Monday, September 15, 2008


Every night of the six day Festa dello Sport promised to be fun, but we were really looking forward to Friday night for many reasons. One of the featured dishes was going to be fresh pasta with truffles (yum!!), Erika was gong to provide the entertainment, and we'd have three Enlish friends with us: Janine from nearby Rotecastello, and new friends John and Sheila. John and Sheila are now retired and live in Avian France, on Lake Geneva, but are here in Umbria for a few weeks, house-sitting. We'd invited them to join in the festivities and were hoping to show off the best that San Venanzo had to offer.

After pre-dinner drinks in our graden we all walked up to the community park where the festa was being held. The weather looked threatening, but we're such pessimists when it comes to rain; it so often passes us by, leaving us with only the sound of distant thunder and the knowledge that someone else is getting our much needed rain. We didn't expect tonight to be any different.

All the tables were set up under the double tent behind the palazzo that houses the comune. Two sides were opne and two sides were closed, giving us a little protection from the wind, but not making it miserably hot like we'd been the other night in Cannara where all four sides of the ten were tightly closed. This picture was taken the next day, but on Friday night the left side and the side opposite it were wide open so that people could easily walk in and out.

Festa Tent

We ordered our food and it was delivered quickly. Just as we started to eat the wind really started to pick up. And then it started to sprinkle. And then it rained harder...and the wind blew harder. Someone came to pull the side of the tent, directly behind where Janine and Sheila were sitting, closed. As the wind continued to pick up force the free-hanging side was whipped back and forth until someone else secured the ends to a support pole. We could see outside through a small gap in where the sides of the tent met, and by this time it was raining harder and blowing sideways.

The torrential downpour continued as we bemoaned the fact that we hadn't brought umbrellas, but of course with a storm like this they would have been useless. We were glad we'd already gotten our food! I mentioned the fact that all our windows were open...a fact Art hadn't considered...but without knowing which way the storm had come from, we weren't really sure which rooms would be soaked by the time we got home...IF we got home! It seemed like the storm would go on forever, complete with booming, rumbling thunder and frequent bursts of lightning.

And then the lights went out! I hadn't even brought a purse, so I had no matches, no flashlight, not even a bic lighter! Luckily most of the Italians had their cellphones, and one by one patches of light appeared from the phones. Lightning provided periodic bursts of brighter light. Of course everyone was animated, and there wasn't much else to do but eat, drink and be merry...which we all did!

Eventually, maybe 15 or 20 minutes later, the lights did come back on, and a few brave souls left the tent. Most of us thought it was better to wait it out, but we knew the evening's entertainment would be cancelled. Erika conferred with her dad, and I told her she should just sing in the tent.

A little while later, after several spontaneous songs and increasing joviality, some of the men came around offering complimentary limoncello or grappa. As long as we were stranded there, we figured we might as well make the best of it. Gioberto saluted us with his usual "America America!" toast, and being stuck in the storm didn't seem nearly so bad!

Although the night didn't turn out as we had planned, and even though we never got to hear Erika play, it was still one of those evenings that will stay with us for a long time. Thankfully all our guests were just as philosophical as we were, and despite the stromy weather a good time was had by all. And we did need the rain!

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