Such a bella faccia, what could possibly get you so worked up? I hate to see you so troubled. What can The Godfather do for you?” He started to twist the ring on his pinkie. The Godmother, quite frazzled, said, “Does the name Mona Lisa Horowitz ring a bell? You know the Jewish Italian girl with the cats?” He nodded and answered, “Oh yes, Sophia’s daughter. Sure, no big deal, you don’t have to thank me, I took care of it. You want something to eat? I have some lovely proscuitto to share.” The Godmother grabbed the loaf of bread and threatened to hit The Godfather with it, “I’m not hungry for proscuitto, I’m hungry for vengeance!” I noticed that it was at that moment that the Godfather’s eyes softened and he was struck by what the Italians refer to as Fulmine, the thunderbolt. He was obviously falling in love. “I’ve never met anyone like you, I’m completely captivated by your controlling nature. You’re a woman who knows what she wants and will do anything to get it! I admire those qualities because I have them as well. Who are you?” She replied, “I am Don Bubbieberger and I run all of Brooklyn and Mona Lisa Horowitz is mine!” He answered, “Fine, you can have her, as long as I can have you!” My friends, I couldn’t believe it, but the Godfather took the Godmother’s hand, started kissing it and the loaf of Italian bread fell to the ground. My mouth hung open, for no one would have predicted this outcome!

And so the plot thickens. Is there romance in the air? You will know next time we meet. Until then, this is Jose Flores de Las Gutierrez Perez de Fernandez de Leon de Jesus.

Yiddish and Italian glossary:

Klapping: hitting

Va via: go away

Schnook: a pitifully meek person

Bella facia: beautiful face