Happy Balm Bumby

I’m a little late posting this so bear with me… I know I’ll have something about Easter soon. When I started this post, I was going to rant about the inequities of being a “folk group” in  a church where the median age of our adult choir is 65 (and that’s being kind!). Then I remembered something I tell others – let your ego go. And be sure that you let everyone see Jesus in you… and that you see Jesus in them. This isn’t about you being heard or not being heard – it’s about praising God. But I digress – or rather – I digressed and this is what you get:

We’re smack dab in the middle of one of my favorite times of the liturgical year. Yesterday was Palm/Passion Sunday and thus, Holy Week began. While Palm Sunday isn’t the exact focus of this post, I remember one particular Palm Sunday. Well, really, I need to go back to Sunday dinners.

The Sunday dinners I remember were elaborate affairs and while I can’t relate too many details, I know that Sunday dinner took a long time to get through. Aunt Irma will say that she can’t imagine how her mom, grandmother or my other grandmother managed to get up at the crack of dawn to make the gravy for the macaroni. Then they would head out to Mass and return to finish the preparations for the meal. The earliest meals I can remember were in South Philadelphia. Sometimes they were at my maternal grandparents’ home. They lived on a big street – So. 23rd Street. Sometimes they were at my paternal grandparents’ home. They lived on a “side” street and on the “other” side. Sometimes dinner was at my great grandmother’s house. Where ever dinner was, there was lots of food and lots of people and therefore, lots of conversation.I don’t remember too many conversations. A lot of times it was in Italian.

I remember saying grace and then the clatter of dishes and utensils would begin as the serving dishes were passed and people began eating.The incredible thing about these meals was that no matter where we went for dinner – Mom’s parents or Dad’s parents, the other side of the family would be invited as well.  It was never a problem, Dad was an only child and mom had one sister who never married.  Even when dinners moved to South Jersey, my aunt would drive both sets of grandparents, and often my great grandmother, to our house for dinner.

So, one Palm Sunday, we were waiting for my aunt and Nanny and PopPop and Nanny and PopPop to arrive for dinner. My dad had purchased a tape recorder – not a reel to reel, not an 8-track, not a cassette. It was a huge boxy thing and I actually have an RCA Sound Cartridge that has my Dad’s writing on it – All talk, Palm Sunday, 1960. He made us each record a Palm Sunday message, the funniest one was my little brother, Mark, saying “Happy Balm Bumby”.

Yeah, those were some good times.I wonder how hard it would be to get that RCA Sound Cartridge converted to CD? 



Filed under Church, Life, Music

8 responses to “Happy Balm Bumby

  1. echmoa

    ohhhh Pegg..I havent been here in soooo long I need to catch up… its early morning now..I will be back !!!!!

  2. thetownnews

    You’re so lucky you were around back when Sunday dinners were over in South Philly. I envy you.
    I only remember the Sunday dinners at our home in NJ. I do remember they were early in the day and took about an hour to get through.
    I remember we were never allowed to leave the yard on Sundays because, PopPop, Nanny, Grandmom and Aunt Irma came over from Philly.
    But, really, my favorite part of Sundays was the meal we had later in the day at dinnertime. We had coldcut sandwiches on Italian bread. And afterwards — well, there were those unbelievably yummy danishes from the Italian bakery in South Philly.
    Mark and I loved those “peanut cakes” so much. I remember we sat next to each other at the table every Sunday evening and peeled the cakes eating the layers from the outside to the cinnamon/sugar/doughy centers.
    It’s a memory I’ll never forget.
    I’ve never tasted a danish as good as that since.

  3. Cool! You could get on The American Life. They love found audio. My favorite holiday audio was one year when dinner was taking forever.

    My Great Aunt said “my stomach feels like my throat’s been cut.”

    The kids (us) all said, “huh?” and “what does that mean?”

    She said, “well, how would you feel if your throat were cut?”


    Then my sister said, “I’d feel dead.”

    We were way to literal.

  4. Oops. Typo. I meant “This” American Life.

  5. The first time I heard that quote that your aunt used was a line from the movie “a Hard Day’s Night”, did ya know? I always took it to mean that they were hungry because if your throat were cut, how would food get to your stomach to fill you up? I remember the line becasue I saw the movie a couple of times – well maybe more than a couple of times because the first few times, we screamed through the whole thing.

  6. It was like Beatle mania the other day when I was in my old high school gym watching Bill Clinton stump for his wife. Two girls fainted right near me. It was exciting. I suspect it was because they were standing for hours with their knees locked out. But still, I liked pretending they swooned like Beatles fans.

    Oh, and yeah, that’s what the throat cut comment means. But we didn’t get it. You know, kids…very literal.

  7. You have awesome memories, Peg! Thanks for sharing them.

    Julie, it’s not just kdis. As I was reading your above dialogue, I stopped at the your aunt’s question to try and answer it correctly myself. My response, “I’d feel weak from the bleeding.”

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