From My Tuscan Window

Chapter 73
I Doe (Don’t) Wanna Go Home
That country-western song, “I Wanna Go Home”, had been driving me crazy ever since the day I had heard it wafting up to the Palazzo loggia from the Serchio a couple of weeks before. This morning (June 28, 2006) I woke up with a different version playing in my head—same tune, just the addition of the word “doe” which is Texas talk for “don’t” when followed by the Texas word, “wanna”. Our very literate and proper English friends would have awakened to “I do not want to go home”, with a very British accent, playing in their heads. We had packed our suitcases the night before for the long trip back to Paris, but I wasn’t ready to leave Gioviano.

Once back in Texas, I knew that it would be almost impossible to finish this book due to a number of factors including: blaring televisions, an environment entirely alien to Italy, phones constantly ringing, jumping puppy dogs, and five weeks of work backed up. Even more importantly, we had settled into the routine of life in an Italian hill town which provides a sense of peace and tranquility that would be impossible to replicate once we got back home and into the tedium of trying to make a living.

In addition, festival time in Gioviano and in all of Tuscany was just getting started. This meant that we would be missing out on village feasts, street dancing, concerts, medieval festivals, and this year, the World Cup finals. We would also be missing, for the second year in a row, the forthcoming Notte d’Arte a Gioviano (Artistic Nights in Gioviano) which would bring 30 of the most talented young musicians in Italy to stay in our little village for a two-day series of concerts.

Elio Antichi, the artistic director had met with us at the Palazzo to see how many beds we could provide for the musicians so that they could stay in Gioviano. We determined that ten of the young people could be housed in Capanna Susanna, and so we spent the last day of our stay hanging new paintings and making the house as cheerful as possible so that the musicians would feel at home. Fourteen musical events would be performed in Piazza Barsanti, right in front of Casa Giorgio-Rosina. How sad it was that we would not be there to enjoy the music being played, almost like a command performance, but in front of an empty house.

Leaving our friends is also emotionally difficult, especially when some of our closest and dearest ones are being stalked by the Grim Reaper. Kissing those people goodbye, which would be for the last time in some cases, makes parting a bittersweet event. I find myself wanting to just ease down the hill to the parcheggio unnoticed and just fade out of the lives of the village and its inhabitants. Then, the next year, we would be joyfully greeted again, and I would be obligated to place my lips against a dozen or more whiskery faces.

That of course was not to be, because goodbye kisses and hugs are mandatory in several cases. Just the act of driving the carrozzina down the hill loaded down with suitcases means numerous stops along the way to wave goodbye to people hanging out of windows, standing in the doorway of the bottega and receiving kisses from whomever happens to be walking in the streets, which this year meant a double kiss from a precious old man with a very prickly beard.

Revised March 3, 2008
Copyright 2005-2006 George H. Russell
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