Saturday, March 20, 2010

Even here, in Sicily...

Journal Entry
March 15th - Catania, Sicily

I am watching three young boys, about 10 or 11 years old, playing soccer in a pedestrian way that’s runs off the corner of some random piazza near the center of Catania. The youngest, more Indian looking and obviously the runt of the group, is stuck at goalie with the other two just unloading their hardest kicks at him. His goalie gloves are about three sizes too big for him. Big kid almost hit a lady walking by in the head with the ball! Close call. Nearby a group of older men, all with moustaches and goatees, hold bags of bread and talk about whatever relaxing subject that may come into their thoughts. They will soon have to return to their waiting wives who are slaving away in the kitchen for the evening’s meal. Until then they are content to observe the neighborhood and its people. The boys keep testing their luck, kicking the ball purposefully toward the traveler and his backpack. He seems to be writing something down. They chase a neighborhood girl with their football; she just popped out to tease them. The Arab owner of the Internet café just noticed his baby boy was brought there by his mother. He greets the infant with a large smile and gently lifts it up into the air to give him an honest look- “Has he really grown that much today?” Friendly parking police walk by and offer a pleasant smile. “Hey, kick the ball toward the foreigner again!” The gentile men continue to practice their art of people watching. A young, bearded man, with baggy dark pants, facial piercings, and a general “punk” look about him bothers a passer-by for a cigarette. Internet cafe owner stops his child from entering the street and then tosses him up into the air…the same way I imagine any father would. Stop the game- an old couple walks by- “game on!” and the tallest boy boots the ball once again. A woman on the balcony shakes out her jeans that have been drying in the still-cold spring sun. That same sun can now only be seen on a few rooftops in these evening hours. The clouds are still bright but few. The boys will keep playing all evening, but they know mom will call them in for dinner soon. Almost hit another woman walking by. A young man briskly walks down the street with his gaze down on the ground, talking on his cell phone. An old man slowly strolls down the same street behind him, taking his time. He reflects on the changes this part of town has seen over the years as he peacefully plays with the keys in his hand. The difference between generations still exists here in Sicily. The wife of the Internet café owner takes the children for an evening walk, and the father's heart aches while he dotes on them as they turn past the fountain and out of sight. Love of family still exists here in Sicily. The older kid takes the huge goalie gloves from the young Indian boy and decides to finally give it a try. In his first kick, the young runt scores on his taller counterpart. The bliss of childhood still exists, even here, in Sicily.

(My current farm, an Orange and Mandarin orchard, just north of Catania)

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