Nicholas Louis Caruso
February 9, 01916 – February 15, 01995
The Nick—my first kindred love from another place and time—who learned to cook by the Greeks and was their go between with the Jews to order meats because theirs was the best, who taught me to respect the Mexicans because they’re a lot like us, to forgive the Irish because they didn’t know any better, who taught me that Black folks are Americans like the rest of us and deserve to Live it too, who warned me to keep an eye on the Russians and Chinese, and who told me “you never call it ‘Frisco.”
The Nick—who kept me in fresh fruits until I never went blue in the face, who placed some winning bets on the ponies I picked by the colours of their silks, who taught me an appreciation for cafeteria food, the importance of wearing a tea shirt under shirts even and especially in hot weather, who shared a love for the white flakes that fall on the slopes, who let me drive well before I could see over the steering wheel and reach the gas pedal,—making the road to 16 long and slow; thank dogness for those years—who instilled the values of good works done and a decent and honest life, that a “nice cup of tea” and a few saltines can do much for the heart, and who made an apple pie fit only for adults.
The Nick—who taught me to have no fear in the face of it.
The Nick—who returns with his war buddies for a game of cards when the Yankees win the Series. He’ll meet us on the platform by the paper stand to take the A train.