Parmagiana | Hackie | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Parmagiana 

The petite lady hit the seat talking and that continued all the way to the airport. It turned out she was an Italian who had immigrated to Denver 10 years ago and was currently teaching French in a Colorado college. The Middlebury College summer language program generates a stream of interesting and lucrative customers, and Angelina was one of them.

"So, you talk Italian, French and, of course, English. That's impressive. Anything else?"

"Well, thank you," Angelina replied. She had those dark flashing eyes which can take you a long way in life. "I also speak Spanish, but I lose it. I don't speak enough, so it goes. How about you?"

"Me?" I said, laughing out loud. "I can barely speak English."

"I can teach you Italian," she said. "It is the most easy. Every word - exactly how you spell it. No exceptions."

"But then I'll have to learn all the hand movements, right? You can't speak Italian without the hands."

"Oh, yes - and also the facial expression."

We zipped up Route 7, happy as calamari in the deep ocean. Man, I dug this woman. I asked, "So, what was your hometown in Italy?"

"Parma," Angelina replied. "You know, where they make-a the cheese."

"Ah-ha," I said. "Beautiful. That's northern Italy, right?"

"Yes, not far from Milan."

"Northern Italy is quite different from the south, I understand."

"Oh, yes - in northern Italy we work!"

We laughed together and I said, "I hitchhiked through the south of Italy when I was a teenager. I can never forget the pizza. So delicious! And they sell it in the bakeries."

A scowl came over Angelina's face. I had hit a sore point. "The pizza is going - how you say? - down the hill now. They make it American-style to please the tourists. The pizza should be the nice thick pasta, the bread, with just a little sauce, really - the fresh tomato. Now they make it thin bread, drowning in the tomato sauce. No good!"

"That's a crime, Angelina. I might never eat pizza again."

I knew that was a promise I couldn't possibly keep, but, in the moment, the solidarity felt good.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Jernigan Pontiac

Jernigan Pontiac

Bio:
Jernigan Pontiac was a Burlington cab driver whose biweekly "Hackie" column appeared in Seven Days 2000-20. He has published two book-length collections, Hackie: Cab Driving and Life, and Hackie 2: Perfect Autumn.

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Hackie

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation