This grapevine is in my backyard. It is from Italy. My next-door neighbor, Marge, has lived in her house for over 50 years. Her in-laws brought her this grapevine from their home country. She talks about how the family drank wine for breakfast and it drove her crazy. Her husband was a craftsman, he installed terrazzo floors in dozens of malls across the midwest.
My grandfather is also from Italy. I never met him. Right now I have a picture of him on my refrigerator. He is holding my mother, who is a toddler in the photo, by the side of a country road. His car has been shined, his shoes have been shined and he is wearing a white cotton t-shirt. My mother looks surly, but its remarkable because she is alone with him, her six siblings did not come on this drive. I love their brown black eyes.
Each morning, I get the milk. I read out load the little label “il frigorifero” and then on the gallon “il latte”. Then I look at Grandpa Tony holding Mom and I say “Ciao, Nonno. Grazie.”
Last week I spoke to my Aunt for hours. She just visited Rome for the 2nd time, 40 years after the first time. I invited my friend Laura to help us practice the language. Both of them told me to remember to use my hands. This is the year I will remember to use my hands.