One fine Italian evening, a couple of girls were walking quite happily after having had a fabulous dinner paired with a fantastic local wine. They were headed to the old doors that used to mark the entrance into the old city of Firenze, Italy. They were meandering as the evening was pleasant and the dessert wine had left them quite fulfilled and digesting their succulent dinner with ease.
Upon arriving at the doors and gaping for a few seconds, an old Italian man walked into the square. He was walking a dog. As both our young girls were dog lovers, they made their way over and motioned for permission to pet the dog. The Old Man obliged willingly and started some small talk with our two girls about their origins. The Old Man was quite jovial and seemed content to be walking his dog, talking to our young ladies, and with his life in general. After a few clicks of small talk the Old Man asked the girls' names. With the exchange of them the dog included (phipé) he wished them a pleasant evening (ciao bellas!) and handed them two items hand wrapped and stapled shut. Our girls slipped them in their pockets and returned the goodbye noises and waved goodbye.
Now our girls were on their way to meet a friend and the small carefully wrapped surprises were forgotten in the haste to connect. But after arrival at the meeting point, and in the interim one of the girls put her hand in her pocket and rediscovered her treasure. She was slightly wary of the item, but equally curious.
Upon opening the small present, to her utter delight she discovered a ring fashioned out of gold metal and twisted into it's shape with a knot of carefully interwoven design. This had obviously been carefully crafted by the Old Man (no doubt with Phipé's attentive eyes gazing on) himself. Our girl was touched, how beautiful and kind this Old Man had been. She thought that he was someone who was completely happy and enjoying his life - every day.
The other girl opened hers and it was a ring of similar make but unique and beautiful in its own way. Our two girls never met up with their friend, but went home with a warmness in their centers (beyond the wine) that wafted off and followed their path all the way home.
Even after our girls saw Firenze, and bid goodbye to the fair city, they remembered the Old Man. For one of our girls, the ring has stayed on her long finger ever since. The smile has stayed and the warmness has not faded. Even now she involuntarily smiles when the ring sparkles and catches her eye. Thank you Old Man. Grazie, e buonosera.
Claire Winter Gorton
Song: Johnny Appleseed Joe Strummer