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High Five

10 Aug

It’s out first night in Cortona.  Everyone’s spirits are high.  We have a nice dinner at our hostel prepared by Sergio, the crazy man who runs the joint.  Pasta with tomato sauce and some form of bird meat.  The group cannot decide what type of meat it is.  It’s good though, and that’s the most important thing.

I send the group back upstairs to get ready for our evening passeggiata.  On the agenda is finding ice cream and touring the center of the city, which none of us have ever seen before.   As we’re getting ready though, we hear incessant squawking coming from a staircase located right outside the boys’ room in the hostel.  We decide that we must investigate.

More precisely the kids decide that they want to investigate.   I only heard them say that they were going to go down into the creepy cellar place.  So they begin the walk down, slowly inching down the staircase.  One at a time.  Careful not to make too much noise.  Afraid of what they’ll find on the other side.

I come to the top of the stairs and look down at the six of my kids creeping down the stairs.  They see me.  We make eye contact.  I scream.

I wish I had taken a picture of their reactions.  Mouths were open. People lurched back away from the mysterious noise that they could not place.  I thought one person hit their head and felt bad.  The screaming continued (from the kids now) for a good 30 seconds.  I felt powerful.

Those noises?  Pigeons.  Sergio keeps a bunch of pigeons down in his basement, because that’s a normal thing to do.  I was able to confirm, mainly to appease the kids’ minds, that the meat we ate was chicken.

Later that night we made it into the park of the city.  It’s a beautiful area complete with a fountain and also a large pool. More on the pool to come.  As we find a spot to sit in the amphitheater we find our new nemesis.  Well at least for the moment nemesis.  He is about 10 years old and a native of Cortona.  As we walked in, his faced perked up and he bounded over to us.

In the most broken English possible (and I want everyone to think of really bad Mario and Luigi accents here), he goes “Hiii five.”  Actually maybe it wasn’t Mario and Luigi, but rather Borat.  It was bad but my kids returned the favor.  We sat down and began to chat, when out of nowhere he comes again and runs through our group.  “Hiiiii five” is again the battle cry from him.

And that was it for the night.  I guess he had to go to bed.  However, my kids would get the last laugh.  They were in Cortona to take language classes after all.  In a couple of days they would encounter this kid again, and this time, would have the perfect phrase of their own.

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