High in the thin, cold air where the ridge of the Alps marks the border with Italy, 350 years ago, carpenters of the Family Manzoni roofed the little chapel which had already served them for five centuries, maybe more, maybe less, while they hunted chamois and ibex, as they do today, until the winter snows and avalanche danger requires descent to the village in the valley.
A few years ago, I drove here with our principal investigator. As I wrote in Vultures’ Picnic:
We carried Badpenny’s mother’s ashes in the back of the sedan almost to the border toward Milan, high up through the vapor-breathing ice. Her dad, the train driver, was behind the wheel, of course. A few prayers, a walk toward the little chapel, but only as far as the curved bridge over a rivulet, covered with vines waiting for spring, a fairy tale grotto.
I asked Badpenny if she ever thought of getting married here.
She said, yes.
Penny was cold, shivering even in the brilliant sun, silent.
Eight years later, she answered.
By local tradition, weddings are announced by leaving a small purse of sugared almonds with the names of the betrothed at the doors of village homes.
The ribbons announce that on July 31, Leni Badpenny née Elena Luisa von Eckardt-Manzoni will marry Greg Palast at La Chiesetta di Monte Laura, Switzerland.
* * *
If you’re unfamiliar with Leni’s work as investigator for the Palast team, here are some clips from our stake-outs (most taken without her knowing) …