Sunday, March 15, 2009


IVANO SAYS: Today is March 15, 2009. It is my father's (Gervasio "Bronco" Comelli) 109th birthday. It is also marks the third year that "La Nostra Costa" (Our Coast") has been in publication. The 'Lament' (hopefully) capsulates the hard times that the ranchers faced "su per la costa", during the Great Depression. In my father's honor I publish below the "Rancere's Lament" as translated into Italian by my good friend Gino Roberto Campioni. Those of you who have the book can go to the back cover to read the English version. Sempre Avanti.

Lamento d'un Rancere*

In una mattinata particolarmente nebbiosa, un rancere era nel campo, faticosamente cambiando direzione dell'aqua che mandave alle piante di cavolini. Era profondamente dipresso. Appoggiato alla sua sciavola, ha dato uno sguardo al cielo scuro. Con voce di tristezza e se forse aspettasse quache cosa o qualcuno di essere lassu, ha cominciato suo lamento:

"Lavoro ogni giorno in questi campi, sprofondo nel fango, sento nessun' odore altro che pattume, ed in un paio d'ore il vento mi soffiera sabbia e detriti in faccia. Il prossimo mese quando pioverà, mi bagnerà i panni, e dovrò portare quei sacchi bagnati su e giu per i sorchi in fango. Lavoro dieci o dodici ore ogni giorno per pochissimi soldi. Mio figlio giovane è malato e non posso pagare il medico. My mogliettina è incinta e presto arriverà nostro secondo figliolo. Dove troverò la moneta per governare unaltra bocca? Ho promesso my bella sposa una vita facile in America. Ha trovato soltanto lavoro duro e tempi disperati. Se c'è un Dio lassu, perche non si fa vedere? Perche non mi aiuta? Ho bisogno di piu moneta! O Dio, se Voi siete lassu, perche non fate cenno e con Vostra mano per migliorare la mia vita?"

Veramente, non aspettando risposta, il rancere abbassò sua testa e con sua sciavola pian piano tornò à lavorare. Poi dalla nebbia fitta ed arcana, gli parve sentire una voce, gentile e sincera:

"O rancere mi. Non lo sai? Vivi su per la costa--non in paradiso."
*Translated by Gino Roberto Campioni (with the exclusive permission of the author) from the copyrighted English version, as it appears in "La Nostra Costa" (Our Coast), published by Authorhouse, 2006:


Canadian Furlan said...

Ivano mio caro amico!! Wishing Bronco a belated very happy 109th Birthday.
This is something some of us cannot really place into perspective. Returning back to 1900 when Bronco was born in Nimis. Nimis as you know Ivano, is a small maninly farming type town, and for Bronco to have the forthsight at 23 to leave for America ! No one will ever know how signficant this was. I can imagine the excitement and the fear of the unknown. Bronco more than likely never really ventured away from home other than his military service or going to a larger town to pick up supplies. Crossing the Atlantic for a better opportunity, because Bronco could see there was no opportunity back home. And Ivano I have said this countless times before, you have kept the lives of Bronco and Valentina alive with all your hard work. They have never left us. They will always remain with us and most importantly the traditions! Ivano take care of yourself.

Ciao e Mandi

Ivano Franco Comelli said...

Doriano: Yes, I have often thought about this. In my presentations I point out the fact that Bronco's departure for "l'america" was representative of the voyage made by many of the first 'rancere' to come to "La Nostra Costa". They came here, usually alone, not knowing the language and with little money in their pockets. The things they had going for them were youth,courage and hope for a better life. I often remind Bronco's Granddaughters and Great Grand Children that their wonderful life in America would never have been possible if Bronco had not had the courage to take that first big step. Sempre Avanti

Canadian Furlan said...

Ivano Mio Caro Amico
That is very true! I remind my parents constantly that if it wasn't for my father taking that initial step leaving Friuli in 1952 we would not have the opportunities we have available to us today. My parents left much later than Bronco, but it was all for the one objective "A better life". My Father was one of 11 Children, and the only one to take the initiative and leave the farm work to get a trade. But my Father often lamented, "I learned my trade but was always expected to complete my chores on the farm". Out of 6 brothers my father (Albano) is the only one of the brothers that survived. Many died young, and a couple during the WWII conflict. Out of 11 children in my father's family my Dad and his younger sister are still alive today.
Yes Ivano I fully agree with you, we can never thank our parents enough. You Ivano are still thanking them with all your work. And I will do the same.
I have been in contact with Reno, we also had a good telephone conversation. Reno as well is in agreement with what our parents sacrificed for us! Reno is made from the Furlan Fabric. Take care and keep in touch..

Ciao e Mandi