Franceso would probably have been surprised to know that he played a big part in our decision to live in Santa Domenica Talao--we found out he loved his home town to the exclusion of all others.
It was his friendliness that mattered in our decision. Guido and I had recently lost the last of our parents. We were motherless and fatherless children about to embark on a brand new life in Italy. We were welcomed so warmly by Franceso and his wife Pina, that we momentarily felt that feeling you have as beloved children. Everyday life changed that feeling--but their importance in our life remains. You know in the brain that life is fleeting but you always hope each day that the people near you will be there.
Francesco left us more alone that we expected today. He was 86 years young. He walked up the more than 50 stairs to the piazza each day of his life to his last. We often stopped to chat with him there and understood his strong Santa Domenican dialect more and more--though we still had times when we had no idea what he was trying to tell us! I wish we knew more about him but it seems like we know what was important. The last time I saw him he tapped me on the shoulder and asked where Guido was. He always asked me that. Where are you Francesco? I'll keep my new grape vine tied and trained just as you showed me.
|The summer of 2007--Francesco listens to my traveler's Italian--gotta love him for that!|
|Francesco and Pina watch as we get our wood delivered by mule. He never missed a thing.|
|Francesco hated the heat. I was looking forward to our summer chats on the steps...this is the saddest picture for me--there is the grape vine he tied to a stake for me. |
Silly American letting it grow wild!