Tourists Return to PJ – Piadas and An Epic Work Day with My Mom

Good Weather Means Good Business in Port Jeff I knew the tourists are back in  town after I almost ran over a horde of them casually conversing in the middle of main street.  Some commuters driven insane from trying to decipher too many  vanity plates might’ve  broke into a fiery wreck of expletives at such a hold up.  Yet for me, as I saw another group of  visitors walked by, some older ladies skating on their scooters,  loping teens attempting to flirt and  young mothers rolling their blubbery babies… instead of seeing a PJ human obstacle course, I saw the glorious end of winter.

And I laughed like Darth Vader inside his brand new Death Star.

And those lovely older ladies, noticing my psychotic joy, scooted away in fear!

This reawakening of humanity in Port also means the end, however, of my favorite weekly activity during the winter lull: working Sundays by myself. A day once devoted to practicing my aerial kung fu moves, the gorgeous weather these last few weekends has sadly forced me to set aside the boo staff I carved from our broom to train a new employee in the lesser known martial art of piada wrapping.

Mother and Daughter at Eat Piada in Port Jeff

Mother and Daughter at Eat Piada in Port Jeff

Luckily for me, this newbie is my mom, and spinning a broom over my head once in a while won’t scare her off.

After raising me through those goth years when I’d ask for duct tape and cardboard in my Easter basket to make weapons, few things really do scare my mom nowadays.  On that summery Sunday a few weeks back, though, the busiest one we’ve had since the Dicken’s Festival in December and her second day of working at the joint, I saw a new sheen of gray streak through my mom’s hair and a few wayward whiskers sprout from her chin.

“Rach, I have no idea what I’m doing,” she mumbled, a spoon in hand and a smudge of tomato sauce on her cheek.

“I know,” I said then tossed a bag of wraps at her face. ”And I love you.”

In between the credit card machine shutting down and a woman asking for tuna salad without the tuna and a meteor carrying an alien emo band crashing through our ceiling and Justin Bieber breaking up with America, that love kept me from diving into our freezer with a final carton of ice cream.

Rolling a Piada Requires Practice

Rolling a Piada Requires Practice!

The customers kept coming, and I kept telling my mom I loved her while giving her a frantic guide to wrapping (“Just roll it up like a kid in a carpet!” became our motto). Eventually, the night grew colder and calmer. Our last customers left for their own homes, allowing us a much needed minute to hug and weep for joy at our survival.  And in that moment, despite any complaints of cold hot chocolate or eggplant explosions, we were conquerors of the wrapping world.

That night, we feasted on pizza and extra cheesy fries with our feet up on the coffee table.

“Do you love me, mommy?” I asked, pulling on a strand of cheese.

She nodded and said, “Yes. Now massage my feet.”

And with all the love in my heart and strength left in my bones, I ran upstairs to bed.

eat Piada- 104 Main Street, Port Jefferson NY - 631-509-5759