Sunday, June 22, 2014

Che Bella...Puglia, Famiglia

Last night, surrounded by lemon trees, the dusk snuggling in comfortably around us, we pulled white plastic chairs over a stone terrace to a long collection of white plastic tables, the ten of us claiming only a small portion of the pizzeria's plaza that stretched over many levels, around many corners, all united by a tenting of festive lights.

We ordered a constellation of pizzas from a menu whose ingredients we could recognize the pomodoro, the fromaggio, the polpo, the funghi, the melanzana. We didn't order the Hello Kitty pizza, Little Girl having enjoyed it enough at lunch, but finding it a bit too "weird" to order again.

Pater got teased by our server, identified as an Italian by Origin, to much laughter from the table. Still, he procured for us two good jugs of the house red wine, three bottles of water, and enough pizzas to barely leave room for our espressos and the two servings of tiramisu we couldn't resist ordering.

I took the jet-lagged, clearly-exhausted-but-determined-to-keep-up Harriet from her equally jet-lagged momma, and firmly tucked her against my shoulder, pushing her little head back into the nestling spot whenever she tried to check the action. Swaddling her in my oversize cotton scarf, I left the table, walking around the darkening plaza jiggling Harriet just enough. She stilled gradually, quite quickly; her breathing changed even as she dampened my chest with her sweet baby sweat. Out, out like a light, her head gradually falling back on that delicate, flexible neck, her mouth falling slightly open, slack, her red curls plastered sweat-wet to her forehead...

Pater raised a glass to toast my had they left us the small pot of money we dipped into so as to gather here together? Each among the youngest of ten, they raised their own large family, a decimal tendency I didn't follow, raising only four...and yet somehow we were ten around the table. Fitting somehow, although I do wish our missing 2 and 3/4 could have been with us....

But imagine, raising 10, starting from almost nothing, and then leaving a financial legacy to their their grandchildren and great-grands, less important than the memories we have of them, but still... Sending us across continent, ocean, countries...Planes, trains, automobiles on narrow twisting roads along a hilly coast...

We are spread out in three different apartments, perhaps five minutes' walk apart, Paul and I on our own with the views above and just below. We spent today up and down the hill to the beach, under our rented umbrella. I had a long,luscious nap, the shutters all closed against the intense afternoon sun. We've just come back from one last swim before dinner, and in a few minutes will he'd to the biggest apartment where the highest percentage of the family's chefs are currently preparing our evening meal. . .

Below, a scene from last night, at the apartment my son and his wife are in, built right up to , into, on, the edge of a steep, steep drop-off. Crazy view, no?

We are in the only apartment with no Wifi at all...I should probably take this as a message and a opportunity, but instead, I've composed this post in bits and pieces over the day, and I'll try to send it from the House of Our Many Cooks. . .buona Serra...



  1. Oh, what a beautiful post - and what a beautiful country. There's something about Italy that is unreproduceable anywhere else in the world. I wish you a most wonderful time, as a tribute to your parents, and as the reward for your many years of hard work and parenting. xo

  2. Such a beautiful post, such a beautiful evening, such a beautiful happening. Could it get any better?

  3. I really enjoyed this post. Happy?

  4. It all sounds delectable. Enjoy this beautiful time with your family. (And those views too...stunning!!)

  5. So beautiful. There's nothing like the weight of a sleeping baby against one's chest - such a sweet heaviness.

  6. A balmy evening in Italy, pizza, wine and family, what wonderful memories you are creating.
    I wonder if the family aspect was what made the waiter think of Italian heritage?

  7. Absolutely magical, and such a loving tribute to your parents.

  8. Bliss. White walls, blue sky and sea and bright sun. And all the loved ones.

  9. Beautiful. This is what holidays are all about. I had to chuckle when you said your villa was the only one without wifi...and yet here's your post:). xo


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