As the two boys walked away down the beach, Wendy and her girlfriends started discussing them.
“That guy DeDo looks like he works out a lot!” Nods of agreement all around.
“And his friend wearing the hockey jersey, I’d like to see him shoot a few pucks sometime!“, and they all laughed.
A few minutes later, Wendy leaned over to her best friend Michela and whispered:
“That guy DeDo had a little tattoo that said ‘Caffè La Soave Lucca’ — have you ever heard of it?“
“As a matter of fact, yes” Michela responded conspiratorially.
“I actually have been in there a few times. They are kind of famous for their budini di riso. Just a hint of orange and vanilla, very moist, delicious!“
“What were you doing driving over to Lucca? I’m sure that you didn’t just have a craving for budini di riso!”
“Well, remember last Fall when my little sister Lisa won that regional high school viola competition?
The prize was six weeks of lessons with a famous viola maker and composer at his studio which is right next to Caffè La Soave on Via Burlamacchi in Lucca.
So for six weeks I was driving Lisa to Lucca, and while she was taking her lessons I’d go next door, have an espresso and a budino di riso. It’s a nice place.”
“I wonder why DeDo has ‘caffè La Soave’ tattooed on his shoulder. What’s up with that?” Wendy mused.
“Well I have a pretty good way for us to find out! Didn’t you say that you wanted to attend that Lucca Music Festival concert next Saturday?
Why not spend a few minutes at Caffè La Soave beforehand? Somebody in that caffè will know who the hunk is that has their caffè’s name tattooed on his shoulder!” Michela proposed.
“Oh yes I’ve been dying to attend that concert!” Wendy laughed. “Who’s playing?”
“Who cares?” Michela responded, and they both laughed.
* * * *
Five days later on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, Wendy and Michaela walked into the Caffè La Soave, wearing masks.
Behind the counter were two young women ….
and DeDo. DeDo didn’t notice them walking in, as he was making an espresso for another customer.
“May I help you?” one of the young women asked.
“Due cappuccini e due budini di riso, per favore”, Michela said.
They waited, and DeDo finally saw them.
“Good afternoon,” Wendy said.
DeDo didn’t recognize her, for which he couldn’t be faulted since her mask wasn’t pink, she wasn’t wearing a bathing suit, and they weren’t in Viareggio.
“Good afternoon, young ladies” DeDo responded.
“I was wondering, does the caffè ever take orders for budini di riso in special shapes, for special occasions?” Wendy asked.
“I don’t ever remember us doing that” DeDo said, “But why do you ask? Do you have a specially shaped budino di riso in mind? What’s the special occasion? We really do try to accommodate our customers … especially customers who are beautiful young women!”
Wendy and Michela laughed.
“I know that it would be a lot to ask,” Wendy said, “But I was actually thinking of ordering four separate budini, each with its own unique shape. I don’t even know if it’s possible to make them!”
His interest piqued, DeDo said “Now I’m really interested. If anybody in Italy — in the world — can make special budini, it’s my family and caffè La Soave! We’re famous for our budini di riso! What four shapes did you have in mind?”
“Well …” Wendy said slowly, “The first one, I’m thinking maybe could be in the shape of that famous Lucchese tower that has the trees on top of it?”
“That’s called the Torre Guinigi” DeDo said proudly. “That’s the most famous symbol of Lucca, that and the beautiful walls that surround the city.
We’ve never been asked to make a budino in the shape of the Torre Guinigi — cakes, yes, many times over the years — but never a budino. …. But hey there’s always a first time, and we are Lucchese and very proud of the Torre Guinigi, so … yeah, ok, we’ll make that for you. What’s the second shape?”
“You’re probably going to start laughing and think I’m pretty silly for asking for this, but … could you make the second budino in the shape of a … a drone?” Wendy asked.
“A drone?” DeDo responded, mystified.
DeDo looked closer at Wendy, looking right at her eyes, and suddenly he burst into a big smile and laughed heartily.
“Yes, YES A BUDINO DRONE FOR THE BEAUTIFUL YOUNG LADY!
AND LET ME GUESS: THE THIRD ONE IS A BUDINO IN THE SHAPE OF A BEAUTIFUL RED ROSE, ISN’T IT?”
“YES!!!!!!” Wendy said happily, and Wendy and Michela burst out laughing and hugged each other!
DeDo, Wendy and Michela all were laughing and couldn’t stop laughing.
The two girls working behind the counter looked at them, and not knowing what all the fun was about, started laughing themselves.
There was infectious laughter all around. Even a couple of the other patrons started laughing.
Then, an attractive lady sitting reading the newspaper at the back of the caffè heard all of the laughing, stood up and walked over.
“Davide, I haven’t heard you laughing like this in a while” she said, smiling happily. “What’s so funny?“
“Mama, I am going to make some special budini di riso for these young ladies, who need them for a … a … what?”
“For a birthday party!” Wendy said happily.
“Yes of course! For a birthday party!” DeDo said. “They are going to have an elegant luncheon laid out,
and they need special budini di riso for … for desserts!
Since they are going to have a lot of family and friends at the party, they need four special budini! Since they love Lucca like we do Mama, they want to have a budino shaped like the Torre Guinigi, a second budino shaped like a drone …”
“Like a what? Like a drone????” DeDo’s Mother looked very surprised!
“Yes, yes, Mama, like a happy party drone, they are very big at parties for young people these days! The third budino will be shaped like a beautiful red rose, and the fourth will be shaped like … like … wait a minute, what is the fourth budino supposed to be shaped like?”
Wendy and Michela looked at each other, laughed and put their hands out palms up. “We don’t know! We need creative inspiration!”
“Well … how about … how about in the shape of the first letter of your name?” DeDo asked, looking at Wendy.
“That’s so much fun, yes, make it in the shape of a W!” Wendy responded, smiling.
“Ok great, a W for …. for ….” DeDo said, trying to figure out Wendy’s name.
DeDo’s Mother was smart enough to realize that something was going on here that she didn’t understand, and she loved DeDo so much that she wasn’t going to interfere with whatever it was.
“That sounds like a lot of work DeDo, but you seem determined to try to please this beautiful young … W!” and she laughed, and walked back to her table in the back and resumed reading her newspaper.
“And when and where should I deliver these magnificently shaped budini, W?” DeDo asked.
Wendy and Michela huddled, whispering, and then Wendy said “Can you take off on Saturday, DeDo?”
“Oh my family owns this caffè, I can free up my schedule to deliver the special budini whenever you want them!” DeDo said confidently.
“Ok then please deliver the budini on Saturday at 3pm … to Via Tartuffo 31 in Pisa.” Wendy replied.
“IN PISA??????????” DeDo stammered.
“Don’t worry, it’s just south of here, not too difficult to locate”, Michela said and both girls laughed and started walking out.
“Wait a second!” DeDo said as the girls were walking out.
The girls laughed and waved “See you on Saturday DeDo!!!!”
“And bring your hockey playing friend with you too!” Michela added happily. “It’ll be a party!”