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Well, another Sunday in Scalea.  I woke to another beautiful day from my balcony.  I don’t think you can see the doves (or are they pigeons), but they love these old ruins.  Their cooing takes me back to Paradise Lane as a child.

I managed to get some wash done and hung out before church.  I went back to the same one because people are used to me there.  There was no sideshow this morning.  Mass was almost a half hour late starting but everyone seemed to take it in stride.  I guess they felt lucky in the long run because judging by the congregation reaction, I think the priest stopped almost mid-sentence in his homily.  I think what happened is that somehow he realized the time and that there was a wedding after (judging by conversation and the well-dressed people waiting outside) and that he needed to get the all of his normal “stuff” into the service.  Just a guess, since I can read a lot of the program but I can’t understand a lot of his homily.

My cranky lady was outside her house by the Taverna

Miss Cranky on the left and Mariaucha on the right. We're in Piazza Cimilonga, high in Centro Storico.when I came back from church so I sat and talked with her for a bit. I have such a dang hard time understanding her for some reason. I know there is a lot of local dialect and he must use it because I just can’t recognize a lot of her words.

She’s a hoot, tho. I think she is being nice, she is just very curious about me and can’t get me to answer her questions. When I say, “Non capisco,” she just says it louder with a furrowed brow.*

I walked downtown before lunch to pick up a cell phone.  I found a real deal on the “just add SIM card” variety.  I feel like a teenager whose social life is gravely hampered by the lack of a phone.  No one wants to climb 120 steps to see if I’m home or to ask me to join them downtown.  (This is the English speaking crowd.)  And I can’t really blame them.  They all communicate by text since email isn’t really an option (again the steps) since it is hard to come by in these small towns.

Anyway, just a gorgeous fall day.  I even had a coffee in the Pedonale, a first for me!

I talked with Ally for her birthday and managed to post her slide show.  It made be a bit nostalgic for home.  Twenty-three years ago and I sped up the freeway to hold our first grandbaby within minutes after she was born.  I wanted someone to share it with.

Presto.  I looked over and the  two women  who had sat down me and were surreptitiously watching my laptop.  I turned it toward them and told them about Ally’s birthday.  When I offered to show them the slide show they graciously agreed.  I loved having someone “ooh” and “ahh” over my beautiful family and my wonderful granddaughter.  I thanked them profusely, talked family and Scalea with them for a bit, and forced myself to walk away and let them continue their evening.  The older woman patted my hand as I left.  I must have looked lonely.

Little did I know how quickly I would return the favor.

When I had taken my computer home and  was walking back down the stairway,  I noticed a lady I had met before (she’s the one in the photo with Miss Cranky).  She was doing wash in the sink and asked me to come in, sat me down and wanted to serve me something.  I had just eaten so I accepted a glass of water and admired her bright little house.  I asked her if she lived a lone and she told me her husband had died.

I wish I could aptly describe the next hour.  She was telling me something about her TV set and suddenly jumped up, went to a low drawer and came back with a packet of papers.  I couldn’t figure out why she would be showing me warranty info on her TV but she set that aside and got to the photos.  She never sat down again.

She’s a very small woman. I was seated and she was perhaps a head above me.  She showed me photos of herself as a baby with her parents.  When I commented, she ran to her prayer missal and opened the pages to small portraits of her parents at the same age.  The fun thing was, that each photo she turned over, she would hit the front of my arm with the back of her hand and say, “questa” (this).  When she came to a person who had been in a previous photo at a different age, she would go back through the entire stack to make sure that I understood the progression.

She wanted me to pick her out in the photos.  She would stand back, hit me, then wave at the photo and smile broadly at me.  That was my hint that it was she was there.  Each time she would say,  something like “La Vita cambia molta.”  Life changes a lot.

Mariaucha was utterly joyful sharing her memories.  When she had run out of photos and I was prepared to continue my walk, she remembered more and ran to her bedroom to bring out a folder of studio wedding photos of her daughter, her son and a nephew.

It was a wonderful insight into the reality that we are the same everywhere.  BTW, in Italy, little old ladies have shelves and glass cupboards stuffed with their good dishes and  keepsakes, too. And yet, she had no photos displayed.

I finished my Sunday evening talking to my friend, Tonino, whose wife died four years ago.  He likes to talk about her.  Tonight I thought he was pulling out another photo of her, but it was actually one of him for me – signed.  I thanked him and told him that I really needed one on my camera for my computer.  When I had him pose, the hooting began.  One offered to take one of both of us.  I told them it was for my husband and he nearly dropped the camera.  Of course, I couldn’t get Tonino’s  picture without getting the rest of the “boys” who thought they were real Hollywood material. After all, an Americana was taking a photo of them, right?   Nice men!  The guy on the left was happy to practice his English, “Good Night”.

*For those of you who read my post before I edited this a.m., please accept my apologies for such a huge lapse in taste.  Sometimes I’m thinking I’m just writing to my family.  Oops.  Didn’t mean to “out” my poor friend.  Glad I didn’t know her name.