... Sometimes, in the middle of a loud discussion, or during that lull when everyone takes their first bite of homemade tortellinni which renders them speechless, or when the boys cheer because we're having polenta (which they could eat by the bowlful), or when Nonno is telling one of his corny jokes, I look down the length of the table and want to freeze-frame that moment which seems to hold all the yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows of our family ... (An Ocean, an Airplane, and Two Countries full of Kisses)
As he was playing I looked at everyone seated around the kitchen table--at Nonna bursting with pride, Nonno grinning from ear to ear, Timothy smiling in disbelief that we actually got Jonathan to play, Joe listening attentively--and captured this moment so I could one day revisit it and experience it all over again.
With a flourish, Jonathan finished the song and was greeted with cheers and rounds of applause. He was a little embarrassed at all the attention, but his dimples flashed as he smiled.
As we were commenting on how remarkable it was that he could play the music from memory, Nonno announced that just the other day he thought of an old song he had learned in grade school, and even though he hadn't thought of that song in over fifty years he can still remember every single word.
"It was called The Arkansas Traveler," he explained. "And I'm going to sing it for you right now."
And he did.
I've written before how, in the hurricane of our busy lives, this weekly tradition of Sunday lunch with i Nonni is the eye of the storm that keeps us grounded on the things that matter. Faith. Family. Laughter. Tradition. Good food. Music.
Right there at the kitchen table.