Wednesday is market day in Cervinara and almost without fail, if we are in town we will go to browse through the stands and to pick up a few staples. We start going down the main aisle directly across from the entrance to the grounds. On the right we find the stand that sells fabric, then a small fellow who sells children's hats, some shoe vendors, household items and detergents. On the left there are the clothing vendors, with a surprising variety of items hanging there ready to be tried on or purchased. Whether for men or women, there is always plenty to choose from.
At the end of that first aisle we turn left, past the market equivalent of the dollar store, past the tables where random used clothing is tossed around, all for a euro. Women paw through these items in search of something that might fit the need of someone in their family. It's not unusual to find like-new clothing for a song. Of course there are also the pocket book stands with knock-off Chanels or Coach purses, as well as no-name but nicely made bags and suitcases. In other words, there's something for everyone at the "mercato".
We have our usual vendors and they know us and what we want. Clams from the pescivendolo to make spaghetti with vongole (our menu every Wednesday, just for the information of those who might be planning a visit), big, fat, green olives (they call them "bianche" or white olives here), and the random fruit or veg that might look good at the time. Our fish monger remembers us but is always too busy to chat. He just bags up our kilo of "veraci" and we are on our way. Our olive fellow on the other hand knows us well and we always look forward to a quick conversation and joke or two. That is, until today.
It was hot this morning and we decided to change our route. Rather than stroll through the stands where we knew there was nothing we needed, we went the back way to the food aisles. On the corner is another fish vendor whom we have never used. His clams were a euro less. Why not? Who would know? And so, we cheated on Geraldo and bought our clams. From there, it was a slippery slope.
We headed down the aisle and saw another vendor, one from whom we had bought some prunes once. We decided to get some more prunes, then I saw that he had lentils in big bins and I bought a pound of them. Then Mike noticed the salted anchovies. Yuck! I never eat them and he'll have to fix them himself, but we ended up purchasing a few ounces of those buggers too. We refused to buy olives, knowing that our regular vendor was right up the pathway.
But the damage was done. Our olive man had seen us consorting with another vendor. He was hurt. Why would we buy anchovies from the other guy when he had them too? Didn't we see that he had lentils and every other dried legume known to man for sale? What was the matter with his prunes? Weren't they good enough for us? Oh my! He scooped out our usual order of olives without offering us a taste. He didn't respond when Mike asked him to mix some fresh water with the salty brine. He took our money but didn't send us off with his usual hearty good byes. This was bad.
We will be back next week, strolling through the rows of bancarelle and making our usual purchases. We will not cheat on our olive friend. I don't know how long it will take for him to trust us again. Adultery is an ugly sin, and we were caught in flagrante delicto. But I hope that by the end of the summer all will be forgiven and we'll be back in his good graces, joking around and enjoying some free samples. Until then, we'll be on our best behavior. Honest!