My favorite St. David's Day (March 1) memory is a daffodil quest in southern Italy. I was visiting friends for a few weeks, near Naples. One of this delightful duo was shy about his southern accent & still-tentative English. My southern dialect--forget it; "regular Italian" - it kept slipping into French. Our Italian-speaking link was doing something important --foraging for dinner ingredients. Me? Of course, I was obsessed with flowers & on this weekend, daffodils. I forgot the Italian word, if I ever knew it. Finally after squeaking out 'spring, 'yellow,' & I don't remember what else in Italian, S. lit up & said, "trombone?" I, being an ass, said,"No, no. Trombone? What? No that's an instrument in inglese." Finally, slow me, oh. Daffodils. They are trumpet-shaped--ah.
The sight of an older man pretend-playing a horn instrument & a younger, somewhat exasperated English-speaking woman performing the universal hand-to-head circling motion amused a bunch of bored children with no immediate interests except a Saturday gelato. We made a little bow to the kids, & slunk away. After the forager returned, she explained what was what (after laughing a bit too much--ahem), & S. became obsessed with the idea that I should have trombone. I was embarrassed that I had not only called him crazy in a public market, but now I had given him a new mission. He's one of those lovely people around whom one should be careful to express any wish that he could possibly (& maybe not even possibly) fulfill.
Later that evening, as I fussed with the sitting room brazier, tossing in clementine peels to achieve the most fragrant scent, I looked up & there he was in the doorway, holding a gigantic bunch of the longest-stemmed daffodils I'd ever seen. Before or since. I don't know where or when he got them that day, but being an Italian he possessed a sense of the dramatic moment & thus waited for a post-dinner flourish.
Here are some lovely links to a celebration of St. David's Day weekend in Rome (yes, yes), the end of which involves daffodil distribution. Also, here is a link to a current National Museum of Wales exhibit: Italian Memories in Wales.
cariad & ciao
cariad & ciao