Ellen Steen

Ellen Steen

“Buongiorno!” Bob Garrigues greeted me when I called to find out about his recent trip. Bob’s niece, Alana Morimanno, and her family had invited him to join them in Paola, Italy, for two weeks over Christmas and New Year. And what a fabulous two weeks it was!

Paola is a remote Italian village located between the ankle and toe on the “boot” of Italy, on the Mediterranean Sea. Alana’s in-laws live in a stone house in the village, with beautiful house gardens overlooking the sea. In the distance, one can see the Stromboli volcano, 60 miles out in the Mediterranean, sending up a puff of smoke every 15-20 minutes, much like the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone.

The holiday season in Paola is not so much about gifts but rather about family and traditions. Schoolchildren make nativity scenes out of many sorts of materials—from pasta to Legos—and their work is displayed in shops along each side of the main road in the little village. Bob’s 12-year-old twin great- nieces, Silvia and Olga, made delicious gnocchi with their Grandma Pina and visited their Italian cousins.

The entire family enjoyed a card game called “Scopa,” which means “sweep” or “broom.” If your cards match what’s on the table, you call out “Scopa!” and sweep the cards off the table. Bob bought a couple of Scopa card decks as a souvenir and hopes to interest some Cape Mearesians in the game. Jon and Merry Ziady, frequent travelers to Italy: Are you in?

Grazie, Bob, for sharing your travel adventures with us!  

Part of Cape Meares experienced a power outage the night of Jan. 31. With the prompt work of Tillamook PUD, the lights came back on in 90 minutes. Apparently, a jumper had broken due to a combination of corrosion from salt air and high winds. Thank you, PUD! We here in Cape Meares so appreciate your quick response times and top-notch service ethic.

Just a few days later, around 10 a.m. on Feb. 6, a large landslide completely blocked both lanes of Bayocean Road between mile markers three and four. This occurred in the midst of a coastal flood advisory and after a 48-hour period in which Tillamook got nearly seven inches of rain. Tillamook County Public Works was notified and came out immediately, clearing the slide in about an hour. Thank you, stellar county road crew! Guess we Cape Mearesians had better be sure our emergency preparedness supplies are in good order.

Five Cape Meares residents who are part of Butch Freedman’s memoir writing class will be reading at Art Accelerated, 1906 3rd St. in Tillamook, on Feb. 14 from 5 - 7 p.m. The individuals are Butch Freedman, Sally McGee, Lana Ayers, Ceil Downing and Beverly Stein. Come join them for a fun evening downtown on Valentine’s Day! Finally, a reminder to put the Feb. 29 Cape Meares potluck on your calendar. We will be having a special tribute to the late Barbara Bennett. Join us at 6 p.m. at the community center on that date.

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