Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"All creatures, great and small..."

On my little walk around town today, I met my friend Lorenzo at his enoteca that he is hard at work repairing, across the street from his family's restaurant, Ciak.  As we were chatting, I lamented that there was nothing for me to do today.  The work at the Cantina hadn't started, and the bed and breakfast consists of manual labor that I would cause more harm trying to do then good.  He was stumped for a moment, then remembered something.

"Ah! There is the benedizione of the animals at five o'clock!"
Look at the woman in the upper left window, with the best seat in the house

Sold.  Animal blessing in the piazza in front of the Chiesa in the old town it was.

Lorenzo explained, "You bring your pet, your animal - cat, dog, cow to the church and..." I interrupted, "Cow?  You bring a cow?"  "No," he laughed, then backtracked, "I mean, yes, you can, but you have to bring it here".

"The priest won't come to my cow?"

"No, no, you have to bring the cow here."

"Do you bring a cow?" I pressed, laughing.

"NO, I don't have a cow," he responded, amused but a exasperated.

"How would you even get a cow here?  In a truck?"

"Criiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.  I bring my cat.  My dad brings it.  You need to ask Manuel to find you a cat.  See you at 5".  He went back to work, fixing a window in the enoteca that is, by the way, coming along beautifully.

I call Manuel.

"Love, I need a cat".


"What?" Manuel asked, slowly, confused.

"There is the animal blessing today and we need an animal, do you have one?"

"Ah, yeah, I forgot that.  A cat? Nooooo", he answered, thinking.  "We have the turtle at my parents house, but I don't think it's a good idea to bring it."

Now, I was obviously kidding, but now I was the one amused that he was taking this request so seriously.

"Come here when you are done.  See you at 5.  Don't bring the turtle."

Lorenzo's dad, aka "Mr. Ciak" with their remarkable well-behaved cat
And so, I waited on a bench by the tunnel until 5, watching something similar to Noah's arc, as the animals and their owners started trickling into town for their blessing.  At 5, amidst some mild dog barking, birds, cats nestled safely in arms, and an array of dogs crowded in the piazza.  There were prayers, songs, treats, and laughs, as the town priest blessed the animals.  Like children at a baptism, dogs whimpered, confused at the sudden water droplets sprinkled on their noses.  Cats, well behaved, stayed silent and warm in the arms of their owners.  Birds chirped on, oblivious.  We were interrupted by dump trucks in the active re-construction of the Old Town several times before the procession moved inside and the crowd dispersed.  Everyone was smiling, and used to the interruptions.  Construction means there is work going on.  Work going on means things are getting done.
The day ended, again, with another beautiful sunset over Punta Mesco

Monterosso, amidst all this dust, mud, construction and hard work, can still come to a smiling stop as everyone takes a moment to remember their little friends who have suffered through this, as we all have.


  1. So did the turtle ever end up getting blessed? Heh, poor turtle! Nobody wanted him :(

  2. No, the poor turtle stayed in his tank. haha. Maybe next year when I'm better prepared.