Sunday, January 5, 2020

Felice Anno Nuovo!

Sunday January 5, 2020
Sunny 56°F/13°C in Roma, Lazio, Italia

As midnight approached, it got louder and louder in Rome! At the stroke of Twelve, the sound offireworks was absolutely deafening! Italians, it seems, love the sound of fireworks as they usher in the New Year! They must be going absolutely NUTS in Napoli! My son had observed earlier in the evening. Apart from the fireworks, the evening had passed quietly for Michael, Laura and Alexander and I. The big Christmas gathering at Laura’s sister’s house had been cancelled because of the illness of her daughter, Noemi. And now Laura’s mom had come down with the flu, and a priceless component in little Alexander’s childcare had been lost. Michael and Laura were left on their own to care for a colicky infant. Suddenly, the revelry associated with ushering in the New Year disappeared. We spent a very quiet New Year’s Eve.  I was back at my flat shortly before Midnight. With the fireworks exploding all around me!

Alexander and Michael
Rome has been spared the kind of terrorist attacks that have been visited upon London and Paris and some other European capitals, but the sound of fireworks is especially unnerving to a bloke like me who hails from a quiet suburb of Austin, Texas. Especially THESE fireworks, whose loud explosions sound like heavy artillery punctuated by small arms fire. Bear in mind, a nation that backs up the police with heavily armed soldiers at subway stations and historical sites and other public places must be expecting trouble. Yes, New Year’s Eve in Rome can be a little unnerving. By the next morning, all was calm and bright in my beloved eternal city.

My son, bless his heart, is of a mind that the perfect activity for his dear old dad, who is officially Pushing Eighty…is plenty of walking. Never mind that I am possessed of a bad back, with enough slipped or bulging disks that would make a xylophone weep in envy. Or, two chronically flat feet, And, my beloved Roma, which is over two-thousand years old, ABOUNDS in cobblestones and potholes! This, however, is no reason to allow me a plea of physical frailty when I should be out strolling. And, so it was that I set out from my apartment on Via Laurentina last week for his home in Colle Parnasso. Against my son’s advice, I decided against the most direct route along Viale dell’Oceano Atlantico, in favor of a path off Viale Cesare Pavese. This was my mistake, and I wound up at the foot of Viale dell’Oceano Atlantico anyway, a considerable distance out of my way. Fortunately, my grandson Alexander’s smile made the detour worthwhile. The next day, after consulting my Google Maps, and confirming the route with my son, I retraced my steps successfully.
Alexander Botula
are the envy of pancakes everywhere. Add to that collection of infirmities, a pair of hammer toes and a missing digit on my right foot, and it’s small wonder that I bring a walking stick or  that bastone every time I come to Rome to negotiate its cobble stones and potholes.

My grandson has thrived in his first two months. Michael and Laura visit his pediatrician every week for a checkup, but even my unskilled eyes tell me that young Alexander is blossoming into a healthy young lad. Every time I visit, he seems bigger. And when I can’t for one reason or another, Michael and Laura keep me well supplied with photos, many of which I immediately post on Facebook, much to the delight of my friends there. The pictures of my newest grandchild are designed as a respite from the election year politics back home.  

Michael has returned to work as a tour guide. I have taken the Metro several times to meet him at the Coliseum for lunch during a break in his schedule or he has dropped by my apartment and father and son have gone for coffee at a local bistro. Many of my friends have either returned to the States to visit their families or have returned to their countries of origin here in Europe. Since my birthday is this month, my son has promised a special performance by his band, No Funny Stuff!

Next time, more of my Roman Holiday adventures

[Mike Botula, the author of LST 920: Charlie Botula’s Long, Slow Target! is a former broadcast journalist, government agency spokesperson and media consultant.   Mike’s book is available from Amazon Books. You can read more about Mike Botula at]

© By Mike Botula 2020

No comments:

Post a Comment