May 16, 2006

A caffe to remember.

"Buona Sera!" is what I call out to every person I pass by in the evenings here. Yesterday, it landed me in Sersina's house for a caffe. If ever I wish I had my camera with me, this was the day.

Sersina is 83 years old, with a beautiful elegant smooth face, few wrinkles, the cutest smile, and white hair collected in a bun. She was walking in her front hallway in her blue flowered housedress when I greeted her. She lit up and clapped her hands in delight. "I thought you'd left town" she exclaimed in Italiano. We small talked and then she asked if I wanted some coffee. "Vieni, vieni," -- come in -- she urged me.

We walked up the first flight of stairs where she took me into an apartment and introduced me to her daughter and granddaughter. Then we continued up a second flight, pausing so she could show me her pictures on the walls, the plants, and decor. She invited me into her kitchen -- I stepped into the 1960s. The walls were covered in groovy tiles with a loopy two-toned "harvest yellow" pattern, two old stoves, complete with an old radio from the era.

Sersina talked to me the entire time she was moving. She pulled down her stovetop espresso maker (a standard in all Italian households), then the coffee, and stood by the open window -- shutters apart -- to put it all together. After about twenty minutes of talk and distraction, she lit the pilot to make our coffee.

We sat at the opposite ends of a chrome and melamine table, covered in a plastic table cloth and chatted about the local cats, her family, her home passed down through four generations -- they are the original owners and the home was built in the 1800s, and all sorts of interesting stories.

Sersina sat at the end of the table facing me, the enormous 1960s stove behind her, and the espresso pot on the right burner. Her hands were crossed on the table and she leaned forward to speak with me.

When the coffee was finished, she reached around to turn the fire off. Another ten minutes of chatting until she stood up to go into the salon to collect two espresso cups, saucers, spoons, and a sugar bowl that she carried on a silver platter. I couldn't have asked for anything more Italian, warmer, or inviting than being in her home at that moment.

I know I constantly mention how KIND and NICE everyone is to me. It's just phenomenal.

1 comment:

gomattolson said...

you really need to write a book...and then go to every university you can think of and tell anyone that will listen to go out and do whatever it is that you do.