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July 11, 2014

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, JULY 11,2014 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore Summer in Italy by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz I never knew that "Christ- mas in July" was an offieiai phenomenon until fairly recently. I first read about this cultural curio in my favorite American Girl maga- zine as a child -- and thought it was just some cute thing the magazine made up. However, I now know that the "Christmas in July" movement encom- passes sales promotions, Santa Claus-themed parties, and movie marathons that seek to establish a contrast between the snow and merry decorations of mid- winter with the summer heat. The reason for this phenomenon lies in the fact that July only provides a dearth of opportunities for stores and marketing -- after all, it is still too early for back-to-school sales, and no major holidays dot the calendar. Sure, "Christmas in July" can be fun, but when we are too busy turn- ing holidays into countdown commercial opportunities, we risk missing the beauty of the current season. Per- haps there are no market- able holidays in mid-July, but the hazy dog days of summer offer special rewards in their tranquility. I think about the July I spent in Italy, and how the season there enveloped me like a warm hug. Time trickled slowly in the Italian summer, like honey dripping from a glass. In the evenings, delicate floodlights illuminated the cities with a glow as balmy as the night air, giving a romantic aura to scenes of people dining al fresco and strolling on their passeggiate. The scent of fresh herbs like oregano and rosemary, ripe for the sum- mer, perfumed the outdoor markets. There was no need to rush to another season. A creamy gelato was enough to live in the moment during the summer. In fact, Italy has a number of quaint holidays and festivals that enliven the July days. A lot of these festivals take their inspiration from the medieval times of yore. For example, from July 2nd to August 16~, the famous Pa//o di Siena opens with an elabo- rate procession featuring medieval costumes and her- aldry. The town of BrisgheUa, in the hills of the Emilia- Romagna region, hosts an- other renowned medieval festival -- and the Umbrian town of Foligno even hosts a joust called la Giostra della Quintanal I saw such a medieval procession when I visited my father's home- town of Sulmona, and I was transported right to the era of moats and princesses through the lush velvet cos- tumes. Perhaps summer, when the days are hazy with sunshine and the nights full of soft evening light and fire- flies, is the best time to pon- der the mysteries of the past. Here in the United States, I will often try to recapture the summer magic I experi- enced in Italy. My father still keeps observing summer days like he did back in the Italian countryside, planting tomatoes in his garden and bringing home juicy canta- loupes (which he calls melone) or watermelons (cocomero) for an after-dinner dessert. The sound of jovial shows on the Italian chan- nel mixes with the hum of the fluttering fan on warm, sunny afternoons. My fam- ily still likes to take short trips on summer evenings, whether to stroll along the North End or simply go for a gelato, which resembles the traditional Italian prom- enade known as the passeg- giata. These traditions have taught me to revel in the quiet days of July, to appre- ciate their stillness and beauty. Sometimes I like to spend time baking with prime summer ingredients like strawberries and blue- berries. Sometimes, when energy crackles through the air, I like to go on excursions to the ocean, where cool breezes cut the humidity of the day, or to the city, where the bustling atmosphere of a metropolis in motion dances within me. Other days, I simply enjoy opening the windows and quietly watching the shadow play of sunlight and green leaves in the forest outside my home. During those times, all wor- ries and concerns melt away and all I focus on is the lovely summer. This summer, I encourage everyone to avoid getting caught up in the excessive stress of everyday life and instead take notice of the simple pleasures of the sea- son. Similarly, it is impor- tant not to worry about upcoming events in the fall or winter, but rather enjoy everything summer has to offer while it lasts. I do this by taking a cue from what I learned in the joyous, slow July I spent in Italy. Bite into a juicy, ripe tomato. Stroll in the warm evening air. Take the time to relax your mind and do something for yourself, not for the hectic demands of our mod- ern world. An Italian-style summer is a summer of living in the moment, and that is a skill that will always encourage us to focus on our present and count our blessings. Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachu- setts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folk- lore at adicenso89@gmail.corru Joseph E. Finn (Continued test. He has worked on numerous planning commit- tees for high profile events for the department, includ- ing the 2004 Democratic N ational 'Convention. Deputy Chief Finn holds numerous certifications, in- cluding: Massachusetts Con- tinuing Legal Education Inc. from Page 1) in labor law and laws involv- ing discrimination; National Incident Management Sys- tem (NIMS) certified in Inci- dent Command System tiCS) 100, 200, 700, 800; Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service certified in ICS 300,400; and Department of Justice certified for manag- Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO * HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building ing terrorist and large-scale incidents. He also holds cer- tificates related to fire ser- vice training from OSHA, Homeland Security, and the National Fire Academy's ex- tension program. Deputy Chief Finn also served in the United States Marine Corps. from 1979 to 1982. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Busi- ness Administration from Northeastern University in 2008, graduating magna cum laude. Deputy Chief Finn will be formally sworn in within the coming weeks. by Sal Giarratani Is America Ready for a Third Party? Back in 1968 and again in 1980, there was a strong third party candidate run- ning for president. U.S. Rep. John Anderson ran against Ronald Reagan leading a lib- eral campaign pushing the GOP leftward. It didn't work but Anderson pulled a good vote nevertheless. Back in 1968, Alabama Governor George C. Wallace ran as the nominee of the American Independent Party and pulled a 13.5 percent share of the presidential vote. Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey by a nar- row 43-42 percent finish. Who did Wallace help or hurt in that election? I bring this up because of what I have been seeing in the Republican Party where party leaders seem like the ruling class as it fights tooth and nail any credible Tea Party Republicans who dare challenge Republican incumbents for being too liberal. At the moment, the GOP seems to be suffering a civil war between ideological com- batants and the ruling class who seek to hold onto its power. Meanwhile, Demo- crats look like they belong to a cult. They all seem to be drinking the same purple drink in those little paper cups. Is America ready for something new to shake up the electoral process? Per- haps. Most people really don't see a dime's worth of difference between either major party. Wallace used to say that very thing all the time back in the '60s and '70s when he ran for national office. The other morning I heard Jeff Kuhner on WRKO talk about the idea of an America Party and asked out loud if such an idea was do- able in 2014. The idea comes and goes over the years whenever political folks get tired of all the blank coming out of both parties. Except for every now and then when I register Repub- lican for a certain candi- date running for office, I remain steadfast a Demo- crat because Massachusetts has no real Republican Party. I still remember the 1968 Republican Primary for U.S. Senate when Edward W. Brooke was running for re-election against radio talk show host Avi Nelson. Nelson almost won that pri- mary losing to Brooke 52 to 48 percent. Close but no cigar. That November I returned to the Democratic fold and voted for Paul S. Tsongas who sent Brooke packing for home. In Massachusetts, the Re- publican Party is a mirage. Many think it is there, but is it really? On the national level, they keep nominat- ing "Dead Men Walking" for president and wonder why they can't win. If I had a choice of going to Door Number 3, I think I might. Let's wait and see if this idea has any legs. The status quo has worked out so well in the recent past. If anyone can get this ball rolling, it is Jeff the Kuhner-man. PIN FUNCTION FA CILITY Please accept sincere condolences, from the Spinelli's family and staff. During this difficult time, we would like to offer our facility at a specially reduced price, for you, your family and friends. SERVED UPON ARRIVAL Coffee, Mini Danish Pastries and Tea Breads BUFFET LUNCrmON lVlENu Tossed Salad, Assorted Rolls with Butter Chicken, Ziti and Broccoli Alfredo Eggplant Parmigiana Italian Sausages, Onions and Potatoes Above price does not include a 15% Administration Fee and a 7 ~o Mass State Ta~r. 280 BENNINGTON STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA Telephone: 617-567-4499 j, ! II [ For l ormaUon .... Federal Trade Commission I about advertising In I I works consumer top and d e loni ] I the Post'Gazette, Call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1 8 2-4357) ] I call 617-2278929. orl on ftc gov.