Today I attended my third funeral in three weeks. This one was my sweet, elderly Italian neighbor who died Sunday. He was kind, gracious, loved to share his homemade wine with us, but did not speak a word of English. He would still always stop to talk and we would get by on hand gestures, smiles and my poor Italian. He was just like an Italian man out of a movie, wearing a coat and tie every time he left the house, usually on a bicycle. Yes, 86 years old, running errands in a coat and tie on a bicycle. I never saw him without a huge smile on his face. Even the children adored him and would talk and talk to him in English, never knowing he did not understand. He just smiled so big they would go on and on. We will really miss him.
A funny thing about funerals here. . . you know when the family walks in the church after everyone is seated and you just want to get up and hug them? Well, the Italians do. There is this huge outpouring of sympathy before the funeral begins. Also, they don't dress up for funerals. They dress because it is Tuesday, but not for a funeral. All the young people wear jeans, the older women never took off their fur hats and coats but they wear those every day. Does anyone know why? Is it a sign of respect that they don't think about what they are wearing? Is it only in the States that we dress for church and funerals?
(This is an old picture. Of course I did not take pictures at a funeral)