Vacations are like medicine. There are different types for different needs. When I go to Morocco, it’s not that all my troubles disappear, but it comforts me to revisit faces, colors, and aromas that I took for granted growing up.
It’s a journey that ensures I do not forget the clay I was made of…
That life is hard but beauty is within reach…
And that simple gestures can open up grandiose spaces. That’s the Morocco I long for.
It’s the Morocco I remember when I read Strega Nona Takes a Vacation. In this, another great picture book by Tomie de Paola, Strega Nona dreams about her grandmother, and she wonders what the dream could mean. When she starts to make mistakes in her daily work, she realizes that it’s time for a break.
She wants to find once again a peaceful time, when she and her grandmother would walk along the shore and collect clams, then enjoy them in a dinner.
Food in this book is a remedy for nostalgia. It tastes like the airiness of youth.
It has the exquisite flavor of joie de vivre
and a generous pinch of excitement about life!
For Strega Nona, food recalls values and realities that are lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
It reminds me of the vulnerability in the ways some people make a living,
relying on a bountiful sea but a weak demand.
We pick the mature clams and throw the baby ones back to the ocean… and we make a wish.
We wish to visit again.