My grandmother's home smelled like fresh garlic roasting in olive oil. And she always had a pot of water bubbling on the stove ready to cook her homemade macaroni when we arrived for a feast. Never had I been so excited for one of her meals than in the spring of 2001. My son Cade was a toddler and he was just beginning to eat all kinds of new foods. In my family, Grandma's Italian cooking was a rite of passage, a kind of baptism by ground beef. Her homemade meatballs, the stuff of culinary legend, were on the menu that Easter Sunday. When I close my eyes, I can still see the vast spread of food on the table. There were two big bowls, each filled with homemade pasta and meat sauce. At one end of the table was a platter of eggplant Parmesan. At the other was a platter of braised lamb in a rich gravy. We whipped through grace and dug in with glee. Forks screeched against spoons as we wound big wads of spaghetti laden with sauce. So engrossed were we in our pasta paradise that no one was watching Cade - until he gurgled up a big, satisfied burp. We all turned towards the old wooden highchair in unison. There he sat with red sauce smeared across his face. Both of his hands were full of mashed meatball. He was rocking back and forth in excitement, eyes wide, stuffing his mouth as fast as he could with meatball. We all roared with laughter.
Then, in the blink of an eye, that moment was gone. Cade is 15 now. Grandma has been gone for years. We miss her a lot. Her meatballs are still legendary. How quickly moments turn to memories. When my grandparents were first married, they counted their pennies carefully like most immigrants. Buying a big mahogany dining room set might have felt like irresponsible spending to a young couple. But four generations of family celebrated every holiday at that table. I'd argue that it was the best investment they ever made. Easter is April 5th, just two weeks away. Passover begins on Friday, April 3. So buy that big dining room set and make some family memories. You'll never regret it.
Timberland boots. My son had to have them when he turned 13 in March. That's what all the adolescent boys are wearing these days, and he wants to be one of the guys. I remember being 13. I desperately wanted Converse sneakers with red and blue laces for my birthday. Thank God my parents listened. Those sneakers let me run with the pack - and probably saved me years of therapy. The "Tims" gave my wife and me the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with our son. We told him it isn't a bad thing to be part of the crowd, but there's a time to stand out and have the courage to be your best unique self. We just installed beautiful blue awnings on our showroom in Hanover. We want to grab the attention of passers-by because we're confident we'll wow you with our products and our people. Standing out is scary. Just ask my wife Diana, an interior designer. Many of her clients are terrified to make even the simplest decorating decisions. "What color do you like?" she asks when she starts a project. Some clients stutter and stammer as if she asked them to name their favorite child. This isn't a trick question. Even my five-year-old can answer it. But somewhere along the way in life, many lose the ability to say what we really like. Sometimes, Diana comes home from a job in a bit of a funk. "I wish they would relax," she says. "They're worrying too much about what other people think." This week, I visited our Plymouth store to mark down some items that have lingered too long in the showroom. There's an awesome fire-engine-red contemporary dining room table in great condition for $404. I thought it would fly out of the store when we first got it. I thought a designer would scoop it up for a client whose taste leans toward the funky and cool. Wrong. Where is your sense of adventure, people? Have some fun with your home. Be different. Look at it this way: furniture is less expensive and less permanent than a tattoo. And you're getting a great discount when you shop at Furniture Consignment Gallery. So give your home a personality-yours! - and stop by one of our three stores this weekend. We've got classic and we've got quirky. Relax and enjoy.