I have not heard from you in a while. I guess you have not had much time at the dog park recently since the air quality there has been so horrid. I think our air here has been good, but it has been so very foggy again that I don't like to be outside much myself. Who knows what creatures lurk out there in the foggy night. I sit on the patio next to the door and peer into the darkness, and I listen to the sounds, but I don't venture too far. Once I heard a very strange crying, almost shrieking sound. Whatever made the noise I know I never want to meet.
I just had my first Thanksgiving in Italy, and actually, it was my first Thanksgiving with Maree and Jim. I am still trying to recover from the experience. First of all, in Italy they don't celebrate American Thanksgiving, obviously. But Maree celebrates it and she invites friends here to enjoy an American Thanksgiving dinner. It is not so easy to make a traditional American Thanksgiving here because it is hard to get some ingredients. Jim had to go and order a whole turkey at the butchers because it is not a common thing here. When you order the turkey you have to tell them you want a small one so it can fit in the tiny oven. Then you tell them to clean it and take off the head and feet. The problem, apparently, is that when it arrives it always still has quills in it. Maree was not happy about this and got tweezers to start pulling quills out. I think I heard her say a few expletives as she worked.
I don't really understand why getting a whole turkey is a problem because I saw a whole turkey just down the road at our friend's house running around in the yard with the chickens. Well, if they asked me, I think I could have caught it for them. You know that I can run very fast.
I heard Maree telling people that the Thanksgiving menu was a little different this year. It started with a rather traditional Italian antipasti with a lot of different things. Of course, there was the turkey and a sweet potato pie. Sweet potato pie you ask? Yes, because it is so difficult to get pumpkin here and the pumpkin can cost as much as 40 euro for a big one. (There is no Libbys pumpkin in a can.) What you can buy for pumpkin isn't even the type that are used for pies in the States. In Italy they call those Halloween pumpkins and you cannot buy them to eat. So, what you can buy is actually a squash and it is not very sweet. I didn't get a taste of the sweet potato pie much to my disappointment, but everyone seemed to like it and it looked very yummy.
This year the stuffing had sausage in it along with pear and fennel. That sounds really good to me, but I guess it would not have been too good for my stomach. I don't think it could be any worse than some of the things I eat outside though. Maree made a pear bread, and apple sauce, and candied sweet potatoes. The apple sauce was to substitute for cranberry sauce since you can't buy cranberries here. Unfortunately, no one offered me any of these things to try either. I did get to taste some turkey, however, and it was really good. I hope to have more soon. I don't think there was too much left as we had 12 people here for dinner.
The days before Thanksgiving were really hectic for Maree and Jim but boring for me because no one paid any attention to me. Jim and Maree were very busy cooking, cleaning, and shopping. Jim said he shopped for 24 hours straight. I think that was an exaggeration, but I do know that he shopped on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. So many bags came into the house, but to my disappointment, there was nothing in them for me. It was all things for Thanksgiving dinner. I kept hoping to find something for me, and I tried to get attention by jumping up and down and twirling around on my hind legs, but I was just told to stop jumping. I don't think I liked that part of Thanksgiving much , but when all of the guests started to arrive, and the food started to be served then it was fun. I actually got some table food - something which I don't think I have ever had before - and I got a lot of attention.
The first people to arrive were Frans and Ingrid, and I had to show them how I can bark and jump up and down. Ingrid tried to teach me not to jump. I didn't like it but I stopped jumping on her. I still jumped on everyone else since they did not seem to know the technique to stop my jumping. Ingrid gave me treats and worked with me on sit. Frans brought a special pan to make a Dutch dessert that was like tiny pancakes. Next Cristina and Massimiliano and their family arrived. I had a great time with their son Federico and his girlfriend, Francesca. They liked to play with me and I liked chewing Federico's fingers because they tasted like turkey and gravy. Graziella and Alessia and family arrived last. When they came in, I raced out the door into the night. Jim ran out to get me and Maree was coming out too since I usually just think this is a chase game and I never come when I am called unless Maree tempts me with green beans. But tonight, all of the action was in the house, so I turned around and ran full speed back in. Of course, I don't like the dark anyway and tonight it was not only dark but also very foggy. Alessia brought her son, Alessio, who is five years old just like my Charlie back in California. I liked playing with him, but it made me miss Charlie and Rafe even more. I do get to see Charlie and Rafe on the computer once a week, but it is not like being able to jump on them and lick their bellies.
After what was hours of eating, everyone finally left, and the plates were piled high in the sink. I sat there thinking how much fun it was having a house full of people all of whom played with me. As a matter of fact, I heard Alessia tell Maree, "I really like Dino." In the end, I decided that I like this thing called Thanksgiving. It's too bad it only comes once a year because I sure liked the turkey.
As I contemplated the meaning of Thanksgiving, I realized that I am thankful for my family and friends. I am also thankful to have a yard to play in with lots of grass and branches to eat. But I hope one day to return to California and my family and friends there. I am missing dog park time a lot.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, Louie.
Your pal in Italy,
I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.