Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cassy's Corner

Cassy's Corner- The Unexpected

I arrived in Italy on Sunday. As I have said before, it's one of my all time favorite places. We have a house here, so coming and going is reasonably simple. Or so I thought until last night.
I haven't made it to the grocery store yet, which translates to very little food on hand. Jet lagged and a little foggy in the brain, I decided that I'd go up the hill to a tiny trattoria I enjoy. Mensano is a town that maybe, just maybe has 150 people living there. There is one tiny restaurant (don't try and buy bread or milk anywhere in town- doesn't exist). But, the restaurant has a wonderful vegetable soup, perfect for a chilly December evening. They are open seven days a week, except for when they are closed. Last night, no lights were on.

Not a problem, I thought. I know of another spot about 20 minutes away that would be great. After all, I am here alone and always ready for an adventure. Plus a bowl of soup was really what I wanted.

I drove to my next destination. Another local spot that is always open. Again, all the lights were off. Ready to give up on soup and settle for a scrambled egg, I turned the car around in the gravel parking lot. This is a very rural area. No street lights. Few cars passing by. Though, there is the occasional wild animal. And, there is a ditch. A ditch large enough to swallow the front end of my car.

So, create the picture of a tired woman now saying words that no one should be allowed to hear with nearly half of her car nose forward. There was nothing I could do. Before I had time to become even more frustrated with myself a man was knocking on the passenger's window. He quickly stood back when he saw how startled I was, then motioned for me to trust him. Within minutes there were five men surrounding the car.

They pushed, pulled, and shoved my little vehicle but to no avail. I was stuck. In Italy nothing is done without a lot of conversation. I'm not sure if one could accomplish anything without first arguing, discussing and convincing another why your approach is truly the best. My situation was no different. I had five elderly men smoking, yelling, and telling each other how to get my car out of the ditch. Remember all of this is in Italian. My Italian is passable, but wasn't up for this situation. So now add in a lot of gesturing.

One man stomped off, returning with his car and a giant cord. He attached the cord to his car and then argued for a good five minutes as to where it should be tied to my car. Three of the men stood on my car to pull the rear end down. One man pushed from the front. The fifth man drove his car with the cord stretched. I put my car in reverse. "Slowly, slowly," they all yelled, probably fearing that I'd be successful and they'd topple from my roof.

My car screamed as it came out of the ditch. All the men, no one under the age of 70, jumped up and down with pleasure at their success. After we had finished congratulating each other I reached for my wallet. After all they had done, it was the least I could do.
They adamantly refused my offer. The five men were lined up grinning at my car. Hugging is a national past time in this country. So, I thanked each man individually with a hug. The last man gave my cheek a kiss.

In the pitch black with no help in sight, I have no idea where these men came from. They just appeared. I am not sure how they got me out of that ditch. But they did. And I have no way to thank them other than sharing the story and hoping they know how much they mean to me.


Kristan Higgins said...

Oh, Cassy, what a fantastic story! Loved the line, "They're open 7 days a week, except when they're not." Viva Italiano! (Also, to Kari: congratulations on your first signing!)

Cassy Pickard said...

Kristan: Thanks for stopping by! it's always a grand adventure here. And, hopefully good fodder for the next story.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Thanks Kristan! The cookies helped :-)

And Cassy, wow! Only you, my friend :-) You have so many stories that could many stories! Now go write them.

Cassy Pickard said...

Kari: You are right. I seem to always be coming around the corner and making some crazy discovery. I think Jon says a prayer or two as I walk out the door. Last night when we talked on the phone he literally said, "Okay, what's today's story? I hope it's better than the one with the men standing on the car." AND, I hope the car rental man doesn't happen to read this blog!

Donna Cummings said...

Cassy, I loved that story! Although I can't imagine what it was like BEING a party of that story. :) (And I hope you got some food finally!)

I've been in a couple of "car situations" where people appeared out of nowhere to help, and before I could thank them, they disappeared just as quickly. Kind of guardian angels, I guess. :)

Hope you have a great time in Italy--with even more stories to tell us!

Liz Lipperman said...

Cassy, what a great story. Being alone is a foreign country with no all-night Wal Mart must be an adventure. And you always find a way to make an adventure out of it.

The only story I have was once when the kids were little and it was my first night in Saudi Arabia. For some reason, Dan couldn't stay with us that first night, and I made the mistake of starting Stephen King's "Salem's Lot." I stayed up all night with my rosary beads in my hand and all the lights on, afraid not to finish the book.

So, did you ever get your soup?

Lindsay said...

Cassy, if anyone else had written that adventure I'd say it was the opening for a mystery. But since it's you I know the story has to be real.
Buy the way, did you ever get something to eat that night.

Wolfgang A. Mozart said...

I once spent a night in Borthwick Castle with the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots...

Mary Martinez said...

I agree with Kristan, I pictured it perfectly. What an adventure.

Thanks for sharing.

Cassy Pickard said...

You guys are so funny. Nope. No food that night. Well, that's slightly not true. I ate a kiwi with a glass of red wine.

Sometimes I wonder if adventure finds me or if I am too stupid to avoid a romp with the wild side.

Now it's 5:30 at night for me. 11:30 am on the east coast. I'm going to put a fire in the huge fireplace and read someone else's writing.

I will check back. So, do let me know what adventures have captured your imagination.

Mary Martinez said...

Doesn't wine just go with everything?

Enjoy your fire!

Lindsay said...

Cassy, I always thought that kiwi went better with a white not a red.

Cassy Pickard said...

Naw, Lindsay. You drink the best wine you have- red or white. None of that "worry what is the right thing" bit.

Anita Clenney said...

Great story, Cassy. You could write a wonderful book based on your Italian adventures.

kourtneyheintz said...

Awesome story. I could picture the old Italian men congregating around your car. :)