Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A very sad day for me....

a good family friend from my childhood died. Now he was 80 and lived life to the fullest so although I'm sad...I know he is happy. How can I explain Galba...he was a dreamer that pulled you into his dreams...even the biggest cynic couldn't help but see the dream. He was a friend of my dads...his family lived in NYState and worked in NJ where I grew up. We very occasionally saw each other...once a year the Easter Dinner at Germana's an Italian Restaurant in NY State...yes every year we all (the NJ Italians) would travel 2 hours to Upstate NY to eat a wonderful Pasqua dinner at Germana's. In between courses was dancing to a band with an kids would run wild outside feeding grass to the chickens, climbing trees and playing ping pong. It was where I learned to waltz...myself and my 'NYState friend' Michelle would practice in the ladies room, so we could get it right before going outside and trying it out in 'public'. Where does Galba and his family fit into all this? Well Ricky his son played the accordion in the band...and Galba owned a farm a few miles a complete farm/animal nut I would occasionally have the opportunity to hang out with the Manganini's. It was heaven...they had pigs, grapes, chickens and a horse. Their daughter, Marlene used to let me sit on her horse...and Ricky patiently let me help out with all the chores...I loved it. They even had hunting dogs, a German Shorthaired pointer...Max and Toby an springer spaniel...that would fetch rocks for hours...okay until Galba would tell me not to throw rocks because it would chip their teeth...oops! What did I know...I grew-up 30 minutes outside NYC!!!

Galba was my buddy...we would walk, go to the pond...and he would always snooze in the afternoon...begging me to massage his tired shoulders (cuz he worked so hard)! Wherever he was, it was fun. When Germana's closed down, he built an addition onto his garage/workshop and began serving meals on his farm...afterall, how hard could it be. He already made wine, all his own salami, proscuitto and capricolla (handy when you raise pigs) Everyone thought he was crazy...but he built the classiest place...a European showpiece, with GREAT homemade food...and I mean they make the pasta that gets formed into the tortellini, and the broth and well everything...alot of work but an amazing dinner...the best one outside of Italy. He got his brother a famous painter to paint some murals in the dining area...even a nude...which horrified a few people, but Galba stuck to his guns (and it is beautiful). He hand cut the wood for the balcony to resemble the Tyrol Houses from Italy as well as a gorgeous wood detail was missed.

It is so sad to see him pass, but at least I am lucky, I get to visit Magnanini Winery, drink the wines Galba envisioned (but his son worked hard to bring to life) and see his ghost around the dining hall in all those touches that were just him! If you are ever in should definitely make a trip...and eat the food.

Magnanin Winery
Walkill, NY

And now finally for the card...not sure which one I'll send...I truly hate making sympathy cards and unfortunately it shows.

Which do you like the better?

The Brown Roses Card or The Black Roses Card

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