Tag Archives: mark twain

Lessons in Italian

24 Oct


In the spring of next year, we are planning to go to Italy.  My husband has a classmate who has lived in Italy for many years, and she is organizing a class reunion…  in a villa… in Tuscany.   Can you come up with any reason why we wouldn’t we want to go?   Neither can I!

italy map

Likely because he is pretty darned pragmatic, that same husband signed us both up for beginner’s Italian lessons via Ashland’s Parks and Recreation programs. However, since his work schedule is pretty full, he has had trouble making it to class.  In fact, I also missed the first class because I misread the schedule. Instead of arriving at 5 PM for class, I arrived a few minutes before 7 PM… which meant I was showing up for the first class of Advanced Italian!

Imagine my surprise when I walked in, thinking I was early, to hear the instructor loudly exclaim, “Ciao Bella!”  She then followed that with a rapid-fire series of questions.  My deer-in-the-headlights look must have given her some indication that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and soon she had me all straightened out.  What was wonderful is that I left feeling sorry that I had missed my first class rather than embarrassed by my error.

Since then, I have been to three more classes (with five to go!) and have learned a little bit more each week.   Italian is such a beautiful language to listen to and I look forward to becoming more fluent as time goes by.   Who knows?  Maybe by the time we get to Italy, I will actually know how to speak in Italian.


If that happens, then it will be in large part due to our delightful teacher la professoressa, Ms. Rountree.  Her enthusiasm is contagious and she is making the class fun.   And because yesterday she told us that today is her birthday, I baked her an Apple Crumb Crust Pie.  When I gave it to her, I spoke these words: Buon Compleanno e Tanti Auguri per Prossimo Anno.

Mille Grazie Signora!

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”  Mark Twain

Day 97: We met accidentally

12 Jul

Last week I shared what happened when I decided to ride my bicycle to church. My day did not turn out as planned: instead I was hit by a car, spent time in the emergency room, and found out that I had a broken rib. A few days later at the doctors office, one of the doctor’s staff, Tiffany, asked me about the age of the driver of the car. I told her my guess and she said that the driver’s age would be on the crash report. And as it turned out, the driver’s birthday was today.

When I relayed this information to my friends and family, several immediately suggested that I bake a pie for Tom, the man who had hit me. Several others thought that this was going a bit too far with my pie project. Well, this morning I resolved to bake an an apple pie and present it to Tom.

I was a bit nervous about my decision and so I asked my son to come along with me. When we approached Tom’s door, he called out, “knock knock” because he had heard our footsteps. When Tom came to the door, he greeted us. I said “I don’t know if you remember me.” He said “Anyone carrying a pie can’t be all bad.” And then I told him how we had met. Immediately he apologized and I told him quickly that I had a broken rib but then I said, “and from the police report I found out that today is your birthday and so I made you a pie. Happy Birthday.” It took a moment before he responded, ” I am genuinely touched by your gesture. This means a lot to me.”

We spent a few minutes talking about baking, about life and children. He said that since I had baked something for him, he wanted to give us some of the Scottish Shortbread he had baked (which was delicious). Then he told us about a trip he was planning to take along the Alaskan Marine Highway. Tom told us how he hoped that his brother would accompany him on this voyage. It sounded like it would be a wonderful vacation.

I am very glad that I decided to bring Tom a pie. It was a sincere act of reconciliation; of forgiveness. I wish him an amazing adventure in Alaska – and hope that we meet again sometime – but hopefully not by accident.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heal that has crushed it.
–Mark Twain