From My Tuscan Window

Don’t you just hate “dedications” and “thank you’s” that seem to take up a whole page in so many books, yet consist of only a couple of lines, such as “To my mother, without whom I never would have been born.”

I woke up this morning before the sun had risen, after having slept only four of the eight hours that I need to be functional. Too many unwritten chapters were competing for attention in my brain, and it was impossible to go back to sleep. So, I went downstairs and out onto the little balcony of Casa Rosina that commands the Serchio Valley and the Apennine range for a distance of at least twenty miles or more. Here, I watched the sun defeat the darkness of the shortest night of the year and inch its way up the eastern slopes of the mountains, finally bursting forth as it reached the summit and beyond.

The penetrating rays of the rising sun cleansed my brain of squabbling clutter, and I was able to go back to bed and sleep like a baby. I awoke with only one thing in mind – to whom to dedicate this book. Strange thought. I hadn’t intended to dedicate it to anyone or thank anyone, since if you mention just one person -- unless it’s your mother or your wife -- then you offend everyone else without whom there would be no book. You could go for your mother and your wife and perhaps throw in your father, but what about your children and grandchildren? What about the person who had to endure the battles between my father and me over how to edit the book?

Well here it goes. If a tree has to be cut down to print a dedication and “thank you” page, then I am going to make sure that the tree didn’t die in vain.

I, George H. Russell, being of insecure mind and somewhat disorganized thought, do hereby dedicate this book to whatever that mysterious force is that makes up our living universe without which none of us would have ever existed. Some call the force God. Next, I am grateful for the fertile specks of stardust that, from afar, reached Planet Eden, perhaps God’s most beautiful wife and impregnated the Earth, our Mother. Over the course of the millennia, this union gave rise to an evolutionary panoply of creatures and living things, both great and small, that eventually resulted in my existence and writing skills or lack thereof.

I give thanks to those first adventuresome humanoids who, upon leaving Africa, eventually arrived on the Italian Peninsula. Thanks also goes to their followers: the Etruscans, Romans, Celts, Longobardi (Lombards), and all of the others who have added to the gene pool from which has arisen the people we call “the Italians.” In spite of the trials, tribulations, wars, and conflicts, Italian culture and civilization have given the world much for which to be thankful.

Without my mother, I wouldn’t have been gifted with the drops of Italian blood that she inherited from her d’Este ancestors. Without my father, I wouldn’t have inherited the blood of the barbarian tribes of Northern Europe, which has added that extra flavor and vigor to the Italian gene pool, especially in Gioviano, with its rich Longobard heritage. May our children, grandchildren and their successors, for whom this book is also written, be blessed by the Italian experience.

I must, of course, express great gratitude to my long-suffering wife who has had to stay in Gioviano, fighting tarli (wood-worms) and dust bunnies, correcting my bad grammar and spelling, putting up with my moodiness and “Tourette’s” attacks, and feeding me, rather than shopping in Florence or hanging out at a seaside café in Tirrenia.

To the people of Gioviano, past, present and future, I dedicate this book, and to all who have passed before My Tuscan Window from the beginning of time who have given it flavor. And to you too, Argia, and the other ghosts that haunt the bowels of Palazzo Margherita.

Special thanks for editing and proofreading in
English go to my wife, Sue Russell; to my daughter, Anne Russell
Shurgot; and to my good friend, Susan Rodgers.

I must also thank my parents, Kenneth and Marjorie Russell for their
contributions of memories, recipes and anecdotes to my book. I must
also mention the helpful information willingly given to me by Shirley and Eddie Dye

Thanks also goes to Holly Vess for her proofreading of Italian
script and a very special thanks goes to Sue Ann Delk for her web layout
and design for From My Tuscan Window. (

revised February 19, 2008
Copyright 2005-2006 George H. Russell
Back to the Table of Contents
Next Chapter