I’m madder than Portnoy when he has nothing to complain about over the fact that I had such good time hanging out with my old buddies at my goomba Cookie’s 75th birthday, that I’ve got nothing to grouse about this week.
That’s right, I said it! I’m happy as a clam (even if I don’t understand that expression)!
Look, you all know that Cookie was the best man at my wedding — as I was at his. And I’ve told you before that he was my son’s godfather and I was his daughter’s (What can I say? It’s an Italian reciprocal thing.)
And you probably already know the backstory between me and my best buddy, but let me recount it again for all my new readers from across the world that are reading this without getting ink on their hands.
Cookie and I first met when we were at PS 130 in Manhattan, where we starred in a class play together.
And that’s it, end of story.
So, 67 years later we celebrated his 75th Birthday at Jimmy Hayes Steak House in Island Park on Strong Island.
Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll sat it again: nobody throws a 75th birthday party like Cookie’s lovely wife Johanna and his two daughters, Lisa and Eve.
The best part about it was they got the old gang together: Carmello, Susan, Paulie, Camille, Tommy, Lana — all the buddies that have kept in touch since we all lived in Little Italy.
And boy, have we moved on since those days in Manhattan.
Johanna and Cookie have settled in Florida; Tommy and Lana live in Pearl River; Paulie and Camille live in Ridgewood, New Jersey; Carmello and Susan have a home out in Merrick and Florida. But thanks to this supertechnology called “e-mail,” we are in constant touch daily — and we don’t even have to lick a stamp!
But I digress.
Look, I don’t need to tell you that this is the only time of year that me and Cookie are the same age. But I will anyway, because if I don’t, you might miss it. It only last three weeks, and after that, I become a year older.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you’re bad at math, but I’ll tell you this: The Screecher turns 76 on V-J Day, and I expect many birthday wishes sent to my e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. And I don’t need to remind you that you don’t have to lick a stamp to do it.
But I digress. Again. I tend to do that.
Oh, and by the way, this year isn’t just Cookie’s 75th birthday, but also Paulie and Camille’s 50th Anniversary, which we’ll celebrate with a black-tie affair on Sept. 10.
But let’s get to Cookie’s 75th birthday. It was held at the same great restaurant that Lisa and Frank were married at last year, so my mouth was salivating when I thought about tackling that filet mignon I remember so fondly.
Oh, I forgot to tell you: Lisa and Eve asked me to bring back a Capozzelli (lambs head with the eye intact) served during Caesars’ Night at Villa Roma. Cookie loved to eat them at the table, gobbling up its eye while everyone shrieked in horror. The Cappozelli was gift wrapped — and opened after the birthday cake was served, so no one would lose their appetite.
There were a lot of great things about this party — family and friends, delicious food, beautiful ambience in the party room — but the crème de la crème was having a vocalist sing Frank Sinatra favorites for four hours during the party. It was a classy touch because we all grew up listening to the “Chairman of the Board,” and every hit brought back memories from our dating and mating days.
Ah, it was a great 75th Birthday party and it was great seeing the old gang again. And the amazing thing is that even though we don’t see each other for months at a time, we continue with the conversations the next time we meet. To Camille and Paulie, and to my goomba Cookie, auguri di cento anni.
Now’s the point in my column where a throw in an inside joke that only my buddies will understand: Camille, get out of the car!
Screech at you next week!