Happy Fourth of July Friends!
(I was so busy making Pizzelles that I am posting this today.)
(above my husband Roberto and I at the celebration)
July 3rd, 2019
It is early evening and I am at my kitchen table admiring the fresh raspberry jam I just put in the jar and lined up ready for labeling at the end of the table. On the other end, I have set up an electric Pizzelle iron and a fresh batch of batter. As my mind drifts into the meditative process of pressing and gently removing the thin crisp anise flavored Italian wafer cookie, I admire the delicate pattern they create. Mindful of the iron, I get into a rhythm. I want to make enough for tomorrow’s Fourth of July celebration. We are celebrating the twenty seventh year of our little neighborhood’s parade, potluck and gathering of neighbors. I think of the four foot three woman who taught me to make Pizzelles. I can hear her voice behind my ear. “Not too long now, no one wants scorched anise!” Virginia Vallozzi was my neighbor and my friend. She was born in 1917. She understood better than any woman I have ever met how to be a good neighbor. She is my model for how you care for someone in your community. I walked many miles by her side through the farmlands where I grew up. She taught me to make Pizzelles, pasta, sauce, and the principles of good kitchen hygiene. Her family immigrated from northern Italy and she was the first generation that where American citizens. She was very proud of that. What her Mama and Papa had gone through to make sure she had a good life. She understood the small joys are the truest treasures life has to offer. As I check the recipe, I see her handwritten notes on how to make the proper Pizzelle and I am taken back to her kitchen, and her stories of how she made seventeen bushel baskets for her sister’s wedding. And then with much more melancholy, I remember the day she came to the back door with a bushel basket of Pizzelles and an enormous pan of lasagna, the day of my father’s funeral. …
Born the youngest of five children to older parents, my closest sibling was eight years my senior. I was born a weird, clumsy, gangly girl with knobby knees.
I was rarely aware of what was happening in the world around me.
I had my own little world and I sat in it with delight.
This is still true, I still dream while awake. Except now I am curvy, so are my knees, and I am mindfully aware of my need for space to dream, a need for a safe inner-space, a need for the mindfulness the NOW requires.
Once, I complained about this inability to retain attention in the world around me to a Zen Buddhist friend of mine. He said a meditative mind was the only way to a consistently aware self. …