The Reserved Table for the Regulars in Vnà
Where people met
Where people met
We are sitting in the restaurant of the Inn called Arina in Vna. A large picture hangs on the wall. It depicts a scene of the village square with the everyday comings and goings at the village fountain. Probably painted in the early 20th century by a guest who stayed at the Inn with his family.
The atmosphere of the picture reflects a liveliness, a closeness of the people. A communal life in the village!
Today’s picture would be different. The atmosphere anonymous, the village square jammed with cars, no one talking, no one working with one another. The village fountain seemingly out of place, without importance or function.
The innkeeper tells us about the reserved table for the “regulars”, which still had an important function up until two years ago. He tells us about the two men who sat at that table every day at the same time, before lunch and again in the afternoon before dinner, where they had conversations in Romansh. He tells us that these conversations kept him up to date, informed about what was going on in the village and surrounding area, better than reading the daily newspaper.
Now that one of the men has died during the Corona time, the table is no longer occupied on a daily basis. Especially vanished have the conversations in Romansh. The conversations, the heated debates, the volume up then down, when the conversation became private, the laughter, the energy; all this had a liveliness and reflected the life of this village. The conversations were open to anyone. The men might have frowned but accepted, when someone took a seat at the next table, getting out their laptop, keeping to themselves, not talking.
This atmosphere radiated a bond, a community and a sense of belonging. I believe the Romansh language lends itself well to expressing the liveliness, warmth and impulsiveness of its people and more importantly contributes to the tightly woven fabric of society.
Even now, when I hear people speaking Romansh, I get the feeling that they are connecting well with each other, radiating a certain intimacy.