Know Thy Heritage


March SOL Challenge #23

The conversation tonight went a little like this….

“Hi!  I’m Vinnie and I’m going to be your server.  Can I start you off with something to drink?”

“We’re not sure yet.  We  need a little bit more time.  But, could you check on our points for us?  We were here last week and we didn’t get them.  And, since you’re a paisano I’m sure you can help us out!”

“Oh, of course!”

“What part of Italy is your family from?”

Here’s where it got really fun for me.  I know, from many years of experience, that his answer to this was key.  If he was tripped up in any way by this question he was absolutely not a full-fledged paisano.  Every true Italian knows exactly, I mean exactly, which part of the country their relatives call home.  I distinctly remember talking with my two Italian friends and a new acquaintance we made at a teacher conference a couple of years ago.  Upon learning that she too was Italian my two friends excitedly asked her where her family was from.  I mean, it’s as if they have this immediate kinship when the subject of Italy comes up.  Are you ready for her answer?  She didn’t know!  She had no idea.  Kathy and Amelia looked at each other as if she had said she was from Mars. They pretty much just walked away from this poor lady shaking their heads in disbelief.

OK…back to Vinnie.

He passed!  He gave us a very detailed and spirited account of his family roots.  I could stop holding my breath.   He was a true, bona fide, genuine, honest-to-goodness paisano.  Thank goodness, because if he wasn’t it was going to be a long night with ‘Cousin Vinnie’ as our waiter!


13 thoughts on “Know Thy Heritage

  1. I did not know this passion that Italians have about their heritage! Even we Finns always talk about where our families are from, but perhaps not to this extreme:) Glad Vinne past the test and you were able to have a good dinner!

  2. LOL! I so remember walking away from the lady who had no idea where she came from! We true Italians can tell you everything about our heritage. I could only image the love you guys had for cousin Vinnie. Loved your slice today!

  3. Haha! I love this. Sadly, it is one of the posts that makes me wish my own family had more knowledge of where we came from. That has just never been anything of importance to my ancestors, which I find to be a bummer.

  4. Man, I almost had to call my big sister because I couldn’t remember where my grandparents came from for a minute. (Please don’t tell Kathy and Amelia!) Whew! Then it hit me…Calabria. And I have a great nephew named Vinnie. Vinnie Fiocca.. Can’t get much more Italian than that.

  5. Enjoyed your introduction to the piece. Your word choice made it feel like friends sitting around talking when one remembered they wanted to tell this story. It was a great reflection of the subject of the piece.

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