"Filippo! Salvatore! Do not make your father wait, otherwise this time he'll leave you at home!"
I seem to hear again the voice of my mother Annunziata calling us from the kitchen, sweet and harsh at the same time. My brother and Salvatore, fighting against sleep, dressed up in a hurry for the most anticipated day of every summer, the day of tomatoes harvest.
The fresh air of early morning and the smile on the face of our father Giuseppe who made us climb on the back of the truck, along with the cassettes, remain among the best memories of my life.
The trip to the campaign was long, but for us it seemed endless. We could not wait to help father and all other adults gathering tomatoes peeking out from the green of the plantations.
With a jump, Salvatore and I were already on the ground, and with cassettes in our hands, we started the competition of who pick the most tomatoes. Every now and then, dad came to check on us by looking at the cassettes
that we filled.
When he saw some tomatoes that are too ripe or ''nu poco tuccato ", he'd threw them. And with extrodinary patience he would explained to us how to collect only the best tomatoes, "Because a good tomato puree - he said - must be made only with the finest tomatoes!".
When the sun started to set, dad invited everyone to eat and get some rest, whid Annunziata, our mother, and the other women put out washed amber-colored beer bottles and stretched out the linens that will be used in the later tomato pressing process to dry under the sun.
After playing hide and seek in the small forest of linens, to keep us busy, the adults would give us the task to help them remove ''o Streppone" tomatoes and pass them in the water.
I still remember how dad, mother and others cut tomatoes while "cavurare" were eager to welcome the red gold that very hot summer. We performed with scrupulous attention to every little job that was assigned to us, to the point that we heard to say: "As you see that Filippo and Salvatore are sons of Don Giuseppe and Donna Annunziata! They have the passion in their blood!"
The eyes of our parents were filled with satisfaction, although there were scolding, especially when we played with the "stagnarelli" that would close the amber bottles filled with fragrant rose.
The tomato feast continued until sunset, when everything women tidy up the things and our father distributed to each family a cassette of tomato puree. The rest would be brought to the market.
It's been so many summers since then and the feast has a date of birth and even a name. It's called La Torrent and since 1965 it's a feast every day.