Enjoying beautiful Mediterranean weather, delicious fresh organic foods from our garden, laughing and having fun with our guests, did not do anything to change his mind about Italy. When Papa Antonio, our farm neighbor who has more animals then Noah’s Ark, called to ask if we might be interested in buying half of a cow, I responding yes with pleasure, especially hearing daily about the mad cow disease that was a concern in Europe at the time. We would be reassured of quality meat knowing that Papa Antonio raises animals for his family’s consumption. I have seen him thrash the wheat himself to make into animal feed. I was pleased when at least Jorge agreed that it was a good idea, especially since we consume a great deal of meat to nourish our steady flow of vacationing guests.

Weeks passed before Papa Antonio called to say he would bring the meat over. Working in my office, I left Jorge downstairs to greet him. My intuition was that it might make him happy to get involved, to talk and get to know our neighbor, put away the meat and become involved in farm life. Moments after the car arrived, I heard Jorge’s, Desi Arnez yell to Luceeee, Dashing down the stairs, entering the kitchen, I saw before me half of a headless cow, lying end to end on our kitchen work table. “ What the hell is this?” Jorge yelled. “ I guess half of a cow,” I answered, knowing that it was not what he wanted to hear. Looking over to Papa Antonio I explained that I didn’t think he would bring over the animal. Papa Antonio’s answer in Italian was that he thought my husband was a doctor. “Yes,” I tried to explain, “but not a butcher.”

He shrugged. “They do the same work. Meat is meat, isn’t it?”