The clouds were dark, the air was warm. After days of rain we decided to go for a walk to see if the streams that flow from the hills through the outskirts of our little village were swollen and nasty.
The streams were fine. We saw no fish frolicking trout-like in the shadows, however.
On the way home, the light and rhythmic crunch of gravel that accompanied us was joined by the clattering hum of a jeep.
The jeep stopped. We walked on a bit, thinking nobody stops for foreigners, then looked over.
“Would you like some eggs?” the driver asked.
“Si, si!” replied Martha, who is a connoisseur of unborn chickens still in the shell.
(I have switched the languages, of course, just for fun.)
The driver leaned out of his jeep and started laying egg after egg into Martha’s palms. He almost stopped at 4, but then remembered that his regalo had to be in odd numbers, so he gently laid the fifth egg in her hand.
“The chickens, you know, never stop laying. But nobody buys the eggs, so the price got so cheap I’d rather give them as a gift.” he said with a smile which would have brightened Broadway.
So we thanked him profusely and began walking up the hill toward our humble abode. On the way we said “buona sera” to our neighbor, the one with the yapping little dog. She asked to see the eggs. She noticed they were local.
“Where did you get them?” she inquired.
We were rather startled by the question. We didn’t steal them, dammit. But then again, we didn’t know the man who gave them to us either.
We yammered a bit while trying to think of the right Italian words and eventually told her some guy just up and gave them to us. I added, “nobody buys them, he said, so he gifted them to us.”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course, we all have our own chickens.”
And that’s why I live here. Free eggs. And they’re not poison either, like they are in the states. And they taste like they’re supposed to taste.
Oh, and neighbors who quiz you. Just to keep you on your toes.