Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Return of the Prodigal

Okay perhaps I'm being a bit overly dramatic - and I'm just trying to imagine your surprise at that! - I really haven't been away all that long neither have I been leading a wild and dissolute existence in a big city. Nor have I been squandering my patrimony on wine, loose men or gambling - that was squandered long ago. What I have been doing is trying, along with Laurent, to shoe horn a three bedroom house and all the "stuff" from Roma into a two bedroom apartment. That and deal with the complex bureaucracy that is Service Ontario, Bell Canada and Canada Customs.  Laurent has spoken of the adventures of bring our car - bought in Ontario - back to Ontario as well as a few other sordid details of a move that neither one of us wanted to make but are trying hard to make the best of and not resent.

Gustave Doré - The Prodigal Son Returns
(and no that isn't Nicky and Nora
running to greet him!)
Though when I look at it I imagine I have been gone from home longer than the Prodigal - its been four years since I set foot this side of the pond.   However unlike the young wastrel when I got back there was no sobbing father, no fatted calf, no grand feast and no envious brother to complain about the festivities surrounding my return.  Frankly I think I had something better - friends and family to welcome me back and help soften the impact of a hard landing.

Our darling Blake - Uncle Pervy to the HFH - made two trips to Dorval to pick up, first, the HFH and myself and then, 10 days later, Laurent and has provided chauffeur service on several occasions.  Rick and John provided me with luxury accommodation and good food for well beyond the three days that is the acceptable olfactory period for guests and fish.  Our Cathy ran a willing, efficient, clean and reasonable - you can't get more reasonable than free - taxi service and took me out for drink when I needed it most.  Ron and Gord provided food, fun, great company  and a momentary return, figuratively, to Italy - welcome respite from all those boxes.  Jeff, George and Alan  knew that a day at the cottage would soothe the frazzled nerves.  Peter and Joe  ditto - though they got to go back home to Rome (I'll deal with them later).  All our other family and friends who sent love, kisses and good wishes have helped make the landing softer and for that we are grateful.

Return of the Prodigal Son - An etching dated to 1963 only one of many works by Rembrandt Van Rijn depicting the parable.  He was to return to the subject several times in oils.

And then there is Betty Jean - summer camp  counselor extraordinaire for the HFH.  She boarded our two little hellions for much longer than was intended with the grace that is her trademark.  Even the fact that Nicky felt it behooved him to mark his territory on her couch the minute he arrived didn't seem to phase her.  She took the deadly duo for long walks - or rather Nora dragged her on long walks from the sounds of it - which they now seem to expect.  There will never be any way we can adequately repay her for her time and care - though I have suggested Laurent could go over and shovel her snow after those overnight blizzards that are the norm in Ottawa winters.  She however feels that her own room in that Villa she firmly believes we should buy in Tuscany would be an adequate thank you.  Well we all can dream - her and us!

A favourite of Renaissance artists, the story was recorded in 1530 by Bernardino Licinio who placed the scene firmly in the Lombardy of his time.  No doubt it was meant as a warning to the scions of wealthy families who had been led astray.
I've also been prodigal in my updates here - the last being almost three weeks ago. And though there will not be great rejoicing and killing of baby bovines I think its time I got back to posting - if only on an irregular basis until things are settled. Life may not be as exciting in Ottawa as it was in Roma but there is till enough that I feel I can share - half-finished postings, memories of things and places in Italy, the HFH, musical videos and the odd laugh. And to be honest I miss the challenge of writing. So for better or for worse the prodigal has returned.
13 agosto - San Ponziano
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Anonymous said...

Hullo William,

Welcome Back!

Hope that our paths cross for that pint or two sometime ... Things are a little better, not perfect, but a little better ... have plan, will action ... :S

Don't work too hard ...

2 dogs

David Smith

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Welcome back, prodigal son! I don't envy anyone the kind of major move you just made. So much work!

flipstinger said...

AMEN! let the blogging continue on this side of the world....