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August 2, 2012

Why Can’t We All Get Along?

Giacomo & Slick

Wrongful Thoughts

Have you ever had one of those thoughts where you judge somebody before you get to know them? Maybe because of their skin color, sexual persuasion, the way they dress or where they live—or their religion?

On any given day you can search the news and find horrible stories of prejudice, hate crimes, and religious strife. It’s a sad thing, but it happens all the time, and it happens way too often.

I was raised in a neighborhood that was primarily Catholic—almost exclusively Catholic. The Catholic school and church sat at the top of the hill and towered over the whole neighborhood. No matter where you were, even in an alley on the farthest street, you could see the church steeple, and you could definitely hear the bells when they rang. And those bells always seemed to ring as we considered doing something wrong. In hindsight I wonder if that was coincidence or not.

Circle of Friends

Everybody I knew was Catholic—except my mother. We were raised Catholic though, and I was even an altar boy for four years. But every Sunday my mother went to worship in her Methodist church. In the fifty plus years I knew that woman she never once said a single bad thing about Catholics, or for that matter, never said anything bad about anyone.

Some of her views on religion and life must have rubbed off. I married an Episcopalian, and we have three kids: one agnostic, one who converted to Judaism, and my youngest follows the teachings of Buddha. So at family get togethers, we have five different religious persuasions—but never once is there an argument about religion. There isn’t even a discussion about religion.

So What’s the Secret?

I’ve given this a lot of thought. We don’t avoid discussing religion. There’s no house rule, or agreement. The subject simply doesn’t come up. Maybe because we’re too busy eating. And now that I think about it, we are usually eating lasagna. So, using logic taught to me by the wise nuns at St. Elizabeth’s, I’ll attribute our fortune to the lasagna.

I don’t know if this constitutes scientific observation, but if all it takes is a few billion plates of lasagna to settle the problems in this world, I say we get busy. My wife can’t make it all, but I’m sure she’d do her share.

What Do We Do Now?

While we’re waiting on all this lasagna to be made, let’s all try to do our part. The next time you have one of those thoughts—you know the ones I mean—think of eating a plate of lasagna, with garlic bread on the side, and some cannoli or sfogliatelle to top off the night. If that doesn’t settle your thoughts…I’m afraid they’re isn’t much hope for you. I’ll leave you with this thought:

Would you rather have this:


Picture of warfare, bombs exploding


Or this?


Mikki's lasagna

Mamma’s famous lasagna


In conclusion:


I know life isn’t that simple, and I don’t expect to solve the problems we have with this silly post, but…wouldn’t it be nice if just one person—one—thought about this and said to themselves…

“I’m not going to think that way today.”


Ciao, and thanks for listening,




For those of you wondering whether Mikki’s lasagna is really that good—why else would I have kept her around for 43 years?



Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of Murder Takes Time, and A Bullet For Carlos. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 41 loving “friends.”

9 Responses to “Why Can’t We All Get Along?”

  1. Jim,
    Another great article,coming from a large family myself. You could always can’t on one thing that would bring us all together “FOOD”. Would be more than willing to lend a hand in the kitchen.

  2. You’re right. Food does it. Nobody wants to bother arguing if there’s a plate of lasagna waiting.

  3. That’s a heck of a lasagna! How big an army were you feeding?!

    PS Do you still have Slick?

  4. Maria, that’s Mikki’s standard fare for lasagna. Even if it starts out with just a few of us, once people ‘hear’ Mikki made lasagna, they come out of the woodwork.

    As to Slick…he’s gone. He died of a rare disease at 3 years old. It has been 7 years and i still find it difficult to talk about. He was my favorite dog of all time. I have tried writing a blog post about him and can’t. Maybe someday I’ll tell his story.

  5. I think your Slick was my Chelly. Best dog ever and my truest friend. She’s the puppy that’s in my author photo.

    Chelly lived a long and happy life, but even after four years, I still miss her terribly.

    I’m so sorry to hear about Slick. I empathize completely. He must’ve been one heck of a dog–and a lucky one to have found you.

  6. Now where can I get lasagna pan that big! Oh my! I would stop fighting with anyone who made that for me. Now the big Q: does Mikki make her own gravy? 🙂

  7. Absolutely, Donna. She learned it by my father’s side when we were first married. And she is amazing, in that she copied everything he did to perfection for the old recipes, then she brought along a lot of her own creations too.

  8. Brother Tim told me to check out this story. Great job Jimmy.
    By the way, our Mom was also not a Catholic but of course raised us that way.
    Right before she passed away this February, at the age of 83, she asked to receive her sacraments and died a Catholic

  9. I never knew that she wasn’t Catholic. It just seemed like everybody in the neighborhood was. I think Brenda had mentioned to me your mother passed away; I was sorry to hear that. It’s tough when we start getting older and lose the loved ones.

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