My brother rode with us on the way back and laughed along the toll road mishaps. Later we would learn that one time, twenty years ago, late at night Maria Pia got onto the wrong side of the highway and drove that way for twenty minutes into oncoming traffic! They told the story while also feeding her the bone of the lamb over our supper! She took the jokes well and I imagined that she may be the baby of the family.
Once close to the Ferroni’s house, where we would have the traditional Easter dinner, Maria Pia stopped along the street to chat with an oncoming car. Nadia and her husband, Alfonso, who would come to Sivana and Ottavio’s home later, were also our relatives!
We met Sivana and Ottavio’s children, Domenico, the architecture student in Milan and Allessia. Once in the Ferroni’s home, where lunch smelled delicious we noticed the long table set for fifteen people! (Paolo, Pietro, Luana, Sivana, Domenico, Roberta, Eugina, Allessia, Ottavio, the genuine host, Gabrielle, and the five of us.) I remember the entry, the interior, how the land would fall off in the back, into gardens that Domenico said he tended while he was at home. The attic room had views to the sea and then to the mountains. The laughter that pulled us from the road came inside. The sheer fact of finding one another in the first place hadn’t worn off me yet.
We all sat down. Anyone who hadn’t come with us to San Gabriele had been helping to prepare lunch. A small kitchen off this dining room had more beautiful views. China plates were stacked and a napkin over our first course of this traditional Eater meal of spaghetti pasta and lamb. From the time the church bells woke us up to this moment back in Giulianova my mom was like a little girl. So small, so innocent, so happy to be whisked away by our relatives. It seemed every twenty years or so one of us from the states would come to Giulianova and find our roots.
Ah, so our meal began. The olives, the fried cheese (the brie cheese lightly breaded), the procutto (and the pate tasted good alongside of the spicy meat) was so delicious! What Dad would soon find out was that the sooner you finished your plate the quicker you got more food. Gabrielle would jump up to give Dad more Procutto, cheese, spaghetti…Dad was so full but he just couldn’t stop eating.
Later on in the afternoon Sivana would bring more pictures down from upstairs. Gabrielle in the 80’s looked hilarious with lots of hair, fluorescent clothes and big glasses. They had pictures of Mom’s cousins, Aunt Irma’s kids when they were there in the 90’s.
We had water, sprite and a little wine. At different times during our meal we’d get up to look at something, our houses on google earth for instance. Maria Pia had prepared desert and before it arrive don the table everyone made a sound like thunder… awaiting the dish. Tiramisu I think. During dinner Andy would grab Maria Pia and to her look genuinely happy and gay, but then behind her back he made the crazy loco sign with his hands and crossed eyes, which made everyone continue on laughing even more.
We had a long meal and as it came to an end so did the sunshine outside. So, what did we do next? Go to the mall of course.