Yesterday we went into Bargonasca because the cultural association had a tai chi, yoga and Japanese sword fighting demonstration at a town street fair.
There were crafts like basket weaving and chair making, chestnut roasting, some local art and a few other random things for sale. We also had a table to sell olive oil, jams and olive wood cutting boards.
The most popular stand was hosted by a group that holds training and adventure activities in the forests near here.
They had a wooden pole set up (maybe 20 feet?), and people could get strapped up in a harness and try to climb up it to grab one of the many prizes at the top, which included bags of apples, bottles of water, candy, stuffed animals and coffee grinds.
We probably saw over a dozen people (all shapes, sizes, genders, ages) have a go at it, but only a young man made it. We were amazed because we all figured it looked extremely easy, but then we watched person after person try and fail less than halfway up.
I decided to try my best shot because I was craving a nice, refreshing bite of an apple. By some miracle I can't explain, I made it to the top. If it weren't for the enthusiastic crowd clapping and cheering me on in Italian, I don't know if I could have made it.
It's nice to have that positive reinforcement to keep going in life...even if you don't totally understand it.
I can say without any exaggeration that that was the hardest every muscle in my body has ever worked simultaneously. When I reached the top, I couldn't imagine picking up that heavy bag of apples, so I swatted at a bag of candy I knew my friend wanted. But somehow I missed.
After I made my triumphant ride down the pole, I looked at my prize and there lie...a bag of sausages.
My farmer family was quite proud and nicknamed me for the evening "gato piccolo" or the little cat.
And this little cat will be feasting on the most delicioso dinner of Italian sausage this evening. It will be the hardest I've ever worked for a meal.