Waiting for the Bread Truck

The bench just outside the
village gate

Every morning around 10:00, a white van pulls up to the parking area in Benano.  The driver sounds his horn loud and long, then jumps out and runs around to swing open the van’s back doors and the women of the village buy their bread.  I arrived a little early yesterday, sat on a stone bench in the warm sunshine, worked on a baby sweater I’m knitting, and drank it all in.

Around the corner, just inside the village gate, Anna washed a huge tub of chicory at the public faucet. 

Giovanna came out of her door that’s across from the faucet, and chatted with Anna about not much of anything.

Outside the walls, Ida walked down the hill to deposit a bag of garbage in the bin in front of the bocce court and returned to the house she shares with her son and daughter-in-law, letting her gate clang behind her.

Ronaldo did what he does so well: sat on the stone wall in front of his house, exchanging pleasantries with whomever happens by.  (One of the many delights of my slowly improving Italian is being able to exchange such pleasantries.)

Two women, the youngish one supporting the very old one, trudged up the hill from the apartments and chatted with Ronaldo on their way by.

Ida came out again and joined me on the bench against the wall.  Soon, Giovanna and Anna emerged from around the corner and we all waited in amicable companionship.  I was surprised to learn that Giovanna is a very experienced knitter (she used to do piece work) and she still has a keen eye.  She spotted a mistake I was making.

I also learned that absolute fluency with a language is overrated.  Friendship overcomes lousy grammar and a limited vocabulary.


5 Comments on “Waiting for the Bread Truck

  1. Nothing better than the smell and taste of freshly baked bread. And, it sounds like you have become an Italian native…the villagers all welcome you. And who knew! The way to gain friends — the art of knitting! Thanks for this post, Karen!

    • Great writing, good friendships, a perfect Benano day…
      @Janet…You’ve clearly not tasted the bread before 😉

  2. Being one of the “elder” ladies who also sits on the bench awaiting the bread van when I am in Benano, I would add that it is probably the most “social” time of the day. One in which practically the whole village ventures forth and has time for a chat. They are very conscious too that the bread van is essential for their wellbeing (most don’t drive) and therefore always buy something, even if it is only a piece of pizza. They realize that the service could be terminated if business is too slow.

    As for the knitting, many of the ladies are expert knitters. They all have stories about sitting up half the night to meet deadlines. Now, even the sight of a knitting needle sends them into shock mode. But they did very, very sophisticated knitting for a very high class brand, which of course paid them nothing and made a huge profit.

    • Maggie, with their history, our Benano amiche probably wonder why on earth I would knit for enjoyment. Thanks for filling in the missing details.

      It’s also worth noting that our neighbors appreciate it when our guests patronize the vendors who come to town!

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