Friday, September 3, 2010
Ferragosto is the major summer holiday in Italy. August 15 marks the beginning of the end of the summer vacation, so it is sacred for just about all families. The news is always filled with stories of traffic jams and crowded beaches. For the Raviele clan, Ferragosto means a pilgrimage to Cervinara.
This year, we had 19 people for dinner on the 15th, but only 16 slept over! It is always a challenge to accommodate such a crowd, and trying to prepare three meals a day in our woefully under-equipped kitchen can get crazy at times. Maria, my sister-in-law, is an amazing cook and she successfully choreographed and organized the cooking and serving of the pasta, fish, salads, veggies and desserts. She even made her own baba au rhum, her specialty. Everyone was licking their fingers after that treat!
Bedtimes became quite the event. We had cots and mattresses set up everywhere. Everyone was able to have access to some sort of bed...no one ended up on the floor! Bathroom time was fluid. There are two and a half bathrooms here...and for 19 people, that meant that there were backups from time to time. Patience prevailed and there were no "untoward accidents".
Perhaps the funniest moment we had was when 7 year old Luca got chased by Totti, the little dog next door. Luca tries to be all macho, but he is really quite a timid little fellow. He had been working up his courage to approach this little beast, and had actually petted him a bit. So when he decided to head over there by himself, he wasn't prepared for Totti's reaction. The dog started barking and then chasing after Luca. We were sitting in the courtyard chatting when suddenly Luca comes running in screaming "Aiuto!". It was like out of a cartoon...his knees were practically hitting his nose he was running so fast. The neighbor's door was open and he just ran right through it and out into the back yard. I wish we had a video of his face! Totti is a tiny dog who barks at everything but who wouldn't hurt a fly.
By the 18th, we were down to just six people in the house and things began to get back to normal. All the youngsters went off to the beach and just the senior citizens were left to hold down the fort. We enjoyed a week together before the group finally dispersed.
As nice as it is to have everyone around, we were certainly ready to enjoy some peace and quiet again when everyone finally left. We have gotten used to our privacy and our quiet little lives here!