Buttons Big as Plates
From my journal entry, New Year’s Day 2010:
I took off walking toward the Duomo at 4:10 today. It’s New Year’s Day. I needed to get out of the house and get my body moving. I decided to zig zag through the “neighborhood” on streets I’ve never seen before, rather than take the sure, known route.
Along the way, an old woman approached me while walking her dog. She had seen me from a distance blowing my nose in my hankie. She rattled something off fast. “Non capisco,” I said finally. “What do you mean you don’t understand!?”, she said in Italian. We ended up comparing handkerchiefs. (Hers had embroidered flowers on white linen. Mine was deep magenta with big, off-white polka dots) I said I had handkerchiefs from my “nonna”.
She stood there in her patterned, fleece pants, just-this-side-of-pajamas and commented on the large size of my coat buttons. “Yes. They’re as big as plates!”, I said. “We could eat off them!” We both laughed, then wished each other a happy New Year and walked on.
It was late afternoon, getting on toward evening. The light was dimming and I was walking where I never had before. But I knew my general direction, took the lesser roads and kept moving. The streets were vacant. Hardly a car. Not a pedestrian. But as I neared the area of the Duomo, a few more people appeared, a few more restaurants and cafés were open (no shops!) and the energy picked up.
I came to another street corner and stopped in my tracks at the sight of the Church of Santa Maria and San Satiro on a site originally established in 879 a.d. Where did that come from!? Just one block off the main drag through town! I had never seen it before.
When I walked in, New Year’s Day evening, a small group of people was being led aloud in saying the rosary. I chimed in in English while I was there.
Heading for Monte Napoleone to see the window displays, I went north and to the east. The shops along that exclusive, narrow street are outside of my reach or comprehension. Actually shopping there is not a thought. My real goal was getting exercise and being out of the house, so I simply strolled and looked and shot a few photos until I got hungry.