Monday, February 10, 2014

This Is Naples

                                                                                         (photo Mario Gargiulo)

Years ago, I found myself alone, broken hearted, and hungry in Naples. I was staying at my parent's empty house in the middle of the summer and there was nothing to eat. I went around the corner to buy some tomatoes from a grocer. He asked me what I was intending to make for lunch. A fresh tomato salad? "It's the day before Ferragosto, all stores are closed. You'll never find any bread."  I mumbled something under my breath as I slowly walked away with my tomatoes.  I was his last customer and after I paid, he lowered the heavy saracinesca of the shop. Then he called me back: "Signorina! Wait here." Then, he went upstairs to where he lived with his family and brought me back two slices of casareccio bread in a napkin. "You can't eat a tomato salad without bread."
This is Naples.

Anni fa, mi trovai sola, sconsolata, e affamata a Napoli. Mi trovavo nella casa vuota dei miei genitori durante l'estate e non c'era niente da mangiare. Uscita di casa, sono andata alla fine della via per comprare dei pomodori dal fruttivendolo. Voleva sapere cosa intendevo cucinare. Un'insalata di pomodori? "Ma e' Ferragosto, tutti i negozi sono chiusi. Non trovera' pane." Mormorai qualcosa mentre lentamente andavo via con i miei pomodori. Ero l'ultima sua cliente, quindi abbasso' la pesante saracinesca del negozio, e mi disse: "Signorina! Aspetti qui." Poi, sali' le scale dove viveva con la sua famiglia e mi riporto' due fette di pane casareccio in un tovagliolo. "Non si puo' mica mangiare un'insalata di pomodori senza pane."
Questa e' Napoli.

4 comments:

  1. How nice of the grocer to do that! Kindness can be shown in so many ways.. this is one :)

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    1. "I've always relied on the kindness of strangers..." Blanche Du Bois from A Streetcar Named Desire :)

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  2. Sounds lovely! My family is from Naples, I've always meant to go there - this is definitely persuading me it'd be a good idea!

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