Upon reading the title of this post, some of you well might ask, “where in the heck are people of Perugia #1 to 3?” But those of you who remember my (now defunct Apple) blog of years gone by know that the first three episodes dealing with Perugians were written back in 2007 when Michael and I went to the university there trying to pick up some of the language. Up until now, I thought much of what I had learned then had stuck but now I’m not so certain. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. As I am constantly telling Italian speakers, “lentamente, per favore.” Slowly, please.
It was a dark and foggy morning when we awoke on September 6th. Very, very foggy. This was the day we were going to rendezvous with my cousin, Bob, and his wife, Connie, in Perugia at 10 in the morning. Perugia is an hour and a half drive from Buonconvento, much of the beginning of the drive on narrow, windy, country roads; so, fog was not a good thing. In spite of Michael’s misgivings, we set out shortly after 7:30 and were very happy to discover that the fog was not the impenetrable fog of an Oregon winter morning but a much more gossamer type that didn’t reduce the visibility to dangerous levels. We made good time and were in a parking place close to where we used to live by 9:35.
Our early arrival gave us the time we needed to trot down the hill to our butcher, who was featured back in February 2007, as person of Perugia #1. I had formulated all sorts of explanations in Italian as to who we were, when we had been in Perugia, etc. All such preparations proved to be unnecessary.
When we walked into Francesco’s tiny shop at Carne da Francesco, Via F. Maturanzio #23, he was cutting meat for a customer. He looked up briefly and said, “buon giorno,” and then went back to his cutting for the splittest of seconds before doing a classic double take back at us. A huge smile split his face and a river of happy Italian poured out of his mouth. “Oregon . . . is everything good with you . . . you are back . . . how long . . . beautiful card . . .” and so it went with me understanding only about every fifth or sixth or, let’s be brutally honest, twentieth word. I couldn’t even squeeze in my standard, “lentamente, per favore.”
It was fabulous and made us feel so good. Of course, he then proceeded to introduce us to his friend who was standing in the shop with his son . . . just visiting not buying. And, of course, “do you remember my uncle Sauro?”
This I did understand and, naturally, we remembered Sauro, who was in the shop almost every day five years ago when we used to buy our weekly meat. So, I responded that yes, we remembered and how was he. Well, he was there, right outside the door. In he came and Francesco began to remind him who we were but it wasn’t necessary. Kiss, kiss and another flood of Italian, “is everything good for you . . . how long are you here . . . you are back . . . everything good,” etc.?
From a five-inch thick stack of postcards from all over the world, Francesco pulled out a postcard I had sent him almost five years ago from Oregon. He read it to us. He wanted to know where we were staying and wanted us to come to his home for dinner. He gave me his telephone number and made us promise to come back before we left Italy. We made the promise and are already looking forward to keeping it sometime in the next three weeks.
Carne da Francesco, Via F. Maturanzio #23, Perugia, Italy.