patron saints

On September 11th, in the airport in Naples, while Paola struggled tirelessly to get us home, while I cried and K fretted and security officials moved us from place to place, Paola said:
Oh, bb, I had two gifts made for you and K and they are not ready yet.
I don't remember what I said.
Her kindness was overwhelming, I was focused on getting home - she had already done so much for us and there she was dealing with the airlines, fretting with us and proving herself a friend in deed AND need. I just couldn't fathom how she could do more....

A few weeks ago, she emailed me to say that Fabio's uncle J had been visiting and that he would bring our gifts back to a town near Tuvalu. He manages a restaurant, she told us, and we should go have some dinner and pick up our package.

Weeks passed. K and I never managed to get to Uncle J's restaurant - until Friday night.
There were hiccups in our plans as we fetched children and K returned emails and phone calls, but we finally got in the car and drove a bit to meet Uncle J.

restaurant2

We got a parking space RIGHT IN FRONT of the restaurant.
Don't underestimate the value of this.

I had thought the restaurant would be a pizzeria. I don't know why I expected that, but I was dead wrong. Sure, there was a pizzeria in the very front of the building, but as we asked for J we were taken through a series of rooms packed with happy diners.

J was in the larger, more luxurious part of the establishment.
And he was a delight.
Happy to see us, thrilled to speak about his visit to Positano, anxious for us to eat.
We had a quiet table in the corner. He checked on us from time to time, but left us to ourselves to enjoy our meal.

no cell

Not a cell to be had at the table in the corner. No one could bother us (which did mean that K's sound man got a slightly tipsy phone call at ten pm) so we had plenty of time to eat and enjoy our time.

wine

Uncle J sent a lovely bottle of wine. We drank all but a drop.

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It was a great place to sit and look at people. All around us people were celebrating and laughing and eating terrific meals. Aromas wafted around us.

 meat

The decor was just right. Old world mixed with comfortable and new.

menu

Upstairs were more rooms for parties. I would love to have a party there...

I had some eggplant and broccoli rabe. LOVE THE BROCCOLI RABE.
K ordered mussels.

mussels

I ate every bite of my meal. So. Good.
But, BUT: I have never in my life witnessed K eat they way he did that night.
As he started on the mussels I was concerned. He kept telling me that the chef had done something different, that he couldn't put his finger on what was in the sauce.
I feared that this meant he didn't like the sauce.
But I couldn't be more wrong.
He adored the sauce, and it was fennel.
He savored and enjoyed and sopped up every teeny bit of his meal.
He would have licked the plate if not for the attentive bus boy who removed it quickly.

eggplant


So, the meal?
Wonderful.
Uncle J?
Delightful.

And our gifts?

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necklace use

I have no words.
Extraordinary isn't enough. Beautiful doesn't do them justice. Thoughtful can't capture it.

I feel like I have a sister in Positano.
And that I met her here, through a photo of Youngest, is inspiring.


Comments

tut-tut said…
Oh, I'm very happy for you! It's amazing what transpires because of one's blog.
paola said…
I am so happy that it all turned for the best. AS I read the beginning of the post, my mind ran back to THAT morning which (obviously) none of us will ever forget. But in the long run, the fact that the Madonnas weren't ready lead you to uncle J and the restaurant. If K was so impressed with the mussels, it only means they were good.
Yes, that gorgeous shot of Youngest brought me to you. It's always Youngest, from the very beginning.
Thank you for your lovely words.
Keetha said…
What a lovely postcard from your trip.
Who She She said…
Whenever anyone asks me "Why blog?", I can point them to this post. It's all about connections. What a beautiful gift.
I just love how our blogs lead us to meet new people and add them to our extended families. That our blogs lead us on new adventures, where we travel and explore --both close to home and far afield. And that our blogs lead to delightful gifts from far away. What a remarkable evening you had and now you have a lovely reminder of your few days in paradise.
Alice said…
Just lovely, friends like these...
Annagrace said…
How wonderful...like I often say, friends are the family you get to choose.

Those mussels (and the gifts)--amazing...
Birchsprite said…
So lovely
Geggie said…
Wonderful. I want my own Paola. She is surely the patron saint of bb.
Amy A. said…
A good friend always knows just what will suit.

I hope you will get back to finish your visit with Paola someday.
Joke said…
1- That wine is a REALLY, REALLY good. (i.e., it'd scare you if you know how good)

2- I totally nailed the fennel. Don't ask me why this pleased me so much.

3- Now I am aching to go to Positano.

-J.
islaygirl said…
Gorgeous and amazing. I love those kind of meals, i can think of 4 or 5 in my whole life -- the ones that go on for hours and everything is perfect and you're just floaty and happy. i'm so glad you enjoyed yourselves.
alice c said…
It is only fair that you have a patron saint of your own - because YOU are practically the patron saint of Blogland.
jo said…
The Saint is so beautiful and your review of the restaurant, everything a chef could want.
I see those mussels having a repeat in the Tuvaluan kitchen sometime soon.
RW said…
Lovely.
Kim said…
The word and indeed term, 'yum', seems appropriate on so many levels.
margalit said…
Is that the Patron Saint of Blogging? If not, it should be! It's gorgeous. Just beautiful.
jenny said…
So, so beautiful.
Joke said…
P.S. For those who are not Catholic-conversant -- those who are may go retrieve a lovely beverage for the moment -- the saint in question is the Virgin Mary holding an infant Jesus.

"I'll take thermodynamics for $500, Alex."