Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Seatmate Vinnie

Yesterday afternoon, I was walking up the street (you’re always walking up some street in Assisi) on my way back to the Hotel Giotto with a stash treats I’d bought from the little grocery store nearby, when I looked up and saw a bunch of people at the edge of the parking lot laughing and pointing at me—one with his index fingers cocked like two guns.

“Stick ‘em up,” he said.

I was totally disoriented for about two seconds and then I realized it was Vinnie, my seatmate on the flight to Rome. Along with his wife, Melanie; his mom, Ida; and his son, Mario.

Vinnie and had chatted about a million different things during the flight—including the fact that his wife really wanted to go to Assisi while they were in Italy. “You should take her!” I said, in my usual bossy fashion. We figured out there was a good chance it was more or less on the way to where they were going to visit family after a few days in Rome, so I said, “You should stop and spend the night—and I know just where you should stay, too. The Hotel Giotto!”

And darned if they didn’t take my advice.

Even aside from the fact that I love it when people take my advice, I was truly happy to see them. I sent them down to the Basilica, where (they reported to me at breakfast this morning) they spent several happy hours. They were heading out to explore the town until it was time to leave on the next leg of their trip, but before they left I took them on a tour of the studio so they could meet some of the painters here and see their works-in-process. Then, of course, we had to take some pictures.

“Only connect,” E.M. Forster said.

And this delightful chance connection with Vinnie that played out in Assisi made me think (again) that he was right.

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