Flying in the face
of shy and
these friends extended
a rope to us
and we climbed aboard.

In body we spent
the day on the waves,
in mind we swam
amid the disorder
of mistranslations
and delightful queries.

were the only
that counted.

BW 06/30/16

Yesterday Wormwood had a hearty breakfast of fruit and bread with bread and cheese and more toasted bread #Italy and then set out to play some music. We recorded a set in the grass beside a harbor at the center of town. We then walked up the coastline of Garda Lake and found a picturesque walkway to make a video for our friend Brian Lenz.

As we played, Baylen noticed small groups of children and adults gathering across the channel. They seemed intrigued, but he thought nothing of it until three young people approached in a small motor-raft. At first, they tried to greet us in Italian. NOPE! We quickly offered our eight-word vocabulary to indicate that we only speak English. The lead young man, who we later came to know as Umberto, did his best. “I like your playing. Have lunch with us? Pasta for some music?” Ben and I exchanged a quick look that said, “Sure! Why not?!” and we hopped into the small raft, instruments and all.

Lunch was a mushroom rotini and a fresh peach. We were even offered beer and wine, which we eventually accepted on the persistent generosity of Chicco. Come to find out that he and Donatella manage a sailing school. The host of multi-age Italians that greeted us were students or assistant teachers at the summer school. Some spoke broken English and many spoke none at all. It was the kind of hospitality we both had secretly hoped to encounter through our music.

After lunch and a round of wine, we set up near the lakeside and played a private Wormwood concert for everyone. Smiles were big and there was even some dancing. It’s good we didn’t have to try and explain our lyrics 😛

The hospitality didn’t end there! Soon we got invited to go out in a sailboat and attend a birthday barbecue in the evening. We accepted on both accounts. Ben quickly donned three coats of sunscreen and we set out on the water. There was not much wind so the experience was relaxing and without a risk of capsizing. We even got a chance to try the rudder! Keeping conversation was a group dance. Some words were missed, but through their knowledge of English and our limited skills in Spanish, cognates were located and most questions answered. The important thing was humor and facial expression.



Later that night, we met up with some of the teaching assistants and walked to a nearby home. One young lady was turning seventeen and her friends were convinced that our music would make a perfect gift. We were excited to see the non-tourist side of Peschiera del Garda and eat home-cooked food. Guess what?!?! No pasta or bread! The main course was a rice casserole with meats and vegetables. This gave us the perfect opportunity to spread the gospel of the Minnesota tater-tot hotdish. Google was critical to that endeavor. We played a few sets and Baylen even busted out some solo Bach on Felicity the Cello by request. When the sun set, we bid our young friends goodbye and thanked them for their spontaneous hospitality.


To all those that were there that day, thank you for your generosity of spirit and for showing us a different side of Italy!


One thought on “Friendly Waters

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