A little adventure in Calabria
Updated: May 3, 2022
Finally a beautiful day, so it's up my mountain I go. Way up, almost two hours following a wild boar trail through underbrush pinging away with the trusty metal detector finding (almost) nothing of value, well, intriguing (Greek?) pottery shard with a nice design next to the usual rusty nails. I'm accompanied by the same mongrel that stays underfoot every time. She hangs out in the farm at the bottom of the mountain along with anywhere from five to 15 off-duty sheep dogs. Apparently she prefers herding me to sheep.
We get to the top and share my lunch (perhaps the basis of our relationship?) and I decide to take another route down--heavy underbrush. And then I see my eagle. He's sitting in a tree in the middle of the woods—strange, as usually I spot him atop hanging out in the ruins. I root around for my camera because I have yet to get a picture of him. Meanwhile, he's screeching away. Then just as I get the camera out, he takes off, dang! And of course, the dog scared him as she's under the tree. I berate her in Italian, English and dialect where I've managed to acquire a few juicy terms.
But wait, the eagle is gone, but I still here a screech, rather a strange sound; but then again, I've never heard an eagle before. Sounds to me like it's coming from above and it's pretty faint anyway. I figure it's some kind of owl in a tree so I continue working my way down. Now what? The dog who is usually between my feet isn't, and then she goes "woof."
Holy cow! This dog has never made a sound before and she's not moving. She's standing there looking at me and goes "woof" again. I look and see something move under her feet. At the same time, there's that screech again. I walk over and here's this goatlet that I think was just born. It's laying there in a little dip in the ground, looks at me and screeches again. And the dog says,"see, I told you so."
Now, we've been up in that wilderness all day and since we left the farm, about 800 meters below, we did not see one domestic animal (other than the dog which calling her domestic is a kindness); plus, we are truly in the middle of heavily forested nowhere—go figure? So I put the goatlet in my knapsack—where it bitches and complains all the way down—as well as crapping all over my remaining ham and cheese sandwich (didn't help the taste of the sandwich one bit). I finally get it to the farmer, where he figures it was born the day before when the herd was up that way. But, it was obviously abandoned by the mother, so they'll have to kill it but not too worry because ground up, baby goat makes great dog food.
No, no, I'm kidding—they were tickled pink that we found it and they're going to
feed and nurture him (It's a boy goat) and he'll grow horns like all the rest of them and maybe even get to be the leader of the pack, or flock or whatever someday.
and on the way home, a cow butted the car
and for this I left the Bronx?
Looking for more stories from Italy and more? Me and Leonardo by Stuart da Bronx
Following 20 years as a professional mariner—yacht delivery captain and master of various commercial vessels—Stuart Reininger discovered that writers rarely drown, sport greasy fingernails, get sea-sick or sleep in wet bunks, so he decided to become a writer. He then spent a few years as a staff writer, boat-tester and editor for boating and yachting magazines. Subsequently, Reininger decided he would rather associate with honest sharks than the corporate variety, and he went back to sea.
In his continuing attempts to minimize his time offshore, Reininger became an author. His books “Confident Powerboating: Mastering Skill and Avoiding Trouble Afloat (McGraw-Hill, International Marine), and “Confident Sailing: Mastering Skills and Avoiding Troubles Afloat— “A survival guide for the coming Apocalypse?” (the subtitle is a tongue-in-cheek nod to sailing survivalists), are required texts in many Power Squadron courses and sailing schools.
In answer to the question, how an ex-juvenile delinquent from The Bronx became a world-girdling sailor? Reininger's memoir, “A Reef in Time—Waypoints of a Most Unlikely Sailor,” argues that being clueless can be an advantage; especially, upon the realization that with a little skill and adroitness, and not that much of either, with a well-found sailboat, you can sail anywhere, anywhere in the world where there's wind and water--a bit of luck doesn't hurt either.
To add insult to injury, Reininger wrote “Shoreline East;” a tale of New York Harbor in the 80's. The novel's protagonist is a young sailor who decides New York's East River would be an ideal venue to operate a sailing charter boat; a concept, surprisingly, welcomed by New York's organized crime hierarchy, who, to the sailor's chagrin, had their own ideas for his business (any resemblance to Reininger's years of operating a sailing charter business on the East River are purely coincidental).
Along with his other failings, Reininger talks a lot. He likes to tell stories. In an effort to shut him up, it was suggested he write them down. Thus, “Me and Leonardo, by Stuart da Bronx;” a collection of 19 short stories, some true, that flicker between the sea, New York city, other points worldwide—and southern Italy, where Reininger washed ashore some years ago and, a sucker for punishment, keeps returning.
All Reininger's books can be purchased, discounted, through this site or www.talespinnerpress.com
Purchased books, cheerfully signed and dedicated by the author, if displayed along with the price of admission, will guarantee entrance to a mind-boggling variety of intellectual and literary venues; think of museums, theaters, and other facilities, such as, well, use your own imagination.
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