We were in Alba. On the main drag, down from the Piazza Savona where the short haired Albese girls took the roundabout in bright blue or red Fiat compacts blasting the still living Madonna from the open windows, albeit from vintage 1985. This was back in 2011, and when thinking about Presidential politics today that seems like several years ago. There was the cheese shop on the block, and we decided to take a look around. Of course we didn't really know what we were doing, or even how to ask for help. "Coming from where?" the man behind the counter asked in our direction. "America" we said, but one a bit after the other, so that the a's were drawn out on both sides, like A-America-a. "Ah, America!" our greeter said to us, "Obama!" and then he raised his right hand and gave a big thumbs up, which, come to think of it, is the only time I can remember an Italian doing that, at least when I have been around.
"Sure, Obama" I said. Seemed like the right thing to do, I mean, it didn't really seem like this man minded too much about the drone strikes. I guess those hadn't come after the Robiola yet. Indeed he was happy to confirm that we were from the same America as Obama. "I love Obama!" he said, tossing us another high thumb wave. And that's when I remembered. You see, I frequently receive donation emails from the Obama campaign. You know, please donate $3, we can't do this without you, those kinds of missives. I look at them. I think about them. I delete them. I'd like to help but, but, well, I dunno. Usually I don't send the $3. But usually they keep asking. Of course they keep asking. And it is Barack Obama himself who is asking. Or Michelle. Or Joe Biden. Or maybe whatever nameless intern is at the same time injecting caffeine and pressing send on the email blast. But Barack's name is on the email. And that's what I showed my friend behind the counter. My iPhone email inbox, and in that inbox, FROM: Barack Obama.
You would not BELIEVE the reception, the thunder clap, the commotion this caused in our host. We were Americans, friends of Obama, and here in his store? Everyone was to know. We were to be congratulated. What was Giovanni doing in the back, get him immediately. Handshakes! Where is Isabella? Introductions! Have you met the Signora Bellfronte? Her cousin lives in Cincinnati! Tell me, how many n's are there in Cincinnati? That many? And how many people? Not so many? Do you know the Signora Bellfronte's cousin?
Suffice to say, we left with some cheese. I believe we ate cheese for two days, and that means we must have given some away. So yes, I voted for Obama again. And I got up early today to do so. Certainly one day I'd like to buy some more cheese.