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Ground Hog Day Due (2)

November 20, 2015

It was summer once again at our home in Northern Italy and I was reminded every day of the old movie, “Ground Hog Day.” In this film classic, Bill Murray wakes-up every morning to the same day. Every summer in Italy, we do the same.

The tourists arrived in late June and clattered endlessly upon our streets like the misplaced yuppies they were. “Andiamo montagne, andiamo montagne!” The trouble is they didn’t know how to drive in the mountains. That made for interesting near misses on our narrow highways. Mayhem in the Alps. Alas, amidst the countless dialects from all parts of Europe, parking opportunities completely disappeared in our tiny village and surrounding areas. Bologna had moved north, Germany had moved south and Milano had moved east just like the year before. In the middle of it all, I said, “Wait a minute, I thought I saw an actual ground hog in the crowd…. no just a German tourist from Munich.”

We had the summer feste (parties) with the same luganica (sausage) that we put away in our guts the year before. The music hadn’t changed in years, perhaps 100 years. It was still pleasing, like some repetitious things can be. In fact, nothing here really changes much year to year. The talk was the same as years past. The government wasn’t doing enough, the economy was in crisis and everyone’s health was bad. And as usual, most said everything was America’s fault.

I was feeling frustrated with so much repetition. For a much needed break, we headed south to Lake Garda. It is an oasis in the midst of European babble. However just like last year the lake was packed with way too many German tourists. “Sehen Sie this and machen Sie that.” It made us almost wish for the return of our three meter snows. As always, we did find a way to have a great time despite the years repeating themselves. Lake Garda allows at least a partial escape from ground hog day; that is its nature and why we go there. However, we obediently did many of the same things as prior years. Between the pull and the resistance, Ground hog day had even found our cherished lake. I felt Bill Murray’s pain!

Lastly, there were our “here today, gone tomorrow” neighbors. Just like the year before, they arrived together like lemmings, determined to once again change every detail of our life and tranquility. Sitting in the street gutters, they prattled on about minutia late into the evening, assuring that no one could get a full night’s sleep. Mornings began early, just like every year before, with bangs of hammers, the whirling of drills and the dreaded back-up beep of heavy equipment. How can Italians make so much noise and get so little done? The sound of saws and the endless parade of subcontractors continued unabated, just like the year before. The year was destined from the start to be the twin of the last year. Ground Hog Due had once again settled in to stay.

Mercifully the first snowflake fell. The cycle was complete. Ah, peace at last but also time for us to go.

Photo: Lake Garda, Italy by Allen E. Rizzi (Copyright 2015)

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