Friday morning, John and I will be on our way to Italy.

Getting ready to go on vacation is complicated! Not the packing…I can do that in a few minutes. No, it’s all the other aspects of life that must be squared away: the business, the house, the garden, the dog, the bills, my job at the college.

Shortly, though, we’ll be away. We’ve rented a place in Umbria, in the countryside outside the town of Todi. Once there, we have no particular agenda, just a list of places that might be neat to visit. Freedom!

This past four Thursday evenings, we took Italian lessons at The Wine List in Hyannis. The classes involved lot of food and wine and just a bit of Italian.  And food and wine seem to be the whole point of Italy. Italians have tremendous pride in the products that come directly from their region, or even their village. Their term, nostrano, means “ours” or “from here.” Our mortadella, our red wine, our pork, our truffles. Italians were into local eating back when Americans thought that Stouffers frozen entrees were gourmet. (Okay, at least I did.)

I don’t mean to make you jealous, but if you are, here’s a poem by Billy Collins for Consolation.