November 29, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

the buckets have all rustedchristmas 2015 – prologue 1
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buckets-rustToday is the first Sunday of Advent. In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve.

For the posts in the Christmas 2015 category, I’m going to use the lyrics from the Va pensiero chorus from Nabucco and the biblical prophesies for titles and starting-off points.

Isaiah 7:14 – … behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she shall call his name Emanuel. I am far removed from all this mumbo-jumbo to actually look at it the same way I look at Greek mythology. Gone are the days of miracle and wonder. The bomb in the baby carriage is real and religion its detonator.

This new day started with Thanksgiving when I made the conscious decision to turn of the boob-tube. What I found was that without its incessant droning, without the broadcast sentimentality, without the push to eat, to shop, without the religiosity, without it being ON its mind-altering suggestions were silenced.

Forget Isaiah, Bradbury is the real prophet. Fahrenheit 451 – Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of facts they feel stuffed, but absolutely brilliant with information.


December 2, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

memory – so precious and so fatalchristmas 2015 – prologue 2
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R&G2015 073

The title is a line from the chorus Va pensiero from Nabucco.
O membranza si cara e fatal!

It’s my opinion that in this context, the word precious is closest in meaning to the Italian cara. I kept fatal as an antidote to the residue of precious.

In memory, Christmas isn’t all that interesting. It took years to shuffle the various families into a routine. And the blending of Italian foods and Canadian dishes never really worked. We’ve settled on two separate menus with enough left-overs to refill the fridge.

Our current routine is to celebrate Christmas Eve at my aunt-and-uncle’s. This has only 8 people and many traditional Italian dishes. Christmas is at my parents’ and I do the Canadian dishes – turkey, stuffing, cranberry, gravy. My mother does the soup, the lasagna; my dad does the vegetable, the salad, the fruit and the chestnuts. This meal has anywhere between 17 and 20 people representing seven related families.

Gift exchange used to happen after midnight on the 24th, but since Jo’s passing it’s been moved to after dinner on the 25th. I’ve removed myself from the gift-giving and instead donate to the Canadian Cancer Society in the name of my niece-and-nephew, my aunt and my sister. (There are years when I have something worth giving. This year Connie is getting three interesting items, all re-gifts. I think she will like them.)


December 4, 2015 8th grade, christmas, diario/journal

deck the hallschristmas 2015 – prologue 3
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Door-WreathIt’s been a while since I decorated for Christmas and I’m going to use this as an opportunity to weed out ornaments and other chach. I have three huge boxes filled with nut-crackers that haven’t seen the light of days in years. I wonder how they’ve held up.

The image on the left is of the vestibule. I always put the wreath on the inside of the door that way I get to see it. (Putting it on the outside means I only see it when I’m outside. Nah!) I have a second wreath on the kitchen door. It took a while to get the image; I had to take a bunch before I figured out what I wanted and once I decided I wanted the whole door and the whole vestibule, the blue frame in the floor-tile and no transom, then I had to move some things to minimize the number of lines. (I like having the hall-wall and the picture in the upper right, the frame outside the doors matches all the other rectangles in the two doors.)

It’s amazing to research wreaths and to find that they’ve been part of human symbology since the Ancients. Wreaths has been used at funerals since at least the time of Ancient Greece. Evergreen wreaths were laid at the burial place of early Christian virgin martyrs, the evergreen representing the victory of the eternal spirit over death. My first memory of a wreath was in 8th grade at St. Veronica’s. Each Monday in December, Sister Drusilla would march us out to the hall; we would line up on either side of the corridor and we would participate in the Advent ritual of lighting one of the purple candles on the wreath she had placed on a small table. This was followed by the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel.


December 5, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

a righteous branchchristmas 2015 – prologue 4
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OrnamentsI’ve always know the various terms associated with Christ and Christmas and that they were part of the prophetic literature of the Old Testament, but I’ve never actually read any of the prophesies in context. The branch reference is from the Book of Jeremiah 33:14-16 – … in those days and at that time, I will cause a righteous branch of David to spring forth and he shall execute justice and righteousness … Amazing how male everything is and how men have been able to maintain this patriarchy for over two thousand years. Let’s not forget that the virgin prophecy denies women their power of procreation reducing them to mere passive vessels.

Is the root of tension in the modern world really about the assault on male power and supremacy? In fifty years when historians look back at this time, is that what they are gonna identify as the basis for the mess, the march to war? Currently, the tension is discussed in terms of oil, guns and Christianity – all male symbols. Rarely does anyone point out that if the woman running for president of the most powerful modern empire wins, the patriarchy will be lost. Let’s not forget that paragon of maleness – Henry VIII – gave way to Elizabeth who ushered in a new world empire. Will a female American president usher in a new world order? What are all those male-centered theocracies and monarchies gonna do if the US president is a woman? Will they ban together and oppose her at every turn like the Congressional Republicans did against the first African-American president?


December 10, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

has time rewritten every linechristmas 2015 – prologue 5
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R&G2015 072In a small shop, in the Strip, I found an old glass ornament. ornament The shape is what I remember as the treetop ornament I always used when I was putting up the tree in my parents’ house. (The surprise was that something that once cost under a dollar ended up costing me $10.00.) I always rejected stars or angels for the top of the tree, that was for everyone else, but once Connie took over the decorating, a red garland star covered the top branch. It’s a convoluted memory, given that I no longer put up a tree. The last time I put up a tree was in the mid 70’s – almost 40 years ago.
JOHAN GALTUNG: It’s an effort to try to externalize, to say that there are enemies abroad that are trying to get at us, instead of saying the obvious, namely that we have made a construction, and that construction is dying … If you try to dominate the world economically, militarily, politically and culturally at the same time, and then having these four support each other, it cannot last for a long time. And that’s the phase we are in now. Now, in that period, there will be fascist reactions. It’s not impossible that it could be a military coup in the US from the right, not impossible within this period.

The above is a excerpt from an interview on – Democracy Now.

Johan Galtung is a Norwegian sociologist, mathematician and the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies. He has spent the past half-century pursuing nonviolent conflict resolution in international relations. His latest book is called The Fall of the US Empire, in which he predicts the collapse of the American empire. However, the decline of the US empire does not imply a decline of the US republic, and the “relief from the burden of Empire control and maintenance…could lead to a blossoming of the US Republic”


December 17, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

there shall come a starchristmas 2015 – prologue 6
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aprigliano-starThe star prophecy is from the Book of Numbers 24:17 – I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel …

The image on the left comes from one of the Apriglianesi that I keep in contact with. He posted it on his FB page. The festival street-lights are no longer restricted to the religious celebrations, in Aprigliano they were used only for the feast of La Madonna di Portosalvo, in mid-September. But as evidenced in the pic, they are now also used at Christmas time. The star in the image is in one of the vinelle – small medieval alleys – that crisscross the town. The abundance of modern Italy has replaced the lean times and the poverty that my parents grew up with. For them the shortages created by the War were the standard, not the incessant push to shop and buy and decorate that TV now proselytizes. (Why am I being such a curmudgeon? The street-light star shows that for those who stayed behind, for those who didn’t rush off in search of the gold-paved streets of America, life turned out OK. They have all the conveniences and the accouterments that their expatriate friends and relatives have in modern day Canada in consumerism America.)

When I was a kid, Christmas was about the bonfire at the church piazza and food and candy. The small tree my Dad cut was decorated with oranges, persimmons, tangerines and different brands of torrone. Most of these were gifts that friends and family brought when they came to visit the days before Christmas. And on the 25th I could eat all these seasonal and exotic things. The other Christmas tradition was a presepio, but we didn’t have one. Only the better-off families seemed to have the nativity figurines. I remember one of the kids down in Corte, her family had a presepio and she organized all the younger kids to go out and collect moss so she could create a landscape for the figurines.


December 20, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

  a sweet wine to start the seasonchristmas 2015 – 1st entry
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positoThe drive to Rose-and-Derrick’s was easy and with the sun. Also, Sundays mean no rush-hour traffic. And I’m getting more familiar with 696 East and Telegraph Road as and alternate to potholed I-75, cancer-alley and the heavy traffic through Detroit. Telegraph-Road/Michigan-24 parallels I-75, but it’s a much more pleasant drive. (I don’t know how to do this route going south. I’ll have to check with Derrick. I wonder if it’s the Square Lake exit on I-75 South?)

After supper, Rose decided to pull out the Passito wine she bought when we were in Umbria, in 2005. We had gone out to eat at this very nice restaurant. The place was in a converted post-office a bit out of town. Spoleto was a great place and I’d go back.

Passito is made from dried grapes. The grapes are usually dried on straw mats or left on the vine until almost raisin-like. The drying concentrate the grape juices. The technique dates back to pre-Roman times. The resulting wine is sweet and similar in density to a Sauternes. Needless to say, we finished the small bottle. (It’s a 375 ML bottle.) It was a great way to begin the holiday season.

The grappa box in the image is from San Marino. We had gone there in 2005 and Rose-and-Derrick bought many items at the duty-free in the small principality.


December 23, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

  a blond jesus in the basementchristmas 2015 – 2nd entry
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Jesus1I spent the morning with Domenic Belsito, known to everyone locally at Mo. (I cannot bring my self to calling him that, because it reminds me of one of the three stooges, but the nickname really comes from the Italian diminutive for Domenico – Mimmo.)

His youngest son bought an old church in the west-end of town and is slowly renovating it into six apartments. The image on the left is on the basement wall. The painting is easily 7-feet X 10-feet. Kevin has had it appraised and it has a decent value, but the size makes it hard for anyone to buy it.

The renovation is creating some great spaces in the old church. Kevin and his family will live in one of the apartments during the winter months. They now have two small boys and need to be in town during the winter months. Their home on Trout Lake is beautiful, but the location makes it a difficult place to access during the winter months. We drove to their house on the Lake and the road was covered in ice and melting snow. And there are some difficult hills and curves on this private road. (The City Road to the lake is well maintained, but the road that leads to the cottages around the lake is the responsibility of the residents and that maintenance is inconsistent. Because not all cottage owners are year-round residents it’s been difficult to assess everyone equally and pay for the upkeep and snow removal.) The area is a micro-climate and even though the city was experiencing a very mild no-snow December, up at Trout Lake, the land was covered in snow.

The images I shot from the decks overlooking the lake were not crisp. The weather was so warm that the lake and its environs were shrouded in mist.


December 25, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

    il mio bellissimo paese, 30 anni fachristmas 2015 – 3rd entry
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san-leonardoGiovanni Covello, one of the Apriglianesi that I keep in contact with through FB, posted the image and the title – my beautiful hometown, thirty years ago.

It’s Aprigliano’s emblematic church – San Leonardo. Its campanile can be seen from anywhere in the valley and from any hilltop. It’s not my family’s church, rather it’s the church of the generation that didn’t leave Aprigliano and made a life for themselves in post-war Calabria. My cousins, the Femias, live very close to the church. Mario and Tonina raised their family in this new section of Aprigliano.

As much as the image has been doctored, it still suggests a snowfall that doesn’t stay long. You can almost see it melting. When we were kids, my mother and everyone else, would rush out and collect the freshly fallen snow in a bowl and add a vino cotto – a sweet wine made from the grape juice of the first press. The juice was heated in a large pot and reduced to a half or a third of the original volume and then fermented. My mother would drizzle the vino cotto onto the snow to make a sorbet-like treat – scirubetta. The Passito we had at Rose-and-Derrick’s reminded Rose and I of the scirubetta our parents used to make with the first winter snows, here in Northern Ontario. There’s a great YouTube video of an old Italian making – scirubetta. He adds fig-honey to the snow. Fig-honey was not something anyone in my family made; they made the scirubetta with the sweet dark red-wine.


December 25, 2015 8th grade, christmas, diario/journal

christmas hyperactivitychristmas 2015 – 4th entry
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ingribelliThe image on the right is of the house that the Ingribelli family lived in when I was living here in the far north. The family that I knew is all gone. Frank, who was my age, died of an aneurysm when he was in his early twenties. Dave the youngest died of cancer last year. I vaguely remember the dad; he died before I left. The mom was a big woman, but her life was never the same after Frank passed away. The Ingribelli were related to us through my grandmother and I remember visiting in this house. (The house has since been renovated, but my mom had no problem identifying it. I was walking the neighborhood and when I saw the house, I shot it.)

Prepping for dinner and the incessant Christmas phone calls made the morning a whirlwind. At 7:00 am, my dad got a call from his cousin in Pietrafitta. (Pietrafitta is the next town over from Aprigliano.) This made his day. My paternal grandmother and his cousin’s mother were sisters. The two of them are probably the only remaining Capisciolti from that generation. (Capisciolti was my grandmother’s family name.) From there we moved to my father’s obsession about getting the tables brought in from the garage. Knowing how he can get OCD squared during the prep for Christmas dinner, I let him know last night, that Derrick and I would take care of the tables. Forget that, by 9:00am he was in the garage and had taken down the long table and carried it to the side-door. (This is a 90-year-old, riddled with arthritis, hard-headed Calabrese.) It was only my insistence that he stop with the craziness that got any slow-down. Derrick and I had the table down by 10:30 and it sat there until 2:30 when I set it for dinner.

My mother’s version of Christmas anxiety is to tell me to call all her friends’ children. Her friends and their children are people that I rarely see, but that didn’t seem to deter her. I should call all her friends’ children and wish them Merry Christmas. I didn’t. In addition to this hyper sentimentality, let’s not forget her incessant suggestions of things I need or should eat. (The pushing of food lives side-by-side with us teasing Dave to no end, because he has gained weight.)


December 26, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

the big lake they called gitche gumeechristmas 2015 – 5th entry
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Maki-RoadIt’s Boxing Day. The term comes from an old British custom. Since servants and tradespeople had to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants were given the next day off to visit family and celebrate the season. The masters/employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses and sometimes leftover food. And here we are today, celebrating the legacy of reward and recycling; the legacy of Downton Abbey. Aren’t them Brits the best?

I drove out to Connie’s cottage, because I wanted to collect more blue-rocks to put around the base of the Scotch Pine in my back-yard.

The Red Rock area is very close to town and access is straight down Maki Road. Seven kilometers in and the view from this small rise is spectacular. It’s the last elevation before the flats and the lakeshore road with the cottages. It was a spring-like morning and I stopped the car and shot the scene. It’s Lake Superior at the end of the road. On the horizon is Ile Parisienne an island in the south-eastern channel of the biggest and deepest of the Great Lakes. The Ojibwe/Chippewa call the lake gichi-gami  meaning great sea. And Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the name as Gitche Gumee  in The Song of Hiawatha. (The poem is American Romantic literature, not Native oral tradition.)

Connie, Rose, Derrick and I came back to my parents’ for a lunch of left-overs and newly fried shrimp. We were able to convince Mr. Zinga to postpone cooking the shrimp until today. And even then, he had them breaded and fried by 7:00 this morning. (My mother is convinced that my dad believes all food should be served cold.)


December 26, 2015 christmas, diario/journal


a hazy shade of winterchristmas 2015 – 6th entry
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For the first time in ages, there is no snow here in Northern Ontario. And in the last week, the sun broke through the cloud-cover for about half-hour this morning. It has been a week of gray days. The above image is of the Haviland Bay area just north of Connie’s cottage at Red Rock.

I like shooting the misty gloom, it reminds me of the long trudge that was winter when I lived here. So, it was a surprise when Mo reminded me that life is different at this latitude. Winter-gray means warm weather and snow is part of live so you need to lose your fear and trepidation of the white stuff and of snow-covered roads. The road around Trout Lake was covered in snow-and-ice and he just drove. I was ready to turn around as soon as I saw the first hill and the first 900 turn. He continued as if we were driving on pavement. He also described driving in the tracks of a transport as a strategy for highway-driving in bad weather. I want nothing to do with winter and the accommodations the cold and snow demand. The older I get, the more I dislike winter.


December 28, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

on the road again – the drive homechristmas 2015 – 7th entry
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Section One – 52 miles
Sault Ste Marie to St. Ignace

Crossing back into the US is always a struggle, not as bad as the Peace Bridge in Buffalo or the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. But the International Bridge on the American side has no NEXUS lane and a weird plaza design.

Section Two – 66 miles
St Ignace to Gaylord

This includes crossing the Mighty Mackinac. The Bridge is beautiful, however the railings are very low and it’s easy to feel like you’re floating above the Straits. I have to keep my eyes straight ahead, because looking around me is terrifying. And to make the crossing even harder, the inside lane is a grate and driving on it is even more disconcerting than the outside lane with its almost absent railing.

Section Three – 28 miles
Gaylord to Grayling

This is a winter nightmare and a micro-climate. The weather in this section can close I-75. There have been years where I waited at Rose-and-Derrick’s for the snowfall and forecast to shift up here in the snow-belt before I headed up I-75.

Section Four – 42 miles
Grayling to West Branch

I stop at West Branch and gas up. In the spring and summer, I even stop and shop at the Eddie Bauer outlet.

Section Five – 65 miles
West Branch to Saginaw

The is the last section of I-75 with two lanes. And as I get closer to Saginaw, the rural, farmland begins to shift to light industry and shopping centers.

Section Six – 39 miles
Saginaw to Flint

This is the northern boundary of greater Detroit. The highway is now 10 lanes wide mainly because of the huge outlet mall – Birch Run. And I-475 is the beginning of the eastern direction of the trip.

Section Seven – 21 miles
Flint to Lapeer

Where I-475 goes through crumbling Flint, I-69 to Lapeer goes through suburban sprawl. The farmland has been converted to track-housing and strip malls.


December 29, 2015 christmas, diario/journal

anywhere but herechristmas 2015 – 8th entry
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map-of-michiganDom and I went walking a couple days ago and we got on the topic of expats. He’s always been disappointed that he hasn’t found a way to interact with the town where he was born. (The five of us visit family and that is our interaction with Sault Ste Marie.) This led me to make the statement that Sault Ste Marie and the state of Michigan share many similarities. Both are places that people leave and come back only to visit parents. None of my friends from high-school live in Sault Ste Marie; they have all left and now make their homes in southern Ontario; one has found his way to western Mexico. The city has lost close to 30,000 people since the mid-seventies. Also, I know several people who grew up in Michigan, but now live elsewhere and have never considered going back to The Wolverine State. Both groups of expats have some very successful people in them. The Sault Ste Marie expats include teachers, mid-level managers, agency directors, entrepreneurs …; the Michigan expats include architects, museum founder/directors, city-managers …

Dom believes that the weather and economic opportunities are the road-blocks preventing people from returning after college, after marriage. I also think the region has lost so much talent, that there’s a sense of stagnation everywhere one looks. And the stagnation stops the move back. Michigan on the other hand, has always been a rough and at times mean place. The 1960’s riots destroyed Detroit. And the sentiments and divisions that fueled that rage are still in evidence today. Look at what the Governor’s Office has done with the water supply in Flint; look what the Governor did to the elected mayors of Flint, Pontiac and Detroit.

In contrast, Pittsburgh pulls back its sons-and-daughters and when they return they make significant contributions to the civic life of the region.


December 30, 2015 christmas, diario/journal


bluestoneschristmas 2015 – 9th entry
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In the spring, I finally removed the bonsai pot that the Scotch Pine had grown through, but removing the pot exposed all the upper roots. I needed to protect the exposed roots and the tip of the root-ball now that the old plastic pot was gone. My solution was to bring back a couple buckets of the tiny bluestones from Connie’s cottage and use them around the gnarled roots.

When I go back, I’ll have to collect more of the small ones.


January 2, 2016 christmas, diario/journal

christian, maria and mariochristmas 2015 – 10th entry
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Christian-MariaChristian and Maria drove down to visit and we had a nice time. The last time Christian was here, he was 7 and the four of them – Dave, Jo’, Christian and Seane – spent their visit at Ross Park Mall. When we were talking about him and Maria coming down, he had no idea what they would do except go shopping. I explained that we would do the whole sight-seeing tour, but he had no sense what that meant. He was too young to remember; he did remember Kennywood Park.

I’m the only family member not to have met Maria and I was trying to find a way for us to meet when she was in from Nova Scotia. (The two of them graduated from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.) I even considered flying up to Toronto for the weekend, but that meant being there with no car and no way of visiting with Frank-and-Norma, Renato-e-Gina, Mary-Domenic-and-Alyssa. Flying in didn’t sound worth it.

We began with a walk from the North Side into town. This was through West Park, over the Fort Duquesne Bridge, through Point State Park and into Gateway Center. Once back on the North Side, we drove to the South Side and got on the incline.

After lunch at the Porch in Schenley Plaza, we walked the Pitt campus. When Maria saw the dinosaur outside the museum and I told her about the exhibit, we went in and did the gem and the dinosaur displays. (The last time I was in the museum to see these two exhibits, it was Frank, Norma and I walking through the jewelry cases and the reconstituted dinosaur skeletons.)


January 3, 2016 christmas, diario/journal

a male-only eventchristmas 2015 – 11th entry
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christmas-fireI find it odd to think back some 60 years and remember that I was living in Aprigliano and that my dad took me to see the Christmas bonfire. He had me on his shoulders as we walked from our house up to the church of Santo Stefano. I also remember that the days before Christmas Eve, someone came around and collected firewood from every family for the bonfire. The fire was lit on the small piazza in front of our parish church and it was nurtured through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Each parish had its own Christmas bonfire and if you had moved, you even went back to your old parish to view its bonfire. What I’ve learned since is that it was a male-only event. Both my mom and my aunt tell about not being allowed to go see the bonfire, because they were unmarried young women.

The image on the left is from a FB site for residents and expats from Aprigliano. There are several images of the bonfire; my favorites are of the old men in their white-plastic chairs sitting away from the sparks and heat of the bonfire. There are about 50 men in the Piazza and only two women. The men are well over 40; the two women are much younger and they are only interacting with a young man. Guess the old men still rule and the old traditions still hang on.

The fire in the image is in Piazza di Guarno, not at a parish church. Guess everywhere in the world centralization is the rule.


January 4, 2016 christmas, diario/journal


from JFO filmschristmas 2015 – 12th entry
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Text from JFO Films Facebook Page
Here are some stills from my first project! I’m creating a series of concept videos featuring dancers.
First up is PENSIVE, featuring the extremely talented Seane Thorman.
Shout outs to my amazing cinematographer, Michael Hitoshi Maddeaux, and support and assistance from Jessamine Fok – couldn’t have done it without you guys!
Note: The image posted on the JFO FB page is longer and has black bands above and below it. Given that I have space restrictions, I cropped off the right side and the black bands.


January 6, 2016 christmas, diario/journal

the thoughtful soul to solitude retireschristmas 2015 – last entry
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magi2The title is a quote from the poet Omar Khayyam from Reg Henry’s column in today’s PPG. The image is of the three Magi from the presepio Jo’ got me when her friend Pat went to Italy.

Twelvetide – the Twelve Days of Christmas – ends today. But for my relatives and Facebookers in Aprigliano the date marks the feast of La Befana and they have images of the old witch, albeit cute and colorful in her modern incarnation, all over their FB pages. (I want to find out if gift-giving in Italy has moved from the traditional January 6 date, the feast of the Magi, to the more American date of December 25.)

The Legend of La BefanaOn the evening of January 5, legend has it that the three wise men knocked on La Befana’s door while looking for the child Jesus. She let them come in, but when asked to go with them to visit the baby, she said she was too busy. Later she regretted her decision and ran out of her house with a broom in hand and gifts for newborn child, but was never able to catch up to the Magi. Today she is still looking for the baby Jesus so she gives all children gifts every eve before Epiphany.

gold-sockMy favorite quote is from my cousin Alessandra – non si è mai troppo grandi per aspettare la befana – the sentiment is that you’re never too old to hang a stocking by the fire and believe that La Befana will stuff it full of gifts. I’m assuming that the image is of her Befana stocking by the fireplace at her Dad’s house. (I particularly like the small, unraveling threads at the bottom of the opening. It must be an old, beloved sock. Wonder if it’s the sock from when she was a child. Is it the sock her Mom and Dad – my cousins Mario e Tonina – hung by the fire when she still believed La Befana brought gifts?) Dag! I remember using one of my Mom’s old socks, because it was the longest and biggest sock we had in the house. It was a plain woolen winter sock. It had no gold thread or fancy embroidery.

Henry’s column is about a long ago time – 1977 – when the first Star War movie premiered; when we were all young enough to believe in gifts and wonder.