Pedara, a village on the slopes of Etna has seen us as vacationers since the late 1960s.
My family spent all summers and Sundays in the cottage outside the town to pamper those plants that the gardener cared for during the week.
My childhood memories leave space in my mind for many flashes such as dinners with relatives, who alternated with friends because in the house there was always a place for everyone, even if it was a small house.
We often saw guests arriving without being expected with the same excuse. We were living a life that saw us “survive” without the intrusiveness of telephone communication, also because the town had no telephone.
But we lived healthy and happy anyway, and the friends had the same excuse: “we came to collect two figs”!
The Blessed Tree has given us its fruits, very sweet and large, without ever receiving much care at all. Until a couple of years ago, when a colony of army ants decided one morning to bring it down … how sad, what hurt and what a shame!!!
But a branch survived and it has already been grafted for future generations!
September, the last two weeks before school starts.
I clearly remember the second Sunday, the one that coincided with the Monza Grand Prix, so to speak. After everyone showed attention at the start, by the first chicane they were all already dozing from the breeze blowing from the dining room window.
They slept on the green checked sofa that hosted many, many friends, ending its days triumphantly only a few years ago, after it having known the latest generation !!
The air was now that of September, fresh but not cold, my favourite time of the year, which had left behind the sultry and dry month of August. I remember that at the age of about 5, I tried to escape without ever being able to walk to the gate, if a lizard passed in front of me along the path…
The same Sunday in September coincided with the feast of Maria SS. Annunziata patroness of Pedara, and the previous evening we went around mingling with the Pedarese who, proud of their heartfelt celebration, talked to each other among the band’s stalls and concerts.
Meanwhile, as joyful children, we jumped on the rides or tasted a simple cotton candy, coveted and desired by all the children at village festivals.
The walk home was tiring because it had the bitter taste of something finished. But still we had a serene feeling of great freedom that the too big city of Catania did not allow, if not in the neighbourhood where I lived.
The holiday ended with the image of grandfather, and then of dad, who watered the plants including the splendid fuchsia, yellow, white, multicolours of the bella di note, which opened just to be admired.
A sunset with the wonderful smell of jasmine that told of the peace of those glimpses of late summer.