“Ricky, we gotta bad-a neighbor! Genti tinti, tinti, tinti! (bad, bad, bad people!) You canna no trust-a nobody!”
Rick and I had just arrived at my parents’ house for a visit. They were obviously traumatized by some tinti tinti tinti neighbors, but we had no idea what had happened, so we listened eagerly as my mom and dad spoke over each other.
“The door bell ring-a and your sister Toni she runn-a go get the door! And she find-a the POLICE-A! The POLICE-A, che cazzu (sorry, folks, I am NOT translating that one)!! The POLICE-A, he wanna see your daddy!”
“The police came for you, dad? Why?” It was unbelievable!
Now, all three of them were talking at the same time, mom-dad-toni. It was hard to make out what happened! Rick and I were still trying to figure things out.
So dad went to the door and looked the police straight in the eye and said nothing. (This is Sicilian style “inaction-action“!) He re-enacted the scene for us, so we knew exactly how he looked the guy in the eye!
The police spoke first. “Well, I’ll get straight to the point. Mr. Gallo? I’ve gotten a complaint that you’re trapping rabbits.”
Readers, please hang on! Try to understand my dad was born in Sicily in 1922, in a world where rabbit meat is a delicacy, where serving coniglio alla cacciatore (roasted rabbit) would be enough to win your future in-laws’ hearts, not to mention your fiance’s!
After some time, my dad asked the policeman, “It’s against the law catch-a-rabbit? Yes o No?”
“Actually, no. No, it isn’t against the law here in Indiana, but your neighbors made the complaint. You see, they are very upset because their children have seen you trap rabbits in your back yard.”
“OK, I make-a sure they no complain-a no more. Hey, Mr. POLICE-A, who call-a you?”
“I’m not at liberty to tell you, sir.”
“OK, I see. It go be nice si I know so I hide the trap from the house. But I understand you canna no tell.”
Mom and dad spent the day speculating on which evil neighbor had called the POLICE. They suspected it must have been the neighbors who live in the house with the high deck because they had a bird’s eye view of Dad’s garden where he set the traps. Mom and dad could never be sure who had made the complaint, so they decided that ALL the neighbors within view of the garden were gente tinti tinti tinti (bad bad bad people, the kind who tattle on their neighbors) and not to be trusted!
A year later, my dad was in the hospital undergoing a by-pass open heart surgery and Rick was worried my dad wouldn’t pull through. He wanted to remember my dad, so one day, while everyone was at the hospital, Rick took his notebook and a chair and sat by the entrance of my dad’s garden, meditating on his father-in-law, hoping he’d pull through, when he noticed a gap in the fence enclosing the garden! It dawned on Rick how clever a rabbit-catcher my dad was. He had sealed the garden well, but left one clever hole for the rabbits to enter his garden of delights. And just inside the hole was a well hidden trap waiting for the unsuspecting rabbit.
Thankfully, I don’t have any photos of the traps or of the gap the master trapper carefully left in the garden enclosure. Let’s just say that my dad was THE Master Trapper and he left me this story to share!