The normal course of action, In August, for an Italian, is to take the whole month off. While it is not as prevalent as it once was, there are still millions of Italians who flock to the beach, the mountains, away. Business as usual is halted, while everyone gets their fill of sun, sand and seafood.
But once in a while there is that beautiful deviant, ones who have broken from the pack. They see the times for what they are; they put their personal desires behind. And they head for the mean streets of America, even here in flyover country.
As I have been flying over and through and within flyover country on this day, while many Italians are packing up to go back to the cities, to work, back to even the harvest, let me take this time to signal some of those who spent their Italian vacations working, with the rest of us, in the missionary lands, striving to make the word safer, and more plentiful, for Italian wines.
Pio, does he really need to work in Texas in August? Do any of us? But for those of us who will never be called back to the motherland, we have one mission, to infiltrate the heathen countryside and convert it over to wine, Italian wine. And Pio was there with us this year. Even when I had my “bout” when I had to rush myself to the emergency doctor with my “heart attack”, Pio covered the wine dinner and made good. Pio is in his mid 50’s, has a successful worldwide import business, he is famous, his wines are famous. He is like Angelo Gaja. But Pio made a decision to come to America, to flyover country, to Texas, and work down in the nitty gritty of the market place in a room filled with people on a hot August night in the heat of the summer. Pio has true grit.
Daniele and Barbara Pozzi
Fourth generation winemaking family. Wealthy, societally landed. What did they decide to do in August? The decided to criss cross America and work the badlands in the service of their wines. Simple wines, Nero D’Avola, etc from Sicily. Nothing special you say? But here they were, in August, working sweating, building displays, in a time when it means a lit form those of us who are on the front lines. Here is the epicenter of the battle for wine and love of things Italian. And here is where Daniele and Barbara made the sacrifice to come, work, sweat, laugh and cry with us. Hero’s in my book, any day.
And where does that leave us, as Italians have packed up and gone back to their jobs, after a month of sun and swim and relaxation. I for one am looking in the rear view mirror of the summer just passed and looking forward to a holiday season in an uncertain time. But know this: the folks who emailed me with ideas and those who cancelled their trips because there were more important things on their agenda, they will suffer because they just don’t seem to have what it takes to make it in today’s world.
And like the old crooner in the corner likes to sing, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Really.