Translated Show original
Caffè e rum sotto gli alberi di limone - Or how to enjoy life.
If you were to ask the inhabitants of the small, sleepy village on the Amalfi Coast about Eduardo, you would probably always get the answer that he would almost certainly grow the best amalfi lemons in the world and was someone who knew how to enjoy life.
His plantation was almost exactly in the middle of the coast, somewhat hidden among green hills and rocky slopes. The main building sprang from a long-forgotten era and was constructed of rough fieldstones. White frames were set into the semicircular entrances and window openings, and the wooden doors with glass panes were painted petrol blue. The plantation proper extended from the main building toward the bluff and was framed at the upper end by the two outbuildings. The lemon trees grew in raised beds, which measured a good three feet in height and seemed to be made of the same stones as the buildings around them. The walkways were also made of the same stone and led under the low-hanging branches criss-cross through the plantation. On particularly hot days it was wonderful to be under the shady trees. The gnarled branches bent under the weight of the deep yellow lemons, which looked like tightly spotted yellow blobs of color on a green background. Once you had meandered from the main building, along the walkways, through the plantation to the bluffs, you found yourself in one of the most beautiful spots on the entire Amalfi Coast, if not all of Italy. The last row of lemon trees bordered a small terrace complete with stone parapet. Behind the parapet there was a steep descent, and glancing over, one felt more distinctly the breeze in his face. If you now lifted your gaze a little, the azure Mediterranean stretched out before you, merging into the somewhat lighter blue sky on the horizon. Only a few clouds stood out from the bright blue sky and disappeared quickly in the onshore wind towards the mainland. Near the bays and beaches, sailing and fishing boats bustled about, bobbing back and forth on the water without haste. With its back to the plantation and facing the sea stood a small wooden bench. It was made of solid, dark wood and had apparently served as a place of relaxation and leisure for many years.
And it was this very spot that Eduardo used to go to at about 2 p.m. each day. Much of the work on the plantation was done by this time of the day and in the common farm shop his wife sold baskets of lemons, homemade jam and her devilishly good limoncello. So Eduardo could take time out without a guilty conscience and enjoy the early afternoon hours on the small terrace. Before making his way through the plantation from the main building, he washed the last of the dirt off his hands and then went to the kitchen. Laden with a small tray, he made his way between the trees towards the terrace. Despite the midday heat, it was pleasantly cool under the trees and the faint sound of water lapping could be heard in the distance. For a brief moment, Eduardo placed his cargo on the stone edge of one of the raised beds to reach for one of the lemons. Without breaking the fruit from the branch, he clasped it and, closing his eyes, sucked in its fragrance. The thick, yellow fruit smelled delicately tart, and the slight tartness tickled his nose as he did so. What was special about his lemons, however, was that there was no bitterness in either the smell or the taste. Only a slight fruity sweetness underpinned the fine citrus barackter. Satisfied, his fingers disengaged from the lemon and the branch gently carried it back to its sisters. After a few steps, Eduardo reached the terrace as well, settling himself on the bench and placing the small, silver tray beside him. The warm rays of the sun fell softly on his face, making him squint his eyes a little. After a few brief moments, Eduardo now turned to his right and reached for the cup with its steaming contents. The warm spicy steam of the espresso rose to his nose as he drank. The cup was not emptied in one go, but after each small sip was placed back on the saucer, which still had some coffee powder on it. For this pleasure he took his time again every day. With a view of the blue sea and the shade of the lemon trees on his neck, he savored each sip to the fullest. The splashing he had heard before could now be heard more clearly here, as the small fountain was only a short distance away. His thoughts wandered briefly to the magnificent roses that rose from the walls of the fountain. His fingers gently stroked the back of the bench. It smelled wonderfully of dark wood, coupled with a slight residue of yesterday's wood polish. Melodic birdsong could be heard from the trees of the plantation, punctuated by the faint rustling of leaves in the wind. Eduardo's satisfaction could only be completed with the contents of the small glass on the tray. About a thumb's width of rum filled the glass and had been his little treat every afternoon for years. Just like the espresso, Eduardo sipped the rum only sips at a time. It tasted very smooth, a little spicy with a hint of vanilla and caused a warm feeling in the center of his body without burning. Bliss spread through Eduardo as he closed his eyes, felt the wind and sun on his face, and fully savored the moment in his personal paradise.