Mostly Spring Things

The first laughing gulls showed up yesterday. The egrets and some ospreys rolled in this past week. It seems just about everybody’s back in town with the exception of Mackie. He checked out for good back in ’73, after giving up a sailing career and considering entering the carpentry trades. In 1959, Mack the Knife was everywhere, and he kept coming back to town for a number of years.

Today brings some blustery weather, with Phineas T nowhere to be seen. This is what’s known as typical March weather, but it’s April now. Kite flying was supposed to be great during March, but our old friend, Norman, cared little about the month. Whenever he was teased a bit too much, his standard response was, “Oh, go fly a kite!” I can’t recall anyone actually taking that advice, but that’s not to say it never happened.

I’m not ready for spring and can only hope I’ll be ready for summer. The boat’s still sitting there in shrink wrap, and we just got the bill for the slip and winter storage. That means we’ll have to put it in soon. I hope I feel better this year with the new stents in my arteries, and maybe we’ll catch more than a single bluefish and a cold.

The springs of my youth were so much different, but only better in some ways. I mean, there was that school thing, and I started anticipating the summer ’round about October or so. I miss our ragtag games of baseball, but even if I could still play, where would we get up a game? The goal of builders here is to cover every square inch of vacant ground with homes with no yards to speak of. If a good house already occupies a lot, they knock it down and build a cheap imitation lacking character.

I’m not sure what I expected when I moved back here, but I’m pretty sure it involved better subs, cheesesteaks, and pizza than the current fare. It’s almost as if they saw me coming and decided to close up shop and get out of town. A shame they couldn’t have left a recipe of two with someone else. Two that come to mind are the toasted hoagies at the Gingham Club, and pizza steaks at the Four G’s. And a slice of Mutter’s Pizza, or Joe Mauti’s, would ease the pain.

You know, I see a lot of people raving about Mack’s Pizza and how it’s the best anywhere. Really? They use cheddar cheese! Any good pizza lover, whether Italian or not, knows that mozzarella is the cheese of choice for a pizza. Nice, stringy mozzarella! Mack’s puts the cheese on first, and they squirt on the sauce with a hose. Both Joe Mauti and Ralph Mutter first put a small ladle of olive oil on the crust before adding the sauce. Then it was sliced, not shredded, mozzarella. This seems to be becoming a lost art, and it’s hard now to even find a good crust.

One of the trends these days is thin crust, and they bake them in brick ovens, which are supposed to be hotter than the gas ovens, I guess. The result more resembles a cracker than a pizza crust, or for want of a better word, a matzoh. I guess nobody wants to bother with letting the dough rise before beating it down. They advertise it as thin crust pizza, or brick oven pizza, sometimes both. At Carluccio’s in Northfield, they offer coal-fired pizza, and their version of thin crust is quite different. It has a bit of rise to it, with excellent flavor. Their pizzas are really great, but if you find a parking spot in the cramped lot, it’s even more cramped inside, with people everywhere. The owners are quite pleasant and friendly. It’s worth a trip.

Anyway, I have no idea who or what else will show up for the season, but I’m pretty certain it won’t be too many relatives, unless we stage something spectacular. Our presence is always demanded at one of their venues, as it is tomorrow, for an Easter dinner at my wife’s older sister’s place. Happy Easter!

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