I remember Coo
from boyhood summers

with his large
extended Italian family
renting down the street
from us
They came from Queens
wherever that was
His dad John
worked for Bulova
He had a nice
rectangular wristwatch
like my dad’s
A sharp dresser
A standup kind of guy
For years they rented from
Olin and Kitty Womack
the big white place
across from Dietz and Meekins
the Studebaker garage
The Womacks lived
across from them
low top greenhouses
out back
Oli’d sell vegetables
displayed on
open jalousie windows
he’d crank out
Funny glass shelves
lined with tomatoes
facing Upper Main
Kitty was a fireball
short and wild
She always yelled at us kids
as we rode our bikes
on the grass between
her sidewalk
and the street
State property Kitty
we’d holler back
when we found out
On rainy days
we’d hang around
the Cavallos’ kitchen
His mom Tina
was always cooking
His grandpa George
cooked downtown
Chef at the Yacht Club
so they said
We played Scala Quaranta
Italian Pinochle
I called it
They served these
wafer cookies
jam filled
from a tin
City treat for an
Island kid
I’ll never forget
One drizzling day
with the sun just
popping out
we heard accordion music
wafting back
from the front door
On the stoop
across from the garage
Gino, Coo’s older brother
was crooning out some
Italian favorite
Across the street
young Senator Kennedy
was pumping up
his bike tire
and getting a New York
style serenade
Those were great days
on Upper Main

I’ll remember Coo from
downtown times
Cold winter mornings at his
Barbershop Deli
He made the best Minestrone
I’d ever had
beans and oregano
The window would be
all fogged up
scallopers could
mug up for the steam
out to the pond
Later, when you got in
before the shuckin grind
hot apple pie with a
slab of melted cheddar
went down
real good too
Abondanza he’d yell out
Abondanza I’d call back
There was Coo feeding us
where we used to get
when we were kids
Dolin’ out the grub
like Don Cavallo
what a guy
Que ca dice
I’d always say
I’s on days
his swift reply
I’s on days

I remember Coo
at his paint store
with Mel
another die hard
Yankee fan
shelling out
smiles by the gallon
mixed with love
tinted with
tight one liners
Norman rented them the space
next to the new Chinese joint
in the old
Goulart place
What a pair
New York banter never
reached a higher pitch
than that back room
Mel passed on but Coo
kept the place going
selling colors
sprucing up the town
I’d see him walking
his post office round
I’d yell out
from my truck
Que ca dice
He’d hardly turn
but there’s that smile
that sideways
wise guy grin
never phased
I’s on days

All his family
all his love
all his kids
the friends
the laughs
the love of life
to give without
asking back
what more is there
than that
I’s on days my friend
I’s on days