I wanted to build a patio outback. The wooden porch needed to be replaced. I had contacted a man who had done several small jobs in the neighborhood. We were going to meet at three, so I could show him what I wanted done.
“Geno, get a snack for now. We’ll go for a late lunch when I’m finishing showing Signore Gianna what I want done in the back.”
It was almost 4 when we went to Bianchi’s restaurant on the dock. Almost like he knew we’d be there, our Captain was sitting in front of the restaurant.
“I heard you were looking for me.”
“We were. Come and have lunch with us, and I’ll tell you why we were looking for you.”
Over lunch, I explained about the boat. “Can you fish from the boat?”
“I think so, but there isn’t a storage area to keep a lot of fish. We would need to have coolers if we caught a lot of fish.”
“I have some coolers I took from my old boat.” And so we had a captain to go with our boat.
The next morning, I gave Signore Gianna a partial payment so he could order the bricks. We then took the train to Rotterdam. I didn’t book a hotel; we would stay on the boat. “Before we go and get the boat, we’ll need to get some groceries.” We stopped at an Albert Heijn grocery store and loaded up a cart. Then we took a taxi to the dock where our boat was docked.
“This a fine looking boat. Is this what you meant about fiberglass?”
“Yes, it is applied over the hull once the boat has been constructed. Are you ready to sail her home?”
I watched as the Captain started the motor and eased us out of the canal into the sea. We headed south along the coast. I was tempted to stop at a few places, but I was in a hurry to get home.
It took us five days before we were ready to dock at home. Geno and I took advantage of the time and learned how to navigate. Geno had to do a little fishing along the way. as well.
“Captain, can we use your dock space for our boat?”
“Yes, but you’ll have to pay the city for docking there.”
That was no problem. The dock space was close to Bianchi’s restaurant. Laying next to some of the fishing boats, it looked quite elegant.
Over the next few days, Geno and the Captain took the boat out doing some fishing. I stayed at home and watched my patio take shape. My back yard was taking shape rather nicely. The boys had trimmed the grapevines, and one of the neighbors helped them, showing what to do to get the most out of the vines. The fruit tree was bearing fruit, and one tree I wasn’t sure what it was until late summer when I discovered it was an olive tree.
Geno headed back to Milano and school. His next break would be the end of the year holidays. He told his brothers about the boat, and now they all wanted to see it. I sent pictures and told them when they are home; we’ll go fishing.
I took advantage of the Captain’s expertise and learned how to navigate and operate the boat. I even slept on it one night.
Into every life, a little rain must fall. Shortly after school had started, Roberto called me and told me dad was seriously ill and in the hospital. Geno and I flew home, which allowed me to say goodbye to my dad. Mom was distraught, as expected. Sis and her family moved into the house. I brought Mom back to Italy with us. She would now be part of our household occupying the bedroom across the hall from me.
By the time the holidays arrived, she wanted to go home and celebrate the holidays there. As soon as Geno was out of school, we left.
The holidays weren’t the same without Dad. It was apparent to Sis and me that Mom was having a hard time. I set an appointment with her doctor, but she said she was okay and didn’t need to see him. Sis and I were worried, Mom looked tired, and it was obvious she missed Dad. I was afraid she would try something in her depressed state. The boys and their families wanted to cheer her up. It seemed that the great-grandchildren had some success.
When it was time to return to Italy, Mom wanted to stay a little longer. Sis said she would look out for her and send her over when she was ready to return to Italy. Roberto told me he would bring her over with him when he returned in the summer if she hadn’t returned by then.