Monday, May 02, 2011

 La comunione

This was a good day.  It was our first invitation to a communion in Italy and my friend Paola and her daughter Chiara had been working hard for weeks in preparation.  There were rehearsals and bomboniere (sugar covered almonds at the base of little statuettes) to buy as well as dresses and suits not to mention that they had the event catered at her mother in law's house in the country amidst olive trees, fruit orchards and gardens complete with, in the far distance, roosters, hens, ducks and an ornery gosling. There were even wedding-like bouquets for all of the girls and flowers on every table.  The cake was a giant book with Chiara's name in it covered in pink roses. The coolest part is that we were really deeply invited and a part of things.  It was like being in the FBI or CIA and getting to go undercover as loved people who get invited to things.

I am always worried about the part where we could inadvertently cause a traffic jam in the pew, like at Savana's communion in NY, because we don't go up to take communion from the priest, but this time lots of people were not confessed in time so we were not the only ones not to approach the priest. The part where you shake your neighbors' hands towards the end is my favorite part, but as usual it took me by surprise. I grabbed my hefty neighbor's hand with both of my sticky little paws in gratitude because we had been vying for the same tushy/rear end space the whole morning. I was so glad when he beamed at me and said "pace/peace" instead of, I don't know, socking me in the kisser.

We were even invited to have lunch at Paola and Stefano's in between the church service and the afternoon party.  Plus they served us a blueberry liquor from Sardegna and we all talked about how great it would be if we could go there with them during the summer vacation for a week or so.

We had the family of Tatia's friend Aurora and her little sister Erica over for lunch the day before. Fabio her dad is F's dad friend.  He is some kind of financial officer and his wife Anna Maria is a police woman who got us our permesso. He is from Milano and she is from the South and they are the complete picture of opposites attract as he is almost as soft spoken and reserved as F and she is as straight a shooter as they come and a blondish bombshell to boot. (see photos in which I tried to jump to Anna Maria's height since she has an unfair stem length and also wears stilettos. I look like the more ungainly of Charlie's Angels next to her, I know.)

We found out that they met when Fabio and Anna Maria were both assigned to bust drug smugglers who were hiding their goodies in fruit cases.  She was apparently carrying the largest machine gun, and for Fabio there was nothing sexier (as seen in photo).  Anna Maria made us a torta della Nonna oozing vanilla, lemony, comfort from a generations old recipe that made F go back for fourths.

They were there along with Marisol and her mom Sonia.  Marisol is the little girl whose birthday I inadvertently ruined and so I was hoping to get back in their good graces.  It turned out that Marisol's little brother was at a birthday party with his father that day and fell off a giant bouncy inflatable slide right on his tailbone and had to go to the hospital which took 40 minutes by ambulance once the ambulance finally arrived. You can imagine how brave Sonia was to chat with us and try to distract herself as she had no way of reaching them and had to wait to see her son at the communion party at nightfall.  Thank god he was okay, not a scratch.  He had some pain in his chest and Sonia and her husband actually let me do some bioenergy on him, after which he said he felt better.  At the very least he loved learning about thumb wrestling and beat me legitimately and not so much so about seven times in a row. So now I feel like we are better friends even if Marisol still had her doubts about me.

             Chiara's little cousin is the cutest thing on earth. Wanna see?

The other great thing was that T's favorite girls from her class were there and her least favorite weren't there.  The girls all looked like they had just received a get out of jail free card as they finally had time without school work to do to just be girls.

Chiara's war with this girl Alessia has been the drama filled topic of the year as the two girls had been the only girls in their private elementary school for eight years and inevitably went different ways this year in middle school. I can't tell you the whole story because it is all malicious gossip to the highest power, but trust me that it makes the 80's series Dynasty look like Sesame Street in comparison.  We learned, by the way, that T's section at the school is despite everything I thought the best in the school this year and that the principal is very pleased with them. (Say what???) So that's good news, I guess.

The man in the neck brace is Paola's brother Carlo who I treated after his motorcycle accident.  After the first accident he had his face put back on.  This time he has to wear the brace until June 20.  He is lovely and equally charming in Italian and in English.  He wants to know what the cat was called in Meet the In-Laws movie with Robert Di Niro.  In Italian it was called sfigato, which is a play on words from sfigato which means unlucky and gatto which means cat.  We didn't see the movie.  Readers this is your chance to write in with the correct answer.  The winner gets a prize. Or at least honorable mention.

Italians love F for his plate cleaning abilities, btw.


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