Saturday, July 17, 2010

Maybe it's the mention of the Dropkick Murphy's and Flogging Molly that raised the remembrance. I don't know if the Flogging Molly band is from Boston or not. Or, maybe it's that I'm watching "The Departed," which begins its story in Boston. Or, maybe it's just because I'm drinking tea this morning. For whatever reason, I'm thinking of Mrs. Cardullo.

Cardullo's store, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Cardullo, sits near the newspaper stand in Harvard Square. Frank Cardullo, 3rd generation, was my tea supplier when I served as Cellarer during my monk years at The Society of St. John Evangelist.

"I can get you tea cheaper than anyone else in Boston. Just don't ask me how," stated the younger Cardullo, who was near to me in age. I stocked our cellar with tea and didn't ask.

What I am remembering today is those classic checkout times when I went to pay Mrs. Cardullo.

"God bless you, brother," Mrs. Cardullo would say. Then she would scoop up a generous handful of hard candy, drop the candies into the bag and say, "You brothers say a prayer for me." I was younger then, about 24 or so, and think that I did not realize what a role in long-standing tradition I was playing, the monk being asked to remember to God the local Italian grocer.

That tradition is certainly long-lived enough in itself. But, an Italian, Catholic mother giving a junior monk candy in exchange for possible redemption...? It might not get any more traditional than that.

No comments: