Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall Blessings

Yesterday one of my good friends Linda and I arrived at her house and were happily surprised to see all of our children diligently raking the leaves in her yard. I thought how sweet is that, I was sure they would be in the house playing some sort of computer/internet game when we got home. But to my surprise they were outside being helpful and raking leaves. I immediately became curious because they all seemed to be working so diligent at the task at hand. They were not easily detracted and were working very well together as a unified group. So I grabbed my trusty camera and stood back to see how this mystery would unfold. I quickly realized what they were really up too. They were raking the leaves into a pile so they could jump and play in them. How fun! It made we want to do it too!!!!

As I stood there watching, I was immediately transferred back to my childhood, and all the great memories and fun times my siblings and I shared as we did the very same thing. Playing in the leaves for us was always one of the best experiences of the Fall season. Oh how times have changed... Now that we are adults it seems we now dread this part of the season with the countless amount of leaves that fall on our yards and sidewalks. Especially when it rains and they become slick. What a nuisance! As I stood there and watched the children I was quickly reminded of how blessed our family is. My children have such amazing friends that act as if they are their actual siblings. I immediately thanked God for all the blessings He's given Tom and I in our life. What a joy it is to be able to experience certain things all over again through a child's perspective! It's always nice to be reminded in this high paced computer generation to enjoy life and take the time to play in the leaves every once in a while!

Looks like Sarah is about to get hit with some leaves!

Pumpkin Festival in Venzone

Last Saturday we and some friends drove about an hour north of Maniago to a small medieval town called Venzone for their annual Pumpkin festival – Festa della Zucca. Venzone was originally a major trade city during the Roman era linking Italy to the rest of Europe. The town continued to flourish during the middle ages to modern day. In 1976 the town was leveled by two major earthquakes 4 months apart. The town however was rebuilt as an exact replica of its original form. Every year the fest takes place the fourth weekend of October in the medieval town of Venzone. It started celebrating its pumpkin fest 14 years ago because of an ancient legend, which centers upon a pumpkin. According to this legend, in the 14th century Venzone was almost completely built and had many nice palaces. The city's cathedral and the tower clock had finished being constructed Unfortunately, the city didn't have enough money to pay the artist who had just completed decorating the roof of the tower clock with a golden globe. The city committee decided to give him just one third of the amount he asked for his work because they thought that everybody should volunteer some of their working time for the town, especially during this hard time. He didn't have much choice, and he accepted the money that the city gave him. But that night he thought he would pay the city back in the same way. He went back up to the roof and replaced the golden ball with a nicely painted pumpkin. He left the city the next day. The Venzone inhabitants were happy for the completion of the work that embellished their city but, shortly, they realized that something on the tower was wrong because the ball was changing color. Only when big pieces started Falling down did they understand how the sculptor had fooled them. Nevertheless, the city dedicates an annual fair to this important agricultural product that grows in the area. For a couple of days, the town is swarmed with thousands of visitors from towns nearby, as well as from Germany and Austria, who come to watch the parades of people dressed in medieval costumes, musicians, jugglers, peasants and knights who populate the narrow streets. The pumpkin festival promotes all things pumpkin; pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin grappa, but there is no pumpkin pie is to be found anywhere. . The ‘townsfolk’ hold various contests and the entire town is decorated with pumpkin motifs, and in the evening lit by candle light only. We had so much fun and enjoyed tasting all the various foods made with pumpkin(Zucca). My favorite was the pumpkin pizza! Yum!