There’s a new young man behind the counter at Tony’s coffee shop. Young, good looking and Italian – of course Italian. As Italian as they come. Thick black hair, olive skin, white teeth, lots of gesticulation.
I once knew an old man who spoke perfect Italian. As a soldier in the war, he’d been set to be a translator, during the Italian campaign. He told me once that he’d grabbed an Italian officer by the hands. He’d took hold of both the guy’s hands, and held them still. And the poor chap was speechless. Literally. You ever met an Italian man who could say anything without moving his hands? I reckon this new chap behind the counter at Tony’s will be like that. I saw him talking – no, gesturing – to one of the waitresses. He’s very energetic and outgoing. Cram full of energy, like Tony used to be.
“Issa good job amma fromma Sardinia” Tony once said.
These days, Tony looks a little careworn. Particularly so, since his mother died – you know what Italian men are like with their mothers. Tony’s black hair is edged with grey. Look closely at his eyes, and you see care. You see concern. Tony has a kind word for everybody. An older man’s friendly kiss for every young mum. A hug and a chuck under the chin for every baby. A handshake for every man. Tony knows everybody’s name. And now he has a new man behind the counter. A new generation is coming, taking up the mantle, ready to continue in his footsteps.