Friday, May 16, 2008

Italian tidbit.

I had been biking hard all day up a pass, it was getting late in the afternoon, I was tired, lonely, and wondering where I would stay that night. I entered one of those tiny mountain villages where the streets are about eight feet wide and the buildings line the street like wall paper. The streets were not only narrow but steep so I was in my lowest gear and crawling, barely faster than a walk. I came upon and began to pass an old, bent, Italian woman, scarf on her head, sagging hose on her legs, apron around her waist and black shoes. She was walking with what looked like a large agricultural bag of cotton slug over her shoulders, her elbows bent over her head and her hands clasped tightly on the knot. I passed her and looked , she smiled , I said buon giorno (that being the more respectful way to say "good day" in Italian) and continued onward. As I looked up from our exchange I noticed three older gentleman sitting on a bench, one resting on a cane, one leaning forward past the first to see, the other leaning back; all in tweed jackets with caps on their heads. I said "ciao". Immediately the woman I had passed spoke in a loud voice to the men, all I understood were two words: "ciao" and "buon giorno". The men responded with something and chuckled. She responded to them with a " my hello was better than yours was" tone. I looked back. They all looked at me. We all laughed. Simple, but sweet.

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