Written by John McElligott
Starting as soon as I can remember, every summer mother would fly me, Bruce and Tom up to NJ to our family farm. This was not a vacation because when you went to our very large farm, you had to work. My grandfather Giovanni Leone from Leone, Sicily (named after our family) was up at 5am and went to bed at 7 pm after drinking a glass of Sicilian wine sent by the gallon from his family in Sicily. At his age and having 10 kids he now had his own bedroom and my grandmother, Carmella, had her own bedroom. To this day I can’t figure out why they slept apart. Well to this day I can’t figure out how they had 10 kids! So I remember sneaking a glass of his wine, and slept for 28 hrs. and pissed in the bed. BTW…Also, I figured out the kid thing, too, after I grew up…. my 5 kids popped out without trying.
Now down to the story.
At the ripe old age of 8 my uncle asked me if I would ride to the grocery store with him and grandma. Being one who never says no, I went. My uncle asked if I would push the grocery cart and I said sure! Well little did I know that was starting something that I do to this day.
To start with I could not see over the hand bar and my Grandma never turned around to see why I kept hitting her in the butt. Well I was short and the very next year I asked to go back and did not hit her buttocks even on the sharp turns. Well I was hooked and driving the shopping cart once or twice a summer beat the hell our of picking eggs in coops filled with chicken shit and mean Roosters that did not like a little short kid who would run from them. So I became the man at the grocery store whe ever I was on the farm.
Funny thing was my grandmother would stroll in and someone would get a cart. Before me it was one of her kids but in the summer it was me. Well she never looked back at me even once from the time I got taller and quite hitting her in the butt. One other thing I noticed when I got taller she would eat the stores peaches the entire time she shopped. She never did the check out, her son’s would do the honors. I did notice that she never paid for the peaches. My uncles said they now know she did not speak English and she was their biggest customer by far with her large family and now grand kids. Well after two summers of growing a foot I was like a race car driver that never had a wreck for the 7 years. She was a hoot and always called me Giovanni since I was named after her husband, my grandfather.
Well finally I am a parent and now a grandparent and guess what… I still push the cart. I insist that is what I do and love it. Can I shop by myself? No!! But, I can still push the cart and love every minute of it. No eating peaches by the women I follow now, so I just follow the wiggly butts and never miss a turn or check out station. To this day its my only addiction besides helping people.