Channeling Mom

Once upon a time I was going to write a blog post titled In Her Shoes, but I never wrote it.   After my mom passed away and I had to help go through her belongings, I discovered that her brand-new never-worn shoes and her barely-worn vintage size 8 shoes somehow fit my size 7 foot!  I stashed some of her shoes into my suitcase to take home with me and donned one comfy pair for the flight home.   I suppose the title came to me then, but the follow-through to write didn’t.

Ma's shoe on Fra's foot

In Her Shoes…they fit me perfectly!

Today’s the day I will write about Channeling Mom, about how I hear her telling me how to grow beautiful flowers while I tend my garden, how to cuss at a spider in Sicilian to chase away fear as I walk right into a web strewn across the door to the greenhouse, how she whispers in my ear not to fear bees as they practically land on my arm, how to admire birds, how to keep fresh water in the bird bath so that the birds will continue to delight as they bathe and spread their feathers.

Mom was crazy about yellow flowers!

Mom was crazy about yellow flowers!

Late summer blooms

Late summer blooms

The earth smiles through her flowers.

The earth smiles.

Freshly filled birdbath

Freshly filled birdbath

Right after I took the first photo, this mamma squirrel swiftly appeared to get some water.  Fast as lightning, she is a blur in my photo.

Right after I took the first photo, this mamma squirrel swiftly appeared to get some water. Fast as lightning, she is a blur in my photo.

Birdbath, Namaste Frog, and Thirsty Mamma Squirrel.

Birdbath, Namaste Frog, and Thirsty Mamma Squirrel.

And my mom continues to whisper in my ear as I go to the market to buy olives, Sicilian sea salt from Trapani, olive oil, onions, cheese, flour, and yeast to make olive bread rolls, or impinialata, a specialty from Grotte.  And as I make and knead the dough for the impinialata,  I hear mom’s funny jokes about the texture of the dough (“Fra, vidi?  Ava essiri comu la panza di to ma!”  Franny, you see?  The dough’s gotta be soft like your ma’s tummy!) Later, as I roll out the dough with mom’s rolling pin that is now mine, I hear her say, “Fa lu chiu finu! Accusi!” “Roll it out thinner!  Like this!”

Olive Bread Rolls (Impinialata)

Olive Bread Rolls (Impinialata)

Her words still reverberate in my head as I pull the baked impinialata from the oven.  My house smells like Nonna’s house in Grotte.  Never mind that it’s between lunch and dinnertime, Rick and I sit down to feast on the piping hot olive bread.  In my head, I hear my mom commending me on my hard work.  “Mi!  Buonu vini!” “Oh my!  It came out good!”  Compliments are not so easy to come by from mom to me, so I feel happy…even if this is only a conversation inside my head.  What really makes me happy is when I hear Rick say, “Franny, this is about as good as, if not better than, your mom’s impinialata!”

So worth the labor!

So worth the labor!

Our beautiful summer in the great Northwest is coming to an end, but the sun still shines and every day is a delight. And my trip to Sicily is right around the corner.  I am leaving on Tuesday and will be leading two back-to-back yoga retreats in Sicily just outside of Catania.  After the retreats, I will stop by and see my relatives in Grotte before heading back home.  I don’t know if I will eat impinialata.  Hardly anyone makes it any more because it is too laborious to make by hand!   Two years ago, my sister Nora and I did find some impinialata in the local bakery in Grotte and we discovered that the dough was rolled out by a machine.  Imagine that!  My mom would flip! She would also be quick to comment on how the machine fails to roll out the dough thin enough, the way she taught me.  The best part of going to Grotte is, of course, seeing my family.  A part of my mom lives on in her brothers and sisters and I get to be engulfed in their love!

Sunset at Grass Creek I

Sunset at Grass Creek I

Sunset at Grass Creek II

Sunset at Grass Creek II (with remnants of the pilings from an old pier)

Sunset at Grass Creek III

Sunset at Grass Creek III

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5 Responses to “Channeling Mom”

  1. miatagrrl Says:

    Delightful post, Fran!

    – Tina

    Like

  2. frangallo Says:

    Thank you, Tina!

    Like

  3. Barbara Lenhart Says:

    I am arriving in Grotte on Monday September 29th and staying at
    Arnaldo Home
    Via Arnaldo da Brescia, 66, Grotte, Sicily 92020, Italy
    Leaving on October 7th for one night in Terrasini before returning to NY then Denver on October 9th. Stop by if you are in a Grotte while I am there. Barbara Lenhart. We are researching our Ciraolo relatives….you have my email address.

    Like

    • frangallo Says:

      Hi Barbara, I won’t arrive in Grotte until October 11th. Before then I am holding/leading two yoga retreats, so it looks like I will miss you! I wish you the best of luck in your research. I would stop by if we were there at the same time. I’d love to hear what you find out! I am not sure you will get my reply, so I will also email you. Fran Gallo

      Like

  4. Antonella Says:

    Beautiful ! Mom’s are the best! #Inhershoes.
    Love!

    Like

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