The Lamb is Burnt – Buona Pasqua

Happy Easter! If you don’t celebrate Easter, Happy Day. Like many people, I was up early getting ready for family, friends and food. Food being the key ingredient. Smiling, I walked past my set table. Last night, the china was placed, napkins were fashioned into cascading waterfalls dripping down the wine glasses and the silver was polished. Sigh, I am a great planner. All I have to do this morning is cook. Well actually, I didn’t even really have that much to cook. Jack had cut the rutabaga up and it was ready to boil. I had prepped the broccoli rabe. Guests would be adding to the feast. The lamb, the wonderful organic, grass fed and running happy in the fields lamb was my primary responsibility.

I love lamb. Rare lamb is my favorite Easter dish. Yummy, stop rolling your eyes – a carnivore is a carnivore. Following an Ina Garten recipe that my cooking pal Kathy sent me, I had marinated the leg of lamb in yogurt, rosemary, lemon rind, olive oil, salt and pepper. It did look like someone had vomited in my refrigerator, but the marinade was guaranteed to make an incredible tasting lamb. I pulled the lamb out of the frigorifero and left it on the counter to warm up While the oven was pre-heating, I had a Bloody Mary and thanked the universe for a terrific day. Each time I walked into the kitchen and saw the lamb, a smile appeared on my face.

Wiping off the yogurt – which was disgusting – I envisioned the crispy outer shell and rare interior. My mouth was watering in anticipation. We had calculated that an eleven pound leg of lamb would need about three and a half hours in the oven. At 11:30, the leg of lamb went into the 450 degree oven. “Alexa,” I bellowed, “set timer for fifteen minutes.” I puttered anxiously waiting for her dulcet beeps. The oven was lowered to 350 and I went into my office.

I’m doing the Dramatist Guild’s April challenge, “End of Play.” That means put your butt in a chair, let your creativity flow and finish the play that has been percolating for days. I’m researching WWII Italian Prisoners of War who were incarcerated in the USA. The stories are amazing. I really got into the research.

Suddenly, Jack stormed into the room. I looked up. “Midge, there is smoke in the kitchen. Who is watching the cooking.”

“I am. Just from my desk in the office. I can kind of see around the corner to the stove.”

Then, I saw the smoke. The oven must be filthy – didn’t I clean the oven this year? Sighs escaped from my lips and I shuffled over to the kitchen. Yup, there was smoke. Yup, it was coming from the oven. I opened the door – the lamb looked crispy. Grabbing my instant read meat thermometer I took the lamb’s temperature. What the … 146! No, no, the guests wont be here for two hours and the meat is done. While it rests it will cook even more. It was supposed to take three hours – what – it has been three hours? The beep of the smoke detector filled the room. The windows were opened. Crispy smoke detector activator lamb may have changed my standard Easter menu. Merde.

What to do? I took the lamb out of the oven, covered it with tin foil and opened a bottle of red wine. Red goes with lamb. I hope there will be some left for our guests.

Has it Really Been A Year?

The fabulous folks at read furiously sent me this today!

It is hard to believe that just a year ago my first book of stories from Pontelandolfo was accepted by a publisher, printed, distributed and in many of your hands. I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for taking this roller coaster ride with me. Not only have many of you bought the book, but you have come to readings, sent me photos holding the book and dashed off notes thanking me for causing you lips to creep up into a smile and laughter to bubble up from your diaphragm. Mille Grazie!

Wowza! Bravi for sharing! ( I really need to make a video that features all of your pictures!) Each and everyone of you have found your way into my heart. Thank you for all your support. Wait for it – here it comes – the pitch as only our Midge can do it.

It is not too late to get on the humor train and join these happy folks by getting your own copy of “Cars, Castles, Cows and Chaos.” They make a great gift and can be ordered Wherever books are sold.

There I did it. Or come and see me next week – laugh at my antics, listen to story or two and enjoy the camaraderie! I will be in Pawling at the Library on Thursday March 30th at 7:00 PM.

Or visit Nyack! The Nyack Library is hosting me on April 1st at 2:00 PM.

Someone asked me the other day “What’s next for this book?” Well – my favorite next dream would be if Fiat’s marketing department would call and say – “Hey, this funny book is all about Fiats in Italy! Why don’t we give one to every new Fiat owner and have you tour Fiat dealers telling your funny tales.” Anybody know anyone at Fiat??? Of course the next biggest fantasy would be the book turning into a limit series on Apple TV!

Again, much love to all of you. Thank you for a fantastic year. Keep on traveling, share your stories and most importantly giggle daily.

Ci vediamo –

Midge –

What I Learned on our Winter Vacation!

Oooo, the little demon in my brain is bellowing in my ear – WINTER VACATION??? Cripes, your whole life is one big vacation – you spend months in Italy, bum around Europe and hang out with New Jersey pals.

What can I say, Jack and I have “third act” wanderlust. We also have dear friends – former Asbury Park, NJ pals – who ditched New Jersey for a life in Ecuador. Marie and Jan were our travel buddies for more than ??XX?? years and we love to let them find adventures for us. It is our great joy that they are expats living in Ecuador. It is their great joy that we live in Italy. Do you get the picture? Three years ago, Jan and Marie stayed with us in Pontelandolfo and helped me celebrate my big 70th birthday. Three years have gone by and now it is our turn to celebrate life in general at their home in the mountain outside of Ambato, Ecuador.


Lesson 1: You don’t always get what you pay for. We bought United Airlines First class and Business Class tickets. Don’t ask me why each arduous leg of the flight had two diverse class status’s tickets. The first leg was to Houston. The plane configuration was not the Polaris class that we have enjoyed flying to Europe and our seating area was filthy. I always bring alcohol wipes and I was wiping food and crumbs off the seats, tray table, pocket, everything. Where the heck is the foot rest? Is the seat in front of me falling apart? Are Jack’s knees touching the seat back in front of him in Business Class? This reminded me of flights we have taken on the old cheap Norwegian Air recycled planes. Oh, and the staff was barely interested. Eucch, dirty, uncomfortable and ignored. The second leg, Houston to Quito, had a clean plane and wonderful staff. The seats were certainly not anything special, didn’t have foot rests and the control for the in flight entertainment was under my butt. Both flights used Dish TV as the inflight entertainment. Movies started at a specific time, the lackadaisical crew from Newark never gave out headsets until the films had started. I must admit, the United Lounge was a great place to hang during our four hour and forty minute layover. But is the lounge worth the high price for the tickets?

Midge, why did you buy the seats that cost a un sacco di soldi? Are you loaded. Did your book, Cars, Castles, Cows and Chaos, sell a million copies. None of the above, but a great book or play sale would make me smile. We fly in the high price seats because my glorious butt is too gloriously large to squeeze into a coach seat. Yes, I am on a diet. Yes, I am attempting to remember to excersize it off. Meanwhile, gulp, I cough up the cash for big seats in a freaking dirty plane. Glad I brought those wipes along! Sad, we spent all that cash for seats and service that was nothing like the super seats and service we get on United when we soar across the Atlantic to Rome.

Lesson 2: A lot of things in Ecuador remind me of Italy. A. Quito sits high in the Andean Foothills at an altitude of 2,850 meters. Ambato is a wee bit lower on the hill at 2,577 meters above sea level. These are mountain towns, with curves and cliffs that scare the pants off of me. Just like driving in the Italian Sannio hills – only higher. B. They have universal health care, just like Italy. Actually, they have reciprocity with Italy and our Tessera Sanitaria, health insurance would have been accepted. C. We loved looking at all the elementary school children going to school in uniforms. They weren’t the same as the ones in Pontelandolfo but the idea was the same.

Even the little yellow bus with a driver and an aide reminded me of Pontelandolfo

D. Bella Vista! The verdant green mountains, forests, mountain peaks and glacier topped volcanoes are glorious to see in both countries. E. One of the wonders of Pontelandolfo are the huge white dairy cows that summer in the mountains. The contadini travel up the the mountain and milk the cows right where our bovine friends are enjoying the mountain grasses. We were driving and noticed people on stools milking the cows living in the hills between Quito and Ambato too. F. Road and village lawn maintenance is done by tethered cows, goats, pigs and horses! A Pontelandolfo sight that gives me the giggles!

Goats keeping the grass cut in Piazza Roma, Pontelandolfo

G. Wonderful historic architecture juxtaposed with modern buildings, reminded me of many Italian cities. The styles were similar to what we see in Benevento. H. Just like Italy, even the smallest villages have a plaza/piazza! Check out the fresh flowers around the fountain.

Lesson 3: Things I wish both Italy and the USA had. A. Clean bathrooms open to the public in every Ecuadorian gas station. What a brilliant idea! Want to build a gas station? Sure, but you must provide all travelers access to a clean and modern bathroom! We tried more than one and it is a great idea. You might have to spend 10 cents at the toilet paper machine and/or pay the person who cleans a quarter but that is a cheap fix for the “I’ve got to go now” traveler. B. Plug in charging stations can be found in parking lots all over towns. Electric cars in a country rich in oil – imagine that! C. Voting is quasi mandatory. If you don’t vote you will not be able to renew your car’s registration or access any other government related services. Elections are on Sundays too! Italy has elections on Sunday but they don’t make voting mandatory for existing within the framework of government bureaucracy. Ecuador consistently has over 80 percent voter turnout. E. Senior Discounts that are incredible. 50% off all transportation, including airline flights that originate in Ecuador! 50% off all land line telephone services. Senior lines in all banks and offices that are absolutely honored.

Clean bathrooms where ever gas is sold! Speaking of gas – electric charging stations. (They don’t offer bathrooms.)

Lessons learned! Winter, spring, summer or fall travel is a great way to learn new things and appreciate the things that you have. I learned a lot from my winter vacation in Ecuador. Thank you Marie and Jan for being our grasshopper pals of yore, generous hosts and adventurers of today.

Ci vediamo a presto!


2023 Started With Sauce

My New Year started with thoughts of old years. On January 1st I knew I had to make my grandmother’s spaghetti sauce. I didn’t know why. I just knew I needed the smells of grandma’s house filling my kitchen and to feel the presence of those who are no longer here. As the fireworks went off and people toasted 2023, I pulled pig parts and sausages out of the freezer. It was an instinctive action, it was 12:02 AM Sunday morning and Sunday is – was – spaghetti day. I wish it still was, but it hasn’t been for years. Not since my Aunt Catherine died and the family Sunday table collapsed out of my life.

As I started chopping the onions, garlic and green peppers, I remembered the scent of Sundays at grandma’s house. The sauce bubbling on the stove, chicken parts covered with millions of onions roasting in the oven and garlic sputtering in a hot frying pan. The kitchen table was opened up to almost big enough for all the Guerreras that would race in when the firehouse siren roared noon.

Guerrera’s share a Sunday meal. I’m the little one on the right mugging for the camera.

As I added a handful of fresh parsley to the pot, I saw my Aunt Cat grinning. Every time she tossed whole parsley – stems and all – in the sauce pot, she would look at me with her big Cheshire Cat grin. It was her culinary secret to leave the parsley whole so it was easier to fish out. Later, when no one was looking, she would scoop out every cooked piece and eat it. There is something comforting about wilted parsley dripping tomato sauce pulled out of the pot and popped into my mouth. Please don’t tell Jack – he hasn’t seen me do this.

The parsley is ready!  Yummy.
The parsley was ready for tasting.

I left the pot simmering, filling the condo with aromas of my past and visited my walk in closet. Now, we have owned this condo since Covid lockdown and I have never organized my closet. The closet is more than a closet, it could be a New York City studio apartment. My purse collection – yes I love purses and shoes – was tossed up on a shelf that I could barely reach. Clothes that I hadn’t worn in years were cramped in garment bags. We spend half the year in Italy, do I really need to know what is lurking in the garment bags? Sigh – I decided my New Year needed organization and what better way to jump start organizing than as my mom would say, start in one corner and work out. What corner? The closet is in the furthest corner of the place. Hmm. I walked in the closet door, remembered my mom, and stopped at the first corner. A corner that held an old dresser, four shelves stuffed with who knows what and a couple of squished robes. Starting at the top, I pulled a plastic box down off the highest shelf. My primary concern was not passing out after the hard plastic conked me in the noggin. My second concern was who would find me in the closet if I was bleeding from plastic pieces and lying on the floor. Luckily, my sense of drama was stronger than the box and I managed to catch it before it conked me. Having no idea what was in the box, I shoved the stuff that was on top of the dresser on the floor, plopped the plastic box on the newly cleared dresser top and opened it up. New gloves I didn’t know I owned, spiked rubber things to put under you boots and prevent death by black ice, Christmas joke jewelry from a pazillion years ago, empty jewelry boxes and –

I wore it with great joy and love.

Now I understand why the universe told me to make that sauce! After finding this precious piece of my history and the condo full of the odor of my grandma’s kitchen, I knew where my 2023 was headed. Back even further into my past and closer to the family of my present.

Buon anno! Have a healthy, happy, creative and successful 2023! May all your resolutions come to pass and if they don’t may laughter fill your days. Abbracione.

Ci vediamo a presto –


Can’t Wait To See You!

Looking for something to do this week? It would be so much fun to meet each and every one of you in person. Here is our opportunity!

This week, I am taking my book of travel humor on the road! Come laugh with me. I’ll be reading stories from Cars, Castles, Cows and Chaos at the Newtown (PA) Bookshop, Frenchtown (NJ) Bookstore and at the Italian American organization UNICO District X! If you have a copy of my book, bring it along for me to sign. Also bring your questions about what life really is like for a type A New Jersey girl in a small Southern Italian village.

I am so looking forward to “performing” the stories that I lived. Even more than that, I am looking forward to seeing you.

Ci vediamo


Our Votes Are On the Way

We never miss a year!

Thanks to Democrats Abroad we quickly got our ballots emailed to us, filled them out and emailed them back. For those of you living abroad who haven’t voted yet. Here is the first step as explained by Democrats Abroad.

Step 1: Request your ballot

Head to, your one-stop-shop for registering to vote and requesting your overseas absentee ballot. There, you’ll complete and submit your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the form overseas voters like you use to request ballots. The website will help you fill out the FPCA and tell you exactly where to send it. In most cases, you can submit it right then and there electronically!

Ballots from New Jersey were emailed to us from our County Clerk’s Office. One thing I should tell you is that these ballots are not secret. We had to sign a document saying that we understood that since the completed ballots would be emailed back they were open to others to read. Hey, I will tell you who I voted for. I don’t care if you read my ballot.

Printing, completing the ballot and accompanying paperwork, scanning and emailing the PDFs back to New Jersey is incredibly simple. What is not, is the arcane rule that we must also mail the printed, signed and scanned documents to our County Board of Elections. The directions say send them via Airmail. When I asked about Airmail at the Ufficio Postal, the agent looked at me. That hasn’t been an option for years. All mail goes in a plane – just not a special plane. Mail from Italy to the USA must go by a one engine barely moving plane or not at all. In 2021, I had a hissy fit. The New Jersey website,, has a portal called Track my Ballot. Tracking my ballot – which was mailed back from Pontelandolfo after it was sent in an email – I saw that it was received in ample time, but on Election Day and the weeks after it was not marked “accepted.” I called my State Senator, politicos, the Board of Election and generally made a whining pain of myself. Why, if I print, fill out, sign, scan and send the ballot back electronically do I have to mail the hard copy from Italy????? It is the law. It is stupid. Don’t go all – what about voter fraud – on me. An IPO address is easy to track. My signature scrawl is on file. Ask me a trick question or something that I can email back. How about voice recognition??

Sigh, I just looked. It has been a year and my ballot from 2021 was indeed accepted. I am not sure when. I stopped tracking it after two months. Not wanting to have my Father roaring down at me from his political backroom in the sky, today I went to Mail Boxes ETC in Telese Terme, spent €30 and FedEx is carrying our ballots across the sea. I can track them and was told it should take a couple of days. (I know we should have done that sooner, but we left on vacation a few days after I got the ballots. I screwed up.)

Don’t Worry poppo – the ballots will get there!

Voting isn’t something I do because my family has been so involved politically. It is something I do because it is my one opportunity to help insure that our democracy keeps on chugging forward. It is a gift and I relish it. Please vote. My brain is giggling that old cynical phrase attributed to Chicagoan, William Hale Thompson “vote early and vote often.” Don’t do that. Just go and vote.

Ci vediamo!


Quarantine Quirks (Yes, we have Covid.)

Sigh… Midge and Jack succumbed to the evil Covid. Beh. Cough, cough, sneeze, sneeze. Now, no need to feel sorry for us. I truly enjoyed laying on the couch for seven days and binge watching Tehran on Apple TV. Sleeping until noon wasn’t so bad either. We are both finally rejoining the living, but won’t be leaving the house until we take a second Tampone Nasofaringeo Covid test.

How did we get it you ask? Well, we went on vacation. I know, I know, being retired and living in Italy is like one long vacation. Think of this as a vacation from vacationing. Or as my pal Marjorie put it, “You staycation all year and this is your going away vacation.” We had booked a Viking River Cruise that would glide us along the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel Switzerland. Amsterdam – damp, cold rainy Amsterdam. I know the exact second and place in Amsterdam that I gobbled up a bunch of Covid flying germs. The – they really need new administrators – Ann Frank House was the place. We had reserved time slots to visit the Ann Frank House. It was raining. There was a freakin’ long queue outside the Museum/House. We were soaking wet. My mask was soaking wet. My brain was soaking wet and wanted to ring dry whoever the programming administrator at the museum was that over booked time slots. Excuse me, the place is small and you sold enough timed tickets to fill the coliseum. We squeezed into the place – masked – and really enjoyed the museum portion of the exhibition. As we climbed the steep cramped stairs to the upper levels, I started to panic. They can’t be putting all these people into smaller and smaller spaces. Oh yes, they could. I pulled my mask down only once – to breathe after climbing a flight of stairs. Only for two minutes. That was all it took for the evil flying vermin to pounce on my lungs. Have I mentioned that masks were not required. I saw about 4 out of the crush of people wearing masks. (I do not know if what you just read is true. I cannot confirm or deny this is the place I caught Covid. The above paragraph was based on my Italian woo woo insights.)

We spent two more rainy masked days in Amsterdam before hitting the river. The Viking “longboat” only had about 160 passengers. We never sat with other people. Didn’t go to the main crowded dining room and were definitely cautious. Views along the river were great. Food and booze were great. Laughing with Sue and Phil, the couple we went with was great.

ALERT, ALERT, RING, DING, SIREN OOOOO. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, “Based on systematic reviews and meta-analyses in studies investigating infections with ancestral strains of SARS-CoV-2, the incubation period of COVID-19 is, on average, five to six days, with most studies reporting a range of two to 14 days.” I woke up on day 4 of the cruise and went right back to bed. (Notice how average I am – six bleeding days it took for the nasties to turn me into yuck.). I didn’t even think about Covid. Having had two severe cases of Lyme disease, I thought I was having a Lyme reoccurrence. My muscles didn’t want to work and I was incredibly weak. Blah, blah, blah, you don’t need to hear the whole gruesome story. Anyway, I only thought about Covid when I started coughing. That was in the airport flying back to Naples. I double masked and hoped for the best.

Back in Pontelandolfo, we immediately went to the pharmacy and got tested. We both tested positive for covid. What? How could Jack be positive? He doesn’t even have a sneeze happening. Pharmacist, Marco Perone, entered us into the system and printed out our, YOU BETTER QUARANTINE FOR A MINIMUM OF 5 DAYS OR GET A TIME OUT, certificates. Hiding our faces from the world we rushed home. Yes, once in the system the local police can really check on you. Besides that, we didn’t want anyone we knew – which is the whole village – getting sick.

it was official. October 8 we went into quarantine.

We had been away from home for about 12 days. The refrigerator was empty. We looked at each other. Jack sighed. I had a coughing fit, recovered and went into “feed us please” action. The snarky readers out there will read what follows, guffaw and think, you can easily order food in New Jersey too. Supermarkets deliver. Restaurants deliver. Getting delivery is no big deal. Hey snarky – Do they also think for you????

My first text was to Luigi, co- owner of Mini Market La Torre. Think well stocked deli. My list was eggs, milk, bread, water, lunchmeat and wine and whine – I couldn’t think. Lunchmeat – they know us. They know I buy 200 grams each of mortadella, tacchino, e prosciutto motto. I didn’t have to think. Luigi tossed other stuff we would need in the bag. I snuck out side and put a Tupperware container with a bunch of money in it on our outdoor table. He left his store, ran over and put the bag of goodies on the table. Then he routed around the Tupperware and took what it cost.

Vegetables. We need vegetables. Fresh, green and full of antioxidants too. Text number two went to Nicole, owner of Fresh Fruit. Nicole gets up most mornings at 4:00 AM and heads to the fruit and vegetable farmer’s market near Naples. My text to her was briefer – green vegetables, fruit, onions and ???. She too appeared with a bag stuffed with green, yellow and I don’t remember fresh stuff. Nicole exchanged a receipt for cash in the Tupperware box.

Watching her, I started giggling. For years, I would go to farms, put money in a box and take eggs or produce. This is kind of a reverse honor system. Leave money in the box for someone to take and they leave you stuff.

How could we go a week without meat from Marcelleria Mancini? To butcher extraordinary, Stefano, my text was steak, chopped meat, chicken and some kind of interesting cheese. We ugly Americans eat more meat than we should. His other customers get one chicken breast thin sliced into cutlets for ten people. He knew better and two giant chicken legs and breasts arrived. With all the garlic and onions from Nicole, chicken soup was happening. He cut us two thick and scrumptious steaks. Enough for two meals. The cheese was a creamy and yummy caciocavallo – you know horse’s balls – from a local caseificio – cheese maker. Stefano didn’t rummage in the Tupperware box. He had stapled a bill to the bag and said pay me when you are better.

Pay me when you are better??? Would ShopRite at Home say “pay me when you are better?”

Speaking of texts. I texted our primary care physician, Doctor Palumbo. He replied instantly with what meds we needed to buy and what we should be doing. The first person to pick up meds for us was Nicola, our good friend and neighbor. A few days later I texted Dr. Palumbo again – I was worried about Jack’s oxygen saturation. More meds and a new text to my precious cousin Carmella. Vroom she was off and running to the Pharmacy. Yeah, yeah, CVS delivers but does the pharmacist call you and say, ” How are you two? Call if you need us.”

Since I didn’t want folks here to think we were ignoring them, I posted on FaceBook that we were Covid positive and in quarantine. Folks had not only wished us well via replies on my FaceBook post but hit other electric highways as well. I was too tired to answer my phone but I did look at the messages. Many of them came from my Pontelandolfo neighbors. “Call if you need anything.” “Can I do anything.” Those thoughts were said a variety of ways with funny or serious emojis. Those messages kept our spirits up. Thanks Carmella via Michelle for getting us that much yearned for loaf of bread! Thank you to Jersey Girl Kathy for daily checking on us too.

For the past ten years I have touted the joys and love we find in our small Southern Italian village. Pontelandolfo may not have Grubhub, Doordash or Uber Eats but damn, it has love. Lots of love. Grazie mille a tutti.

Ci vediamo!

PS. So excited! I will soon be in NJ and PA doing readings from my book, Cars, Castles, Cows and Chaos! Come laugh with me!

A Taste of Wild Boar!

Amazing Night!

As soon as we got out of our pal Jeff’s car, the succulent scent of slowly cooked cinghiali, wild boar, wafted over us. At 8:20 PM, Jeff, Marianne, Jack and I headed down the hill toward Pontelandolfo’s covered market. Since nothing here has ever started on time – ever – we were surprised to hear music playing and see everything organized and ready to go early! Sponsored by La Squadra Cinghiale Lido, wild boar hunting club, this was the best organized food centered event that I have ever attended in our little village. No, I mean, the best organized event ever! The club members thought of everything – starting with arrows and signs letting you know just where the event was. For years, I have whined about the lack of audience or tourist considerations. This group rocks and understood how to help everyone enjoy the night.

We got down to the covered market and joined the line to enter. The line flowed like a fast moving stream. We paid our €10 each, got a ticket and were whisked along. (Signage let us know exactly what to expect.)

A tray was placed in front of us, first stop – wine! That glass of full bodied red would be perfect with cinghiale. (You could also buy a bottle.) The tray slid down the counter and a club member filled a bowl with cavateli smothered in sauce teaming with chunks of boar. He pushed the tray on to the next station. A local hard roll – wrapped in plastic so no sticky fingers touched it – landed on the tray. Next stop, a scoop of cinghiale slowly braised with onions and garlic filled a tray cutout. That must be enough for ten bucks right? Nope. The final cutout on the tray was for an enormous scoop of cinghiale that tasted like it had marinated in wine and was slowly cooked with tomatoes and herbs. OMG it was ottimo, the best.

Well organized assembly line.

My neighbors – Nunzia and Amadeo – waved us over and created spots for us. The place was already full and tables had reserved signs. I had a chance to look around and appreciate the transformation the market space had undergone. Cafeterias style tables were set up and covered in yellow table clothes. Lots of them had reserved signs. I was happy that Nunzia called us over. The club had fashioned the cassa – place you pay – assembly line and enclosed kitchen at one end of the enormous space. The other side of the open space was the realm of Gabrielle Palladino, Pontelandolfo’s true renaissance man. He is an accomplished author of numerous books, a singer and theatre professional. He is also works in city hall. As they chowed down, the music he played and sang entertained the crowd.

The food was “to die for” and the convivial surroundings made the evening a spectacular success. After we finished eating, we didn’t want to leave. But the long line of hungry people waiting to come in, made me realize we should let them turn the table. The efficient volunteers had been coming around and bussing tables around us. What shall we do? Grab a bottle of wine and dance the night away!

Young, old all enjoying a wonderful night together.

The hunting club is housed in the old village nursery school. They get it for very little rent or free but maintain it and pay all the bills. La Squadra Cinghiale Lido is an asset to the village. Wild boars are really destructive and seem to multiply like rabbits. They have even taken over streets in Rome. My fantasy is that the organization also form a cooperative and get licensed to hunt beyond the season and sell the meat. I would be the first in line. Grazie La Squadra Cinghiale Lido for a perfect Pontelandolfo evening.

Ci vediamo!


Every year on September 12th, I remember where I was the day before. To deal with my own sadness, fears and sense of loss, I started writing a play. The play I wrote, Email: 9/12 was based on the emails I received from friends and family around the world. It tells the story of 9/11 from very personal perspectives. It hit me today that the youngest members of my extended family weren’t even born when the Twin Towers went down. I’ve shared my play with them. The play would be a wonderful component for any social studies or history class and a catalyst for discussion. It is published by Next Stage Press.