Sacred Sunday… Domenica sacrosanta
God rested on the Seventh Day. Man gets to fool around, make noises but, more importantly, do Sunday stuff. Ah, Domenica… or, Sunday… in a small Italian village. Let me describe it…
The day starts with the standard 7-day a week bell-ringing exactly at 7AM. The steadied number of rings from Codiponte’s campanile is followed by an immature medley of more bell-ringing just to get The Point across: Get out of bed and get to work! Croesus-person and Nina-beena, our two highly spoiled Weimaraners, bound out of their respective sleeping stations after the first ring. One comes out from under the covers with me and the other, who is a Lady and wouldn’t dare, stretches and coughs as she lumbers out of one of two club-chairs at her disposition. These hounds cavort with near uncontrolled ecstasy knowing breakfast is just a few sluggish steps for their old and crippled Supreme Master to go into the Kitchen to prepare il pasto del mattino. Che gioia!
General Peace & Tranquility are squelched beyond the initial clanging by the sudden and rapid gun-shots echoing across our verdant valley. Horrors of horrors. Sunday is Boar Hunting Day. They get an early start. Like our Dogs, up and at ’em at 7AM. Seems a sacrilege, doesn’t it? Wednesday is too la caccia al cinghiale but, suffers a different effect being a work-day. On both days though there are lot of parked SUV’s and FIAT Panda 4x4’s on the side of the roads.
But, hey! Get busy. There’s stuff to do on Sunday: clean the house and do the laundry. The first, since there’s no time or desire to squeeze cleaning dal Lunedi’ al Sabato, per forza it falls on a Sunday morning. The second because utilities… gas, acqua e elettricita’… are mightily expensive in Italy. Rates are lowered… a tad… for this long-standing Italian tradition with a washing machine and a Hoover. Thanks to the essential convenience of washing machine, we are all, blessedly, saved from trudging down to da’ river with a tub to wash someone’s T-shirts, underwear and sheets. By Noon, Codiponte is draped with pastel prints sheets… or ones with gorey Teddy-bears printed in psycho-colors… assorted jeans, T-shirts- T-shirts, T-shirts and a bra. Not quite like Christmas but there is a weird aria di festivita’ about.
What is that rumble you ask? More to shatter Our Peace & Tranquility, knocked low now by the indigenous or not-indigenous motorcycle gangs. The various categories are evident: 20-somethings focus on ear-rattling dirt-bikes… like someone yawning at FULL VOLUME!!!… which leave acrid blue fumes of pollution along our stretch of the Strada Statale. Mostly nubile guys and one nubile gal with frizzy hair fluttering; the 30-somethings tear through our world on hunky motorcycles emblazoned with foreign-sounding names on medallions affixed to the darn machine’s gas tanks. While the machines sport chrome, the guys and gals sport butch leather with garish patches. Oh, and these folk have coupled; the 50-somethings, long since united with someone to share the seat of a motorcycle with, roar by on their Harley’s. Usually His Woman is encased in a pink quilted jacket, helmet and ear-phones straddled behind Her Man who is tightly encased in his, thanks to his abundant tummy. They all drive like maniacs.
Church definitely is part of the deal of a Domenica. Got a clean and wash by 11AM. Not everyone gives a hoot to go. A few village ladies scurry arm-in-arm to Mass at the famous Pieve di Codiponte, ie The Church. The men, well, those who will dare to step near a church, are already congregated at the Scuzzy Bar to accompany the women the rest of the way to the wood portone of the nearly pre-Medieval pile of stones. A tactic which seems an attempt to hide their subjugation. The Men brake solidly before the entrance and graciously elect to stay outside and sit upon a stone bench under a well-manicured magnolia tree. The service is still heard and that counts for something, in case needed.
Dopo pranzo finds most of the those same Men passing the afternoon carousing at the log-cabin community center, of sorts, erected for the deaf & dumb…. ooops… sorry, the hearing & speaking impaired. I guess it is sole place in Codiponte the Men can gather and let off whatever with just their own sex. Very Italian. The hunter’s shots and motorcycles roars are ignored by the whoops and jeers of the assembled over cards and beer. I like their noises. Better than the ruckus the younger gents offer smoking cigarettes and ribbing each other with their generational bull-shit out on the balcony back over at the Scuzzy Bar.
Late afternoon I take the dogs for a turn through the village. No sense in risking their being shot for some short-sighted or stupid hunter mistaking a Weimaraner for a boar on the road through the woods to Acqua Paradiso, a natural spring. One Sunday, the Dogs and I came upon a friend lounging in the comfort of his FORD listening to a soccer game on the car’s radio. Felt like he had found his Sunday Heaven.
My Paradiso, instead, is to plop myself in a chaise out on our aia with my dog-chewed straw hat, an IKEA tumbler of pro-secco and a good book to absorb the atmosfera domenicale… even the most hated man in Codiponte’s green plastic porch awning flapping in the wind does not disturb. Sunday bliss.