Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Gift of a Memory

Today, while working on my Italian romance novel, I got lost in the memories of my recent trip. One of the numerous things I cherish from my time in Italy is not only the delicious cuisine, but witnessing the Italian culture passionately embrace mealtime.  Family and friends gather at local ristorantes for lively and lengthy full course meals; spending two to four hours savoring their dining event. Yes, I said event. Mealtime in Italy is exciting, significant and fun.

After an exhausting day in Rome, a ninety minute train ride to Lucca, and ten minute hike to our hotel, my daughter and I just wanted to grab a bite to eat and go to bed. We left our bags in the room and asked the kind (and very handsome) desk clerk, if there was a nearby restaurant that stayed open late. He pointed us down a cobblestoned walkway that forked in four different directions and said it would be on our left—we couldn’t miss it. We followed his directions (although not very well) and after passing the same white church for the third time, we somehow reached the trattatoria.

We were warmly greeted by the owner and seated in the back of the empty dining area. I told her we would just get dessert since it looked liked they were about to close, but she insisted we eat a meal. “No.” She patted my arm and smiled. “Big party come soon.”

Big party came soon, and came loud. Over a dozen men and women took their seats at a line of tables adorned with floral bouquets, bottles of wine, and colorful cloth napkins. Almost immediately my daughter and I were invited to join them. We kindly declined their invitation, saying we were leaving soon, but they wouldn’t hear of it. Four men came to our table, lifted the chairs we sat in, and placed us at their table. What were we to do but laugh and enjoy the ride? Corks began popping and brimming plates were set before us. Our bellies rumbled as our senses were tempted by the wide array of cold cuts, cheeses, steaming pastas and plates of tiramisu. The powerful scents’ effect on our bellies rendered us incapable of resisting further. We were happy to be held captive by happy, generous Italian friends and forced to eat and drink more than I thought our bodies were able.

The food and wine was delicious, but the countless cheers, clinking of glasses, and laughing with generous friends made the night unforgettable. When the bottles ran dry and the party came to a close, one of the gentlemen offered to walk us back to our hotel—in the rain! Good thing he did, because we had no clue how to find our way back. Waterlogged and weary, we said our Ciaos at the entrance to our hotel. The Lucca showers saturated our bodies, but didn’t extinguish the glow in our hearts.

Memories are a wonderful thing, aren’t they? You can relive the noteworthy times and revisit those who’ve made an impact on your life, no matter how many miles distance you or years pass by.

Now…back to writing my novel.

~A Writer's Hart

6 comments:

J.M. Powers said...

I loved this little gift. I smiled at the vision of a hot Italian guy (sans a shirt) picking up your chair with you still in it.

I hope you incorporate this true life happening into your novel. :)

C.E. Hart said...

LOL
Well, these Italian guys were wearing shirts, but perhaps in my story they wont. LOL

Thank you JM. :) I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Kitchen Belleicious said...

Yes- memories are wonderful whether they are good or bad they will be with you forever and teach you things u will never forget! Love this post!

Gabrielle said...

Love this post! The time you spent there sounds fantastic!

Dana said...

I saw your post on Rachelle Gardner's blog where you mentioned your trip to Italy. I am taking a 15 day trip there in June. I've recently lost 60 pounds and fear I may find them there!!

C.E. Hart said...

@KB - So true...good or bad. By the way, I'm still thinking about those zucchini pizzas. I'm going to have to make a trip to the grocery store this weekend. ;)

@Gabrielle - Thank you. Yes, it was fantastic. I already want to go back! So happy you enjoyed my post. *Smiles*

@Dana - WOW! 60 lbs? You go girl! That is fabulous. I have to say, I ate like a wild-woman while I was there and still lost 4 pounds. LOL I walked everywhere (until I had blisters on my feet) and worked it all off. EAT the gelato. It is fabulous. Please let me know how your trip goes. :) Thank you so much for visiting!

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