Monday, August 21, 2017

Family Ties

Visiting my sisters in Italy usually ends up being a series of meals and conversations, reminiscences and this year the suggestion was that this could be a place to spend my retirement. The suggestion surprised me.  My wife (on the right below)  immediately grabbed that idea and ordered Italian courses from Amazon to get ready for 2021. My own approach toward a European retirement evolved rather more slowly.
It is said we tend as human animals to end up where we started yet I had figured I might avoid that fate as rooted as I am in the New World after 35 years away. And yet...and yet.  My sisters have made friends with an old friend of mine , my former band master now an 80 year old parish priest and amateur historian...
Don Mario even threw his oar in telling me our old town band was reformed and they need a tuba player.  Who...me? Of course he said, he would be happy to warm up my old double B flat bass for me.
I find it ironic that they want me back so much and it is interesting that I find the prospect quite enticing. For the first time in my life I felt as though I had a family to belong to. This in addition to my other sister, the English-speaking half who lives and farms in Scotland who is keen for me to drop in. So now I'm figuring a trip to the Far North of the British Isles to see what's what. 28th of April is my next flying date, this time to London and then on to Rome.
Mine was not a happy childhood, my parents fought and in so doing drew lines in the sand that split us children and failed to show us a united front to face the world. I guess it's true, time can heal a lot and even though it seems to be at the eleventh hour this summer I found my family again in Italy.
My eldest sister has two sons and the eldest of them has two children so the family is securely anchored on the farm and they have embraced me, the mysterious Uncle from America who was away all their lives. Furthermore my wife who speaks Spanish and now understands a little Italian communicates with them as though she had known them all her life. The boys speak fragmented English as my sister passed on a little of her heritage, that part of her which grew up in England, and this mish mash of communication seems to be enough for everyone to be understood.
I never wanted to be a farmer and when I ran away to California I made quite a few people mad. But water seems to have flowed under the bridge enough that I can return, a prospect I never even contemplated for a minute until this past summer. The place has it's advantages...
 ...pastoral serenity...
...and someone else to look after the cattle, no farming for me thank you:
Don't forget the winding mountain roads free of traffic and tourists and police and and speed traps, right outside my future front door, if I so choose:
 And in retirement the motorcycles and the time to ride them:
My long time riding buddy Giovanni to share them with me:
And innumerable wooded walks to share with Rusty, as well as my brother-in-law's dog who likes a good romp of her own with me:
Miles and miles of trails that I haven't walked since I was 20:
I am thinking about it, and it could work. I like the food and the wine...
 The motorcycling heritage:
 The abundance of fresh fruits and cheeses:
 Locally made of course:
The history:
The culture:
 The landscapes (Google Map Morre, Terni, Italy):
 The company that will come to visit, including Kristi and Mike from work:
 The get togethers::
 Rome is but 90 minutes away:
Umbria is renowned for its meats and truffles:
 Orvieto Cathedral 40 minutes from my sister's house:
 And sights worth seeing all over the place:
 All properly aged by thousands of years of Roman history:
And though it gets cold in winter I know how to deal with that. Lots of people already do:
Life may well go full circle.