If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

14 January 2006

Give me a kiss to build a dream on.

Today, it was a ‘thank you’ kiss. And it was one of the best kisses ever, though not in the way you might expect. It was actually on the cheek/neck. Rather more a nuzzling of sorts. While he was murmuring something sweet about thank you in my ear.

Combined with a giant bear hug (he towers over me by more than half a foot.) And it seemed to last FOREVER. It was palpably … Genuine. Appreciative. Honest. Real. Connected. Kind. Open. Welcoming. Strong. (My cheek sort of buzzed numbly from the stubble for nearly an hour afterwards.)

There is something about Italians; they are culturally more comfortable expressing emotion than Americans. Oh, sure – there are exceptions to that if you’d like to try to pick it apart, but honestly, I’ve seen more men hug and kiss (each other) here in six months than I ever did in many years living in the Washington DC ‘gay ghetto’. The expressiveness of the language, the flamboyant way they do … everything (the example yesterday was watching two older men play cards; so … punctuated with emotion!!) The oft-caricatured use of hand gestures. (Yes - to be fair, this emotion is juxtaposed against a fascinating cultural stoicism, a still-antiquated view of women’s rights, and a society structured as if time has not moved forward in more years than I have been alive. But that’s not what this particular story is about.)

This – ahem - display was prompted by the (belated!) Christmas gift of a new Filson hat that Fratello Guido had been coveting. Nearly impossible to find in Italy, unless you’re lucky or know where to look (I was lucky.) Gleeful is the only way to describe him upon opening the bag.

He smashed it up with his hands (it’s meant to be.) Put it on and danced around in it for awhile. Pretended to be a cowboy at a quickdraw contest. Sang a few bars of “Wherever I lay my hat …” Told me he was going to put water in it to give to his horse to drink. Put on his blazer and gave me (sitting at the opposite desk) the ole’ Bogey look (of all the gin joints in all the towns in the world, she had to walk into mine…” – which is, appropriately enough, a relatively good description of how he ended up with me as a friend, in a strange twist of fate).

I truly do not have nearly enough genuine people in my life on a regular basis (I'm not sure anyone does.) Fratello Guido is one of them (when his ADD isn't flaring up.) Today he was his very best self: Confident. Unassuming. Sparkling. Relaxed. And his appreciative hug-and-kiss was, indeed, one for the record books.

Giving a gift that is just … perfect … is one of my very favorite things to do in life. It is also usually a skill that I have to work at, devote time to -- whereas it comes naturally to people like the Unassuming Princess! This time, it was a home run. The Princess would be proud of me.

(*and before you ask, no … it’s not like that. He’s like my brother. Because we’d kill each other, that’s why. Seriously, and not in a good way. But one of the best brothers I’ve ever had. Truth.)

2 Comments:

Blogger The Mom said...

You go girl!

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just thinking (before the UP part) that you are the best gift giver I know! Many of your gifts have brought me to tears. (and these gifts dont always come in the material form)
Love You,
UP

1:55 AM  

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