The Italians Loved “A Time”

Time is a word with many definitions.

Webster’s Dictionary defines it as the duration in which things happen in the past, present or future; a system of measuring the passing hours; the period between two events; a period of history; or a period worked. We sometimes convey its relativity by using words like: mean time; apparent time; Greenwich Time. And Einstein, who confused all of us about time, won a Nobel Prize for it.

But in our heritage, time is altogether something different, understood though almost indefinable. This conversation may help you understand:
“In school they told us drinking is bad. Do you drink Dad?”
“Drink? Me? Nooooooooooo. Well, I might have a beer if I’m at a “Time.”

“A “Time?” What’s that?”
“A “Time,” You know. Where people get together to honor you and you eat and you drink.”
“Oh. We have a “Time” every Sunday at Grandma’s.”
“No, not that kind of a time. I mean a real “Time” with lots, really lots, of people. And they talk about you, and hug you, and kiss you. And they drink and eat a lot. And then you can say they gave you a “Time.” And they say, “What a “Time” it was!” Now do you understand?” “Nope.”

“A Time”

“Try this. A “Time” is like what happens after someone graduates, has an anniversary, or gets married. They give him a “Time.” It’s an honor thing. Like this one, this Communion thing for you.”

“Oh. Now I think I understand. People come for you. They dress up, eat, drink, talk around and sometimes they’re just there.”
“Yeah, and they leave a gift, like a Cross Pen and Pencil set. Or soap on a rope. Or rosary beads.”

“Yeah, I like that. So you can have a “Time” any time, right?”
“Well almost but not really. You have to do something, like get your First Communion or die.”
“Like when Uncle Bart died?”
“Right! And then after the funeral people say, “We went to the 1025! Oye, what a “Time” they put on. Not just a breakfast; a full meal! It was a “Time!” Or, when we went to Cousin Frankie’s new house with the finished basement, and we said “Wow what a “Time” we could have down here.”
“OK. And the “Time” is at a special time of day, right?”

And the timing for the “Time” has to be timed for you and what you did, right?”
And you just can’t have a “Time” any old time, right?”
“Right. Now you get it.”
“Yep, now I get it. I am getting dressed. Let’s go to the “Time.”

“You’re timing is perfect.”
“Thanks. Wait. One other thing. I’ll bet they gave Einstein quite a “Time” when he discovered that stuff about time.”
“Right again.”

“Then let’s go. We’re off to a “Time.”

© 2018

By | 2018-10-04T21:37:37+00:00 October 8th, 2018|Humor|30 Comments


  1. Elaine Laurenzo October 8, 2018 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Another interesting and witty article, Dr.
    I had a fun “time” reading it and

  2. Elaine Laurenzo October 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Another interesting and witty article, Dr.

    I had fun reading it and reminiscing.

    • Ed October 8, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Elaine

  3. Marlaine October 8, 2018 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    I remember my grandmother and my husband’s mother describing special events as “times.” This article brings their voices to my memory as I can almost hear their descriptions. Lovely walk down memory lane for me. Thank you, Doctor.

    • Ed October 8, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      Pleased I brought you back. Now it’s time for a ‘Time’

  4. Joe CARNE October 8, 2018 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Have a good TIME, EDITH

  5. Vin DiBiasio October 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    When I heard of a “Time” back in the 1950’s it usually was for a politician running for office.

    • Ed October 8, 2018 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Sure, if they served lots of food and passed out free buttons. THAT was a ‘Time’. Different genre, but a’Time’ indeed.

  6. Peter Voccio JR October 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm - Reply


    A time, 2004 my 50th class reunion held at the Pawtucket Country Club with over 200 hundred attendees was a time I shall never forget. Classmates, some that I went to Grammar, Junior High and on to High School and met other classmates that attended different schools to form a big melting pot. Adults now, capturing our past and holding on to it for the evening. Never wanting to let it go. (Precious)

    • Ed October 8, 2018 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      Now you get it. THAT was a TIME

  7. Tony Lucca October 8, 2018 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    I had a great “time” reading this!

    • Ed October 8, 2018 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks. So pleased you did. You should have a ‘Time’

  8. Joan Calise October 8, 2018 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I loved reading this! I can just picture your Dad explaining what A Time means! He sure took the Time to explain it to his curious son!

    • Ed October 8, 2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Joan. I’ll bet you put on more than a few “Times” over the years

  9. Nancy Earle October 8, 2018 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    Did anyone notice the bird up in the left hand corner and how about the time on the clock up in the right hand corner?

    • Ed October 8, 2018 at 10:55 pm - Reply

      Funny, Nance. They show up well in the original picture. The bird is my Dad’s parakeet.
      The time is of no matter when you’re having a “TIME”

  10. Natalie L McKenna October 9, 2018 at 2:35 am - Reply

    I had a great “time” reading about Time. I grinned all the way through it. It brought back many good times and some not -so-good times. One thing is for sure, TIME flies!

    • Ed October 9, 2018 at 11:12 am - Reply

      Indeed it does, Natalie. That’s why we need to record our experiences.

  11. Natalie L McKenna October 9, 2018 at 2:41 am - Reply

    This also reminded me of a great gal, Florence Markoff who years ago had a program on radio entitled “There’s a word for it”. I used to love to listen to her as she explained the origin of the word she was using that broadcast and how it was used in so many ways. She had such a distinctive voice. I have her book and I read it, but it was better listening to her on the radio!

    • Ed October 9, 2018 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Yes, I remember her radio spots. Did she not own a bookstore in Wickford?

  12. Joe Kernan October 9, 2018 at 5:25 am - Reply

    I don’t know if I mentioned this to you before, but growing up in working-class Boston, we also had “times” but they also went by other names: A “Greenback Party” was thrown for someone entering a seminary or a convent to raise money to pay for the fees the church charged to enter seminaries and convents. You got an invitation to Asa Donnelly’s Greenback Party but then someone would ask you, “Are you going to Asa Donnelly’s time?” “No I’m not…he’ll drop out in a week.” Similarly, Christenings, benefits, testimonials and banquets were called “times” on second reference. Small world.

    • Ed October 9, 2018 at 11:14 am - Reply

      Love it, Joe. Funny. You all widened the definition and had fun, I’m sure. Thanks.

  13. Howard Wldon October 9, 2018 at 11:39 am - Reply

    This article brought back many fond memories of amazing fun times at mostly Auntie Carmella’s and other Italian parties, weddings and feasts.
    But just the word time started me thinking about what time meant because time is not a constant and cannot be defined as such. Time is past, present and future. EdWrites is all about time. Sharing memories of past times brings a smile to our face, a warmth to our heart and maybe a little sadness because memories of others are that brought joy are no longer with us
    When we were younger time was endless and we never thought about it and was just interested in having a good time with friends and family. It had no value until where we are at this stage of life. Time is now precious and we want to make the most of it since we have no idea when our time is up. I quit wearing a watch after I stopped working in an office because it was interrupting and dictating my day.
    Time ruled me and I needed that freedom and now just center my attention on using my time wisely. Time is a word we take for granted and use daily but it is also an unknown…… Our Time Is Nearly Up But When? Only Time Will Tell

  14. Natalie L McKenna October 10, 2018 at 2:54 am - Reply

    I don’t know if she owned a book store, but her radio spot was sponsored by the Providence Public Library. I spoke to her via telephone a few times and she was kind enough to send me a cd of one of her broadcasts. She is gone now, but her recordings live on.

  15. Natalie L McKenna October 10, 2018 at 2:56 am - Reply

    I don’t know if she owned a book store, but her radio spot was sponsored by the Providence Public Library.

    • Ed October 10, 2018 at 3:16 am - Reply

      Thanks, Natalie

  16. Mary Ann Sherifan October 10, 2018 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Great time story

    • Ed October 10, 2018 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Mary Ann

  17. Dana DeLuca October 16, 2018 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Just beautiful Dr.Ed…I still have my Cross Pen and pencil set AND my rosary beads and of course
    soap on a rope every Christmas from the same Auntie!
    “The secret to life is enjoying the passage of Time”

    Keep writing…your words inspire me!

    • Ed October 16, 2018 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Thank you, Dana. Yes, why did that aunt always give the same gift every year … Soap-on-a-Rope? Ha, Funny. Yes, I am enjoying the passage of time, trying to capture it in my writing every day. Tante belle cose!

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