There’s a farm field along the canal, across from the Zibido Cemetery, that has piled up a rank-smelling mound of rotting straw and organic matter. Luigi sees it as prime compost for his garden and is hauling it home one bucketful at a time.
As I was riding along, I didn’t recognize him at first. Since the weather has gotten warmer, Luigi’s many-times-mended clothes have gotten more summery. (He was in a heavy jacket the last time I saw him.) As we stood there talking, I noticed that at some point in years past, he’s customized his shirt. The collar’s been removed, and careful stitches finish that edge.
We had a nice chat. Luigi told me that he grows green beans, chicory, potatoes, tomatoes, salad greens and a little bit of everything else in his garden. We talked some more about his 70-year-old bike, and some of the long-time Italian bicycle brands: Bianchi, Silvestrini, Rossignoli. Any brand markings on his bike have long since yielded to the rusty patina.
Luigi reached out and shook my hand. We said our “arrivederci” and look forward to our next conversation along the canal.