hills of italy

I WAS BACK in San Giorgio Albanese, but all of the buildings were painted festive yellow, including the massive restaurant perched on a cliff overlooking the Sila with a 360 degree view. There were just some small boulders equally spaced along the edge of the cliff to alert locals not to venture too close. Then a straight drop down of Grand Canyon-like proportions. I was afraid to even look that way. There was a fine bar in the middle of the restaurant, and some of my Petrone relatives were there and I was eating interesting yellow pastries that made no sense to me at all, odd bulky shapes, and sweet but not sugary, so maybe polenta? Some Petrellis cousins showed up and one was the chief of police. I tried to speak Italian but just broken sentences came out, and felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t even string a sentence together. Then grandma died, but not my grandma, Rosaria, my father’s grandmother, and I was asked to make food for the funeral. I made this really nice fettuccine and, yes, there were some tiny clams and shrimp in the sauce, and then, when people started to arrive, someone asked, “Is it possible to get the pasta without the shrimp?” and then I thought, we might as well just order takeout. There was a decent Greek restaurant nearby. Surely they might cater. There was no way I could dislodge or dissect the shrimp from the pasta dish. As is the case in most structures, there was a haunted room in the restaurant, and I went into the haunted room expecting it to be dark, dreary, and full of loathing, but it was surprisingly well-lit and remodeled with skylights. I didn’t sense any ominous presence (usually the ghost of a woman who wants to destroy me). But my daughters were sleeping like angels in a bed in the room, and they said they had weird feelings there, and all was not as safe as it seemed. Later, we all went to visit their old babysitter, but she was not at home. The littlest one was jumping to look in the windows and so I held her up to the glass. All three girls were with me. Then the babysitter arrived, but she was very busy and there was a man waiting in the car outside. The girls looked around the inside of the house. Then we left together.

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