As they approached, I stood, my eyes on the young lady. Mom nudged me; when I looked at her, she had a big smile.
“Tony, this is one of Camilla’s best friends, Amalia.”
Switching to Italian, “Mi fa molto piacere conoscerti” (I’m very pleased to meet you), I felt Mom nudge me on the leg. I proceeded to introduce Mom and Dad.
We chatted for a few minutes. Luis and Camilla excused themselves; they had to visit with other guests. I offered a chair to Amalia, next to me, between Dad and me. We chatted while she had coffee. Ifinished eating, and there was some food on my plate. At home, Mom would say something but not this time.
We made arrangements for a tour of the village. The rest of the morning, I spent chatting with Amalia. I guess time caught up with me, and I must have yawned a few times. Luis and Camilla came over and suggested we go for a walk, and then I could turn in for the night.
During our walk, I discovered she was a school teacher and was the one who worked with Luis on his Italian. She asked about me, and I told her I was also a teacher and lived on a farm. Luis added that it was an old farm, she laughed.
When we returned to the hotel, we made arrangements to see each other the next day, which was Friday, the wedding day.
Before I could make it to my room, want to guess who was waiting for me.
“Mom, you should be trying to get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.”
“Not before you tell me how your afternoon went.”
Now I knew what she wanted to know. “It was very nice. We went to the church, and I was introduced to the priest. We walked through the wedding, then we took a stroll through the town, stopped for coffee, and then I came back here.”
I could see that wasn’t what she wanted to hear.
“She is very nice. Did you notice her blues eyes?”
“No, I didn’t.” I did, but I wasn’t going to tell her. If I did, in her mind, there would be a double wedding. “Mom, she is a very nice woman, but you don’t marry the first time you see someone. She lives and works here, and for all I know, she might already be engaged.”
Now, knowing Mom, she will know all there is to know about Amalia by the end of the day, tomorrow.
The wedding went as planned. If you have never gone to an Italian wedding, you have missed a wedding you would always remember. The food was more than 100 people could eat, the desserts were classic, and the wine flowed freely. After that night, I didn’t need to eat for the rest of the weekend. I did exercise a lot, and I had a companion that helped me to exercise.
I spent the days between the wedding and going home in the company of a charming young lady. By this time, Mom was aware of how I spent my time and with whom.
On the plane going home, “I think Amalia is a very nice young woman. You spent a lot of time with her.”
“Yes, Mom, she is a very nice person. I enjoyed the time I spent with her.” I didn’t need to say anymore. The sparkle in Mom’s eyes said it all.
Arriving home, I was glad to see the boys and Charlie. They wanted to know all about the trip. I told them about the wedding and meeting a young woman who was a teacher. I couldn’t believe it. There was a sly smile on their faces. I thought, no, not you guys as well.
School resumed, and now I was preparing for finals before Christmas break. That would be the end of this semester. The boys were hitting the books, and our dinner discussion turned to school. There was one topic that we didn’t discuss, it was there like it hovered over us, but no one wanted to mention it. What are the boys going to do for Christmas? They can’t go home. No other time of the year does family mean as much. And the hearts of these boys will grieve this Christmas instead of celebrating this holiday.
The semester ended, and the boys did very well. Mom had a gift for them. “Brad, Tom, when Tony finished a semester of school and did well, we always gave him a present. This is a present for each of you from Dad and I.”
The boys looked stunned for a moment, and then Mom was in the arms of two boys. The gift was a warm sweater with our crest on it. I knew Mom made those sweaters. If the boys needed any reminder, they were now part of our family. Those sweaters did it.
Christmas was celebrated at our home as it has been for the last three years. Dad got Charlie a new set of tools, and he said his tools had seen better days. Charlie must have never received any gifts. There was a sparkle in his eyes.
Christmas was always a special time for me. This year it was even more special. Christmas dinner was at Mom and Dad’s. The family was there, including Luis and Camilla. There was one other guest, a young lady I had met in Italy, Amalia.
“I’m surprise to see you?”
“When Camilla and Luis invited me to come and visit, I couldn’t say no. Your mother promised me that you would show me your home.”
“Tomorrow the family meets at my home. I’ll make sure Mom and Dad bring you.”
All through dinner, the boys would look at me, smile, and then wink when I caught them whispering. Their smiles told me they were talking about Amalia and me.
Mom, playing cupid, had Amalia sit next to me at dinner. That I didn’t mind, but when the conversation turned to when I was growing up, that was embarrassing. Even Uncle Angelo added a few comments. Luis and Gene added their comments. I was sure if there was any doubt in Amalia’s mind about who I was, it was answered that day.
Going home, the boys and Charlie began teasing me. “Tony, I think you have fallen in love with that young woman.”
“Why do you say that? She is a very nice young lady whom I met in Italy.”
“Yes, but we saw how you looked at her. I think there will be a lady living in our home, right Tom?”
“Yes, it will be nice to have a pretty woman sitting at our table. We’ll have to eat in the dining room from now on.”
The boys teasing was good fun. I didn’t mind.
The day after Christmas, Mom and Dad came over early, bringing Amalia. The boys had a fire in the dining room and living room fireplaces. Who do you think showed the house to Amalia? If you said Mom, you would be right. I was in the kitchen preparing food for those who would be visiting later in the day.
Mom came and put on an apron and helped with the food, Dad and the boys took Amalia on tour. By the time they came back, Mom and I had lunch ready.
“Tony, you have a large farm. My grandfather has a farm, but not as large as yours. He raises goats for milk and cheese.” This was all said in Italian, and I translated for the boys and Charlie.
“If it wasn’t for Brad and Tom, it would have been a small garden.” This I said in Italian. But the boys knew I said something about them as they heard their name. I told them what I said in Italian.
That made me think, if I decide Amalia is the woman for me, she will need to learn English, or Brad, Tom, and Charlie need to learn Italian. Mom always translated for Dad when necessary, but every one of Mom’s brothers and sisters spoke Italian and English. Something I need to discuss with Mom.