Yesterday, 7th August, we spent the day in our local Confederation Park with friends at the Abruzzese Picnic. Italians from a region or town form clubs here in Canada where they can hang out with fellow Italians and share their common language and exeperiences. Our Joe is from Abruzzo, a region in Italy on the Adriatic Coast at about the same latitude as Rome and he belongs to the club formed by people from that region.
The “kitchen” where we bought our lunch. Choices were Italian Sausage on a bun with peppers or Penne Pasta with tomato sauce. I always order the sausage on a bun. It is just delicious!
Abruzzese club members put a lot of work into the food for the picnics. The line up for the food was constant all day. On the left are the BBQ’s for the sausages and taosting the buns. On the right is a tub of tomatoe sause. The men in the background are boiling water for the pasta.
As usual Joe provided the music. He works hard at his music, never leaving his booth, taking requests, making announcements, and playing lots of dance music. Here our friend Elsa is talking with Joe and Christina.
Picnics like this are common in Italy. We have been to many such gatherings and there is always food and music. And the food is good. They do it a little differently but if you know the Italian picnics here you would be right at home at one in Italy!
The weather was perfect. Although we had full sun the air was cool and there was a delightful breeze blowing across the park. And of course we were sitting under trees which provided lots of shade.
We went to the park really really early (thank you Susan for that!) with tables and chairs which we set up to make sure we had a good space near the food and music. Then we went home for a couple of hours. When we came back the park had filled up and they was no parking anywhere. Of course, we just walked from the house to the park. Then at the end of the day I brought the car back to pack up our stuff. We were there from about noon till after 6:00 pm.
This is our “campsite” at the picnic. We had two folding tables loaded with food that we brought to suppliment the food for sale. The green umberella is our’s as well that we brought from home. The whole day was spent here eating and talking with friends. In the left picture you can see Susan talking to Pietro Calendino who is one of Burnaby’s aldermen. He comes out to all of the Italian functions. The blue blanket in the picture on the right is ours. We brought it for Alessia in case she wanted a place to have a nap.
Susan is standing with our friend Elsa. These two women worked so hard to prepare extra food and make sure everyone had enough to drink. Traditional Italian women are amazing! The world will be a sadder place when they are gone!
For Susan and I one of the treats of the day was Alessia. In 2019 we went with Tony and Elsa to Mexico for the wedding of their grand daughter Valentina to her Mexican beau José. And a year later they had this wonderful child, Alessia. A more beautiful little girl is hard to imagine. The older I get the more precious the young ones are.
The picnic had a “piñata” for the children and they all got a chance to swing at it. Although she is very young, Alessia, who spends a lot of time in Mexico with José’s family, had already experienced the piñata so she had a go at it here as well.
And that was our day at the picnic. We didn’t get home till after 7:00 pm and by the time everything was washed and put away it was 9:00. But it was a great day. We go to a couple of Italian picnics every summer.
Alessia’s turn at the Piñata. She may be young but she knew what this was about! It’s good to be Mexican.
A final word about culture. Susan and I obviously share two cultures, English Canadian and Italian. With José and Alessia we have had a chance to see a little of Mexican culture. My own grand daughters Olivia and Sophia are half Japanese. Susan and I have been to Portugese festivals and community dinners, we have walked in Sikh Vaisakhi parades, we have been to Chinese New Year dinners in Chinatown in Vancouver, we have travelled in Germany, France, Spain, Greece and experienced dozens of cultures. And these experiences have brought us nothing but joy and wonder. I cannot understand people who fear the immigrant, who push away the stranger. They miss so much. An open heart and an enquiring mind bring only pleasure and enrichment. So there!