Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bella Sicilia

One day, during some war or another in which his adopted homeland was involved, the Bear sailed off to do combat with the Saracens. (We won, so on to more interesting things.)

The Bear then settled into garrison duty with his family in occupied Sicily for a few years. He was a un colpo grosso in the piazza walking up and down, arm in arm with the leading men of the region. The Bear did not know if his popularity was because he was a Bear, or because of all his children. It depends on what the word stallone means, he guesses.

The Bear recently read a blog by an expat complaining about how her attempts to speak Italian were met in Sicily. She had majored in Italian, and was annoyed when Sicilians would furrow their brows in a show of incomprehension, or correct her pronunciation.

If the Bear had to guess, her problem was she was trying to be an Italian speaking Italian. We collected words for our vocabularies like pretty seashells and strung them together like primitive tribesmen to express our thoughts. We butchered their language, then served it up with overdone pasta, but by golly, it was an honest Sicilian dish. We lived in our village and learned the dialect of our neighbors.

Of course, when we went to Rome, we sounded like, "Wee doggies, Granny, them's some tasty possums ya'll got there." Heh. We were proud to be the Catania Hillbillies.

The funny thing is, Sicilians never seemed to mind our earnest efforts. Sicilians like Americans, especially Americans with a troupe of performing blond bimbi. Especially Americans with access to meat, liquor and cigarettes from the base exchange. Sometimes we were flat out shaken down, by, for instance, a shepherd who refused to move his nasty sheep off the road while mimicking smoking. More often we just participated in the informal economy and culture of goods and status.

As Dottore Bear, your narrator had the cachet of being American and the status of being a lawyer. It is difficult for egalitarian Americans to understand how status-conscious a culture can be.

In the Bear's extensive travels, he learned the whole idea of travel is to be someplace different. People will treat you as you expect to be treated and treat them in return.

Not to single out Germans, but madonn', they goose stepped off their tour buses in formation and occupied a trattoria. Then they complained, presumably that it was not exactly like Germany. The Bear found this to be true in more than one country. "Ve von this country fair und sqvare, und we have to eat after Belgians."

Sadly, he never got to Germany to return the favor. Come to think of it, they would have just shot him. Bruno + 2006. "The shooting has happened. The bear is dead." Wow, Manfred, shootings that just "happen," and animals that are "dead," with no linguistic connection is pretty cowardly if you ask the Bear. One moment please. (Bear steps into prototype teleporter and mauls Manfred Wolfl and returns.)

We found Sicilians to be warm and lovers of life's simple pleasures, as well as gray market goods once in awhile. The Bear would move back in a heartbeat, provided that it had not changed since the Battle of Lepanto or whatever had brought the Bear there to begin with. Unfortunately, Tunisians were a problem there before being assaulted by refugees was cool. The Bear suspects things have not changed for the better.

Oh, bother. Reynard has just dealt a death blow to Checkers, our rooster. A bold dastard. And no sooner does the Bear write the above than the predator is back. This time Red Death set the hounds on him. We used to be able to shoot stuff, but humans encroached all around the Bear's territory, making it tricky.

7 comments:

  1. Germans think that they're being helpful by pointing out flaws.

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    Replies
    1. Probably why they make such good cars. They do have a thing for precision.

      Delete
  2. I love Italians and Italy, if you're Catholic and haven't been to Rome, just GO. It will bring your faith alive, and you'll feel instantly connected to our ancestors in the faith. And besides, you'll get within feet of the remains of Peter and Paul....Venice and Assisi are pretty cool too. Hope to get to Sicily someday before the Muslims conquer it, Bear. How fortunate for you to have lived there. Most Italians speak fluent English, but really appreciate it when you at least try to speak Italiano.

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    Replies
    1. I've been a lot of places, but Sicily is truly special. The quality of the light, the colors, the textures - you're starting off with a feast for the senses unlike any other.

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  3. I am reading a lot into this, maybe more than you mean, but hey, different levels to revel.

    Was Checkers the scary rooster? God rest his crow.

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  4. Checkers was the brave nice rooster who went down defending his hens like a good rooster. The re pep reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated, however. His hens have rallied around their patriarch. We've got traps and lights and crossbows. We have lost two hen to Reynard. He boldly sits within the fence and shows no fear.

    ReplyDelete

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