The first day of Summer deserves a salad for dinner. It’s a celebratory meal for a celebratory day. It’s the longest day of the year – but 30 years ago, it was the end of labor and what my sister-in-law, Debbie, probably thought of as the longest night of her life – the birth of my nephew, Bill.

30 years old. It seems hard to believe that 30 years ago we were all at the hospital waiting for him. That’s “all” as in my entire family. It’s what we do – arrive en masse to the hospital for babies, operations – anything requiring major stitches or an overnight stay. Bill is the 9th of the eventual 13 grandkids – but Number Nine might as well been Number One. We’re there to welcome them into the fold, offer moral support to the father…

As uncle, aunt, or cousin, we don’t have any responsibility, so it’s really all about being loud and obnoxious – and having fun. Cocktails have also been included from time to time. And we all smoked. The hospital waiting room was a billowing cloud of Marlboro’s. Can you imagine smoking in a hospital, today? Hell – can you imagine smoking, today?!?

Great fun, indeed.

Here’s the little tyke not long after his arrival…

And then him and his fabulous wife, Christine, on their wedding day four years ago. It’s hard to believe it’s been four years!

Time really does fly when you’re having fun. And we’re all having fun.

Just like we had a fun dinner – beer can chicken o the grill, beef tenderloin chunks I marinated and then grilled, along the lines of my Spicy Garlic Flank Steak… The bean salad from the other night… hard cooked egg, kalamata olives, and a simple vinaigrette whipped up by Victor. It was perfect.

And speaking of perfect… Here’s all 13 of them…



13 of them and they’re all good kids. Between them, they’re raising 16 kids – chaos and pandemonium reigns supreme! Well… organised chaos and pandemonium.

There are a lot of benefits to coming from a large family – and there’s 13 reasons right off the bat. I wouldn’t have it any other way.