Patching the Bean Patch…

A Saturday on the cusp of May & June and during a long holiday weekend for Italy’s 4th of July… La Festa della Repubblica! For a lucky few, like Dr. You, it means five days of working around the house, in the garden or, how about in the bean patch? Gads. 20150530_083514_resized

 

You and the weather…

20150525_170958_resized_120150525_170641_resized_120150525_170627_resized_120150525_170947_resized_1 20150525_170858_resized_1Yes, it’s been a good season for flowers this year. It sure has. Best yet in the 6 years we’ve been at Il Poggiolo. I ought not complain. But the Weather gives me so much to complain about. It’s hard not to. We are on a schedule of 1 day of sun… sort-of/maybe/kind-of… to 6 of clouds and cold. Yes, cold. This past Saturday, I had to turn-on the electronic kerosene heater to take the chill out of the air in the salotto of La Casa Grande.

20150525_171015_resized_1The Dogs & I are camping there. Dog Central, as You calls it. I think You is embarrassed by this. I don’t know why. Well, I do but it’s embarrassing to write. Shhh… You’s a bit con-ven-tion-al. A flaw. Rarely does he see my bed un-made. However, he did the weekend of his birthday. He let out that typical Italian male grunt of disapproval. It’s a combo of a deep-throated thump and a basso-profundo growl. Unpleasant, to say the least. But then, that’s the point, ain’t it? Behaviour-mod all’italiana. Doesn’t work. It only make him appear stupid. Dogs snicker? Yes, they do. Naturally, I cover for them by being Bright and Cheerful. The Dogs and I steadfastly remain in our respective posti nel salotto regardless of any thumping growls. Those two D’s in their commandeered flea-market wing-backs sleeping or licking their chops and me stretched-out and under the covers on one of the sofa beds reading My Book.

Like the sun, You is hardly around at Il Poggiolo. We get him for one weekend out of every month. There are these darn updates seminars the Italian Health Ministry… a joke. The HM issues only paper-work and not issues of health… obligates You to attend them. He can’t ditch either. There’s a test at the end and if he passes, the HM gives him a Gold * for each and every passing grade at Review Time. When it is an off-weekend, he comes to Il Poggiolo, runs us ragged for 36 hours and then leaves. Much like the crappy weather… it comes, spits rain and then the rain leaves us to shiver with the clouds and in the cold. I need to give some attention to the flowers. How can I when one or the other impedes my task? Gads.

Bean Patch anew…

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Minding my own business last Wednesday afternoon… straw hat on to fend off a searing sole, head down to watch-out for any unfortunate encounters thanks to the new canine imports of late deeming it appropriate to leave solid waste donations where folk tread on the Medieval bridge of Codiponte, and biting the inside my lip worrying about how I could get everything done & finished before the Great Celebrations of the following Thursday, Friday and Saturday too. What gave? You’s 57th Birthday is what!!! Seems like just yesterday he was a spritely 40 when I met him in Firenze… I happened to look up while swatting at an annoying buzzing bug, when I saw a tractor making tracks down on the ol’ Bean Patch. Land o’goshen!!! I had been forewarned by Our Little Bean Man, Tonino, of this imminent occurrence but still, I was taken by surprise. Means his Codiponte Bean Patch Architecture is about to get truly started. Yeah!!! Lot of brown. Lots of furrows. Less rocks and stuff. Nothing beats Ma’ Earth prepped and ready to go. Gads.

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Giro d’Italia…

Such excitement…

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the famous Italian bike race, il Giro d’Italia, which courses up and down and around the entire Italian peninsula past through Codiponte this very afternoon in May. All roads were closed. Waiting for the 150 odd contestants to fly by made me think that the exercise is really just boys with their toys: policemen in cars, policemen on motorcycles, policemen in vans followed by guys in cars, guys on motorcycles, guys in vans. The only women were from the Protezione Civile armed with walkie-talkies, dreadful yellow day-glo outfits and bad tint-jobs. Finally, guys on bikes WHOOSHED by and in this heat too. Like the lunar & solar eclipses, one can’t say when this event will happen again in our fair village. To mark the occasion, I enjoyed a cold brew chased with potato-chips and fiddled with my smart phone to document the following photos… gads…

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Campanile’s sad rings…

IMG_2641A sad topic but a frequent one these days in Codiponte…

to mark a death, the campanile of Codiponte’s pieve… or, parochial church… tolls the sad announcement of the deceased. One death knell is for women. Another for men. Both are instantly recognizable. You know. The village and hills of olive & chestnut groves are arrested by the campanile’s solemn and measured clangs to one last whispered ring. A melancholic descent. Rattles your spirit and mood like nothing else can.

Last year, we suffered the sudden loss of Our Neighbor Below, Gigliana. One day she was throwing bread out her window to The Waiting & Enthusiatic Dogs and the next we were walking behind her funeral wagon on the way to the cemetery. This fine and delightfully ornery woman was a friend, a protectress, our guide to Codiponte commanded from her constant perch in the warmth or cool of her kitchen. No more.

More recently, Codiponte’s pixie of bestowing a warm smile, a good word and sunny optimism to everyone she met in her daily peregrinations to put flowers on her husband’s grave, buy milk and chat-up at the Scuzzy Bar, Our Emma, passed away unexpectedly at the beginning of April. I left for the US before her funeral. No chance to give her my good-bye. And… no more meeting Emma on the Medieval bridge with the Dogs eagerly sniffing her grocery sack. No more coming upon Emma as her 94+ year old legs uncertainly keep her aloft to put a bouquet of flowers at the Madonnina above il Poggiolo. No more seeing Emma sitting at an outside bar table, probably cluttered with ashtrays full of cigarette butts and disgusting bar trash, but no matter, as I tootle by in the FIAT, top down. No more. No more.

I came back from the US and was told over a caffe’ by Our Neighbor and inducted Dog-sitter of another Codiponte personality, Varaldo, in hospital seriously ill. An un-operable embolism. Doctors attempted to dissolve the menace. The situation turned encouraging so, he was sent home. A day later, he was incoherent and incapacitated. Codiponte’s marvelous volunteer ambulance service transported Varaldo back to the big hospital in Massa. And there, he passed away. An abrupt shock to the villager’s existential systems. Quickly, no more of Varaldo… his constant comings & goings with tractor and machinery. No more Varaldo spotting me out with The Dogs… yes, a perennial occurrence with one and all here… coming over to kid me with some cazzo-boo-boo of a joke delivered with his operatic voice booming. No more Varaldo bestowing gifts of gloves or ingenius tools for conquering weeds. No more. No more. No more.

All deaths are keenly felt. These of Codiponte keener still. Worse than the tremors of an earthquake. Codiponte is a personality. It needs folk to make it complete. And, Italians like numbers too. More the merrier. The numbers are dwindling here. The loss of one deadens the whole. Desperately sad to live these losses. Sadder still to feel to be missing parts… parts of myself. Those I happen to like… a ready smile when seeing a friend, like Emma… the booming voice to tell a ridiculous story, like Varaldo… and the love of wasting a hot afternoon chatting away over caffe’, like Gigliana. No more. No more. No more. No more.

Hard to take. Especially so, when optimism had seemed to have been a Winner. But then, that must be Life. Gads.