That floating, tooth-shaped thing and the wiggle beneath it are murmurations of starlings. Yes, that really is the collective noun for starlings: nice, isn't it? There was a beautiful photo essay about Rome's starlings in the NYT a couple of years ago that's well worth checking out: go here.
Of course, we don't have "Black Friday" in Rome, since we don't have Thanksgiving, but I thought I'd post some pictures that feature black in honor of the day. I'm not going shopping, no. Are you?
But we did have Thanksgiving dinner. Did you see that New Yorker essay about expat Thanksgivings? (Very funny, all too true, but I think I want to introduce Jane Kramer to our butchers.) One serious advantage to living abroad, though, is that you can decide on Wednesday to have Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday (we just sorta forgot it was coming up, being really busy lately, and not being bombarded by images of turkeys and pilgrims, etc.) but we said, Hey, yeah, let's do it.
[Vegetarians might want to skip the first paragraph after the jump.]
Luckily, our butcher Raffaele's birthday happened to be on Wednesday, and we were invited to the degustazione in celebration of this. So while we were there in the shop, we peered into the poultry case and saw a nice "faraona" (a Guinea hen), just waiting to become some eccentric Romans' next-day Thanksgiving feast. We asked them to hold it for us. When I went to pick it up, Sandro asked me how I wanted it, since a lot of Italians prefer their birds opened up, "diavolo" style, or in pieces. "Intero," I said, but then I thought, Uh oh, I hope "intero" means without head. And without feet. Luckily it did.
(Vegetarians, you can come back now.) It was a strange day, though. I knew it was Thanksgiving, but it almost seemed that Rome was aware of it too. It was a grayish, coolish, perfectly autumnal day, and there were very few people out on the streets. And, for an American, it's a funny feeling to go to the post office on Thanksgiving. (It's an even funnier feeling when you're waited on right away, and the guy is super-polite and remembers that you send your things prioritaria. You bet I was thankful!)
And then I wandered to the grocery store to buy a bunch of vegetables in a leisurely fashion, something I surely wouldn't be doing on Thanksgiving Day in the USA. I gave the really nice homeless man who sits outside the grocery store an extra Euro, and I wanted to explain what day it was, but I didn't.
And, since this is a poetry blog, I must not neglect to mention the wines that we had with dinner (from Raffaele's shop!): a sparkling white from Sicily called CHARME (you remember, "from Old French charme (noun), charmer (verb), from Latin carmen 'song, verse, incantation'" [from my little Mac lexicon]) and a wickedly complex dark 14.5% Negroamaro from Puglia, the heel of the boot, called ORFEO. Yep, that's Orpheus in Italian. A poetic way to give thanks. Cheers, and thank you!