Sicily, Day 3 – November 19, 2016

Several years ago at  nursery school, I lifted a child who was attempting to escape, and pop! went a muscle in my lower  back. The same muscle has acted up many tines through the years since then. The problem is, I never know when it’s going to act up. While I was in the shower on Day 3, I reached down to get the shampoo, when I felt that familiar  pop! Oh, no! I have a routine that  works for me at home that includes  several days of medication and heat. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t have a few days. In fact, my cousin Francesco and his wife Anna were coming to pick us up.

As I said earlier, I wanted to hire a genealogist. One of the reasons is that Giuseppe Nucatola and his family do not know Francesco Nucatola and his. There are so few people named Nucatola in the world that I think it’s reasonable to assume that we are all related, and I’d love to find out how. Add Signore Nucatola the florist to the mix; how does his family fit in? I’d love to solve these mysteries!

It was delightful to see Francesco and Anna again after eleven years. They took us out for a “quick” lunch at a cafeteria, explaining that we’d be going to their house the following day to get together with their extended family. There were many, many lunch choices, but I focused on a pasta dish that I had seen this past summer at our Family Picnic. One of our family members brought along a friend, Fina, who is from Sicily.  Fina’s dish won the pasta contest at the
picnic. Anna told me not to order it, though, because she was preparing it for part of tomorrow’s meal. Instead we chose lasagna. If you are of Italian ancestry, I’ll bet someone
n your family makes or made the best lasagna in the USA. I learned that Sicilian lasagna was slightly different from our American version. Where we Americans would use ricotta, Sicilians use bechamella. It was different from my mom’s lasagna, but it was definitely delicious!

The lasagna was the first course. We had to have a main course, too. Nick chose chicken involtini and veggies, and I chose veal scallopini. Anna and Francesco were very happy to see this. They said that I looked the same as I did eleven years ago, but Nick had become much too thin. I, too, was happy to see the he had his appetite back.

We talked about their family. I was hesitant to ask about Francesco’s mother, who was in her eighties eleven years ago. With great joy, they told me that she was still going strong at 99 years of age! Eleven years ago Francesco and Anna were in the process of building a house. Francesco and Anna  would live on the ground floor. Each of their two sons and their families would live on the next two floors, and their daughter and her family would have the top floor.  That is exactly what happened, and Anna was very happy. Then  last year their daughter’s husband got a job in Frankfurt, Germany, so away went their daughter, her husband, and their three children! Anna  was devastated. However, she was excited because she and Francesco would be leaving for an extended visit with them them there in a few days.

Francesco brought a platter of cannoli to the table. Is there such a thing as too much cannoli? I don’t think so!

By this time, I couldn’t hide that fact that I was in agony because of my back. They told me of the festa that they were preparing for us  tomorrow. On the way back to our hotel, Francesco drove through Mondello, a  seaside resort town  that is packed in the summer but was empty today. It was similar to parts of Florida, with hotels and palm trees. We stopped to take a photo, and I think it shows that I was in pain. On the way to our hotel,  Francesco drove us through Il Borgo, the part of Palermo in which my ancestors and his originated. Eleven years ago Il Borgo reminded me of  pictures of the Lower East Side in the early 1900s, filled with chatting residents as well as  vendors with their pushcarts. Today, however, it  was raining, and only a few elderly men were outdoors. Francesco also drove past the location of the Church of Santa Lucia al Borgo, where  my ancestors and his were baptized and married. Unfortunately, much of  area of the docks was destroyed by allied bombs in WW II, including the church. A new church was built on the same spot, but what became of the church’s records its uncertain.

Francesco and Anna dropped us off  our hotel, telling us they would pick us up tomorrow. I went directly to bed and Nick went out in search of heat packs for my back.

We walked 3,000 steps.

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