Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Shaw Street Carrot

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the longest carrot ever harvested was in 1934 by Mr. Cosmo Centoscudi from his backyard garden at 221 Shaw Street. The fact that Mr. Centoscudi pulled this carrot out of the ground without breaking is a testament to his love for plants. After the first foot, he called his wife to see and after another six inches, she fetched some neighbors to witness this miracle vegetable.

The carrot was of normal diameter despite its spectacular length. No one suspected a record breaker was about to see the light of day. After two more feet of gentle tugging. Mr. Centoscudi asked for a chair to rest. He held the top so that the carrot wouldn't fall over. He rested a moment and began again, gently working the carrot free, pulling up, turning it, pulling some more, inch by inch.

When the ordeal was finally over, Mr. Centoscudi had to stand on the chair. The final length, as measured by a yardstick and confirmed with a tape measure, was six feet four and one third inches. With the carrot finally in full view, the neighborhood burst into applause. Now that it was out of the ground, what to do with this miraculous carrot?

Some of the neighborhood boys, Tommy Archidi, Vinnie Morelli, Pepe Vesuvio and Johnny Cassata, carried it down to Cavella's Market. Each boy supported a bit of the carrot's length, again being very careful not to break it or drop it. Mr. Centoscudi watched them very closely during the four-block walk and people came out of their houses to see what all the hubbub was about. At Cavella's, the carrot was sliced into very long strips, 6'4 1/3 " strips to be precise. These strips of carrot were placed in a very long salami and provlone sandwich.

The boys then carried the sandwich back to 221 Shaw Street, again with Mr. Centoscudi supervising. Mrs. Centoscudi had laid out a table and old Mr. Vesuvio had brought over a few jugs of wine. The neighborhood had a feast and talked about that carrot for years.

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