We got up early hoping to see Nick and Angela before they’d leave. Madeleine was busting about as usual, but seemed especially busy this morning. “Oh, hey” she said upon seeing us. “Eric said he’ll teach a cooking class for you guys if you’re still interested.”“Yes.”
“He’s available tonight. Does that work for you?”
“Today is market day, later we can shop for the ingredients – that’s part of the experience”
“Okay then.” She smiled and disappeared into the kitchen.
My joy was short lived. Nick and Angela were not sitting at the table. Instead, another couple occupied their seats – Americans. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, but these people defined the term “Ugly American.” We hadn’t been seated thirty seconds before the woman started complaining about their room – she thought it “smelled old.” He bitched about the lack of parking for his rental car. They reminded me of distant relatives you only deal with out of obligation. Thankfully, they’d already finished their breakfast and had to run to catch a tour bus.
Good frick’n riddance.
After a few minutes of silence I heard Nick’s voice from the stairwell and jumped up. “You guys are still here!” I pulled out the freshly vacated chairs. “We thought you’d already left.”
“Just sleeping” Nick said, exaggerating his droopy eyelids. “We have something for you.” He unfolded a slip of paper. “Places you must see when visiting Italy.”
“The Cinca Terra isn’t on your list.” Donna noted.
He scrunched his face and looked at Angela, who was shaking her head. “Too many tourists.” Considering the torturous moments with that American couple, I was “all ears.” He pointed to the eastern shore of Italy – along the Adriatic Sea. “This is where we go.” I valued this review of Italy by Italians as gold. They described several more places then gave us their e-mail address.
“Nick?” I asked. “How do I say pleased to meet you in Italian?”
Nick seemed so excited to teach me this. “Phonetically – okay?”
“Pear – like the fruit.”
“Pia – like the actress (as in Zadora); “Cherry – like the fruit – “Pear – pia – cherry” he reiterated.
“Pear-pia-cherry” I repeated.
“Any Italian anywhere will appreciate hearing that”
When they said goodbye, I practiced my new phrase. “Pear-pia-cherry!” I said, shaking their hands. Nick laughed like a proud teacher and shook my hand with both of his. My delight in meeting them was shadowed by the sadness of them leaving.
* * *
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