When Laura came to say goodbye before she left, she must have been carrying a large purse.
I didn't hear from her over Christmas. Then just after New Years a photo came by email of a New Year's gathering at the home of Laura's cousin Giovanni. At first I thought the photo was about the gathering and the food.
Wait! Those almond ears and clove eyes look disturbingly familiar. (Click on the photo to see an enlarged version.) Apparently Topino, unable to pass himself off as another dinner roll or as part of the centerpiece, had been discovered by one of the children.
Obviously Topino had been dining well during the holidays in Rome. He'd clearly had put on some weight since I'd last seen him. And he doesn't look particularly repentant either.
I'd like to say that this is the next best thing to being there myself, but it's not. I'm sure when he arrives home I'll have to listen to detailed descriptions of the delicious foods he nibbled on before he was captured.
Lucky for Topino, Laura's family embraced their unexpected guest with Italian exuberance and warmth. Topino was expected to eat heartily along with the family and after dinner he was given a place of honor in front of their Nativity scene.
I want to thank Laura's family for their generosity and kindness to Topino. I'm sure it warmed his little chocolate heart to spend New Years in the midst of this lovely family and I'm happy to know that he is safe and well-fed.