By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
Yesterday afternoon I arrived home after nearly a week away, for I was participating in the Indiana University Writers’ Conference. The Conference ended on Friday, and early Saturday morning found me in Zionsville, where my sister-in-law Kelley and I headed out early to the village’s Outdoor Market. “Swiss-a Charge”, as my father used to call it in his best broken English, or Swiss Charge to non-Italians, proved irresistible with thick, colorful stems and huge frilly dark green leaves. Delicate, thin asparagus lobbied too for my attention, as did the mixed Spring lettuces, and overstuffed quarts of freshly picked chunky strawberries. All made their way into my market bag. I bought two large twists of fresh basil linguine and two equally huge twists of tomato fettucine from the lady who makes the homemade pasta. Three gigantic basil plants I purchased will be planted Sunday afternoon when I am home. An outdoor luncheon under the expansive shade of an eclectic bistro along the brick Main Street of the Village of Zionsville with my darling niece Lauren and dear Kelley capped off a most pleasant morning. After an intense week of work at the Writers’ Conference, dining al fresco and sipping crisp white wine with my brother Frank and with Kelley late Friday night on their deck was just the relaxing segue to my journey home I needed. Frankie even took us to the Dairy Queen drive-thru where we ordered small S’mores Blizzards, and then happily ate them at a pretty tree-lined spot overlooking the new hiking/biking trail in the village.
Driving home under blue skies and sunshine, I conversed a bit with a friend taking care of our two indoor cats, and then with my daughter, Anjelica. In between times, I played my favorite Luciano Pavarotti arias on CDs. The two-and-a-half hours+ drive sped along. Before I knew it, I was back home. I had invited our family friend, caretaker of the cats, the mail, and the profusion of potted flowers to dine with me last evening. I cooked the bountiful Swiss Chard, roasted garbanzo beans in olive oil and crushed red pepper, and boiled cavatelli pasta, and mixed it all together with a basil marinara sauce. On such a perfect Spring evening, it seemed right to eat the meal on the dark red brick patio in the backyard. The black wrought iron furniture with the swivel chairs and comfy green cushions were made for such an evening and lend themselves to the house’s 1928 bungalow architecture. Mindful of our Franciscan nun friend, Sister Marie’s hectic schedule, for she is both the Music Director at the national headquarters here in town of the Sisters of Saint Frances, and the Chair of Religious Studies at my alma mater, Marian High School, I am pleased to have her company whenever she is able to come over and share a meal. She kindly brought a strawberry pie, and we ate the pasta with vegetables, drank Pinot Grigio, had a slice of pie, and talked the evening away, for we are both great talkers.
This morning dawned, but I managed to sleep in and get caught up on my sleep. Fellini and Coco Chanel, the cats, were not pleased that their Fancy Feast breakfast was tardy on my first morning back. I toasted naan bread, drizzled it with olive oil, prepared some of the fresh strawberries, brewed a combination of Teavana teas that I like, a chai and an oolong, with names far too long to remember, and I set up my breakfast camp on our front porch. I could rhapsodize for some time about the small square front porch and our backyard brick patio. The hanging ferns on the front porch, the wicker sofa and chairs with the blue and green swirly plush cushions, and the coffee table with its pot of Gerbera Daisies atop the blue and cream outdoor rug, and me armed with the Sunday New York Times, make me feel like a fortunate, relaxed woman on this sunny/partly cloudy morning. With Fellini and Coco Chanel dozing in the opened windows overlooking the porch, I slid back into my home life, albeit a richer one with the new friends and the writing insight I gleaned from the IU Writers’ Conference.
Ciao for now.