This is the story of Tony Spaghetti, who at age 60 retired from his maintenance job at Hero Manufacturing. He had been there for 35 years and felt it was time to do something else. His house that he and his wife Antoinette had lived in since their marriage was paid for — a charming bungalow in an Italian neighborhood of Chicago.
He did not have any hobbies other than puttering around with some tools in his basement. This all took place in June. That same year in December his wife died.
This left Tony alone and depressed. He wanted female companionship and maybe to even marry again. He missed Antoinette but there was nothing he could do to win her back. Of course as a Catholic he went to church every Sunday.
After services one Sunday in January he asked Father Silvivo how he could meet women. Father told him to attend more services at the church during the week. Tony did so and soon found that many women were bringing casseroles of all sorts to Tony at his house.
Not so much to make sure he was eating but to remind him that there were many widows out there who were Catholic and who would like to remarry. Tony, true to his Catholic faith, did not get intimate with any of them since it was his old-time belief that this sort of action is done only in marriage.
The other obstacle with these relationships was that these women were church crazy. They wanted Tony to be with them at services maybe five or six times a week. But Tony, who considered himself a good Catholic, could not agree to their wishes, and soon the casserole visits stopped.
Tony took up bowling, an activity he had done while single. He joined an adult league and every Wednesday night he would go down to Michael’s Bowling Center and spend the evening bowling and having a few beers. It was not a mixed league, just men on all of the teams.
Naturally, when they found out about Tony’s marital status, they were soon trying to set him up with their mothers or with their ex-wives. He did go out with some of each but again he found them to be not of his liking. And again no intimacy actions.
One day in June he decided to call his maternal grandfather. His grandfather Giovanni Salvatore was at that time 98 years old and still lived in his home town of Spiazzo Rendena in Italy.
“Grandpa,” Tony said in Italian, “I want to meet Italian Catholic women and then I want to marry again, I have been looking now for months and have not found one that I might be interested in marrying. What should I do and where should I go?”
“Tony,” his grandfather replied, “Go where your people are.”
“How and where is that?”
“Go where the new upscale Italian neighborhood is and there you will meet women.”
“I will send you detailed instructions that I have saved for over 60 years on how to meet them and how to show them that you are very desirable as a husband for Catholic women.”
Within three weeks a large manila envelope arrived at Tony’s house. Enclosed were instructions on what to wear and what to build to attract those women that Tony sought.
The next day Tony went to Home Depot and purchased lumber to make the vehicle for which his grandfather had sent the plans. He then went to an Italian haberdashery and purchased the outfit his grandfather had recommended. The last step was to go to a quarry and purchase a specific type of stone.
Then down to his small workshop in his basement where he toiled for about three weeks. When he had assembled what his grandfather had proposed, he measured the entire unit and then bought a 10-year-old Ford truck that had a hydraulic lift on the rear.
The first week in August there was Tony loading his pushcart on top of which was mounted his grindstone. He was wearing shorts that looked like some sort of Bavarian yodeler and a felt green hat. He was going out into the world to become a knife grinder. But he was an up-to-date knife grinder, for on top of the pushcart he had installed two speakers and an iPod that could resound with Italian songs.
And off he went to a northern suburb of Chicago where the more upscale Italian families had been moving. He parked in a neighborhood of high-rise condos and sang along with the iPod. You must remember that the power for this pushcart was done manually by Tony sitting on the seat and moving his legs as if he were bicycling, which of course rotated the grindstone on which the knives and scissors would be sharpened.
It wasn’t even three minutes before there was a crowd of women mostly Tony’s age who gathered around Tony and his pushcart with their knives, scissors, and other cutting tools that needed sharpening. And of course Tony took his time to make sure he was doing the job properly as detailed in his grandfather’s notes. He talked, he listened, and he collected money for his work.
When he was finished and was getting prepared to leave, a youngish-looking woman ran out of one of the high-rise lobbies and yelled, “Don’t go. I just got home and I need help with these things.” Tony stopped.
“I’m Mary Lou Simmonni,” she said and smiled at Tony.
This story could go on and be expanded for a long time but the end result would still be the same. It was love at first knife, and within three months Mary Lou Simmonni and Tony Spaghetti were married.
And now when Tony goes out to do knife sharpening, Mary Lou goes with him and hovers near the pushcart to “protect” Tony from the customers who try to make it with him.
© 2017 Albert Zimbler
Albert Zimbler is a 92-year-old author of six humor short story books on Amazon of which MORE DATING AND MATING SECRETS OF SENIORS AND OTHER HUMOR SHORT STORIES is the latest. He also teaches senior improv.
Click here for an interview of Al Zimbler on “The Daily Author.”