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Teresa with her paintings

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I play 'Country Roads' on a classical guitar in the living room of Vittorio and Teresa's home, in an apartment building in Rende. It is Vittorio's guitar and recalls to my mind the El Greco guitar my mother bought for lessons she took for several years. I perform a skeletal version of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desires," a song I cribbed from one of her songbooks. The room is full of more than a dozen dinner guests, many of whom to which I am related. I haven't a clue who is which and which is who and my Italian is even more clueless. "Bravo!" "Bravo!" they cry as I finish playing.

Teresa's mother was a sister of my Grandma Catherine Napoli, this much I fathom-- which makes her my great aunt. From the tiny back porch off their fifth floor apartment we espy a smudge of tan buildings high in the green hills that ring the horizon: the town of San Pietro in Guarano. For the first time, David and I glimpse the town nearest where my father was born. We gaze awhile. Then, Vittorio picks small hot peppers from a pot on the porch. We'll use scissors to snip them over our plates to add a kick to that day's pasta.




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