We hadn't seen Signora M. in quite a while. Earlier this year, while cutting grass with her sickle, she fell off a terrace and broke her collarbone and arm, and hadn't been out much for a few months. It was her eightieth birthday the other day, when Rebecca and I walked up to see her. She looked just like she did fifteen years ago, when we moved here: a thin woman, with a weatherbeaten face (and no gray hair - I wish the country air worked the same magic on me!). Her mind showed her age more, though, and she was very apologetic, and kept shyly excusing herself for her memory lapses. Indeed, she'd become a little forgetful. But she'd lost none of her kindness, and took Rebecca by hand, and showed her around the ancient stables above which she lives, to see her animals and pat the newborn lamb. Than she walked us outside, waved us goodbye, and disappeared back into the dark grottoes beneath her house.