I recently returned from a winter vacation in Florence with my mother, Cita, and my daughter, Kate. Florence is ancient, in all the right ways, but the streets are tricky. They can be treacherous if one is not vigilant and careful while walking on the uneven, cobblestone paths. This trip had been a good one for us because we had found ourselves unscathed. Then it happened….
On our last morning in Florence, Kate and I decided to head out for one final gelato. One of our favorite spots was not open yet. We made the decision to walk up the Via Por Santa Maria for one. We bought some lousy gelato at one of the tourist traps…we had no choice. We should have seen this as an omen and
walked RAN back to the room. We didn’t.
We paid the ransom for the gelato and headed down Borgo Santi Apostoli toward our hotel. As we were walking and eating our gelato, two very spiffy cars passed us. They caught my eye because they were an odd shape and a model I didn’t recognize. Not out of the ordinary in Europe. Though they drive many of the same major brands we have in the U.S.; their models are different. Well, the cars stopped in the middle of the street…blocking the street. The street was narrow. The sidewalk was narrow. Here is a picture for reference.
So…one gentleman, then another and ANOTHER emerged from the strange cars (which I then saw were some strange and exotic form of a Jaguar). I immediately noticed that each man is dressed in all black; head to toe. Black suits, long black wool coats, black scarves and black fedoras. They proceeded to stand in a straight line and began talking without really looking at each other.
At this point, it hit me. These gentlemen just might be in the mafia. (I know! I read too much. Just humor me.) Here is how it went down:
Me, in a whispered voice, “Kate, I think they are in the mafia.”
Then, Kate replied in a breathy, whimper, “Mooooooom, there is a coffin in the back of that car!”
As we passed in between the JAGUAR HEARSE and the building, I saw the coffin and all the flower arrangements. Then it happened. BAM! I lost it. I lost my footing and sailed through the air. To this moment I don’t know how it happened. All I know is I was0 falling in slow motion. My cup of gelato jetted out of my hand and rolled like a tire over the cobblestoned road. My yellow, plastic spoon flew through the air. And I was flat-faced on the ground. Not pretty.
One of the mafia
bosses gentlemen rushed over and said in Italian, “Miss, are you okay? Where is your shoe?” My shoe? What? MY SHOE? Where WAS my shoe? In a matter of seconds, I stood up, got my shoe on, picked up my gelato and spoon and started walking. Walking fast. Eating crappy gelato with a dirty spoon. Kate was running behind me.
We made it to the Piazza Santa Trinita and stopped. I looked at Kate. Kate looked at me. We just died laughing. We couldn’t stop. Kate said she had never seen anyone get up faster than I had. She squealed through laughter, “I didn’t even have time to laugh at you!” (Kate gets a strange joy out of watching people trip and fall down.) I still don’t know how it happened. Man, it was funny! I wonder what the mafia was thinking? You can’t make this stuff up.