We were all sitting in smaller groups just chatting and relaxing when an older gentleman sat down on the steps behind where I was sitting with Cooper. He pulled out his guitar and began singing some classics such as Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. His style was elegant and simple, and when he finished, Madelyn went to give him some coins as appreciation for his music. Surprisingly, he refused and explained his purpose for his music. This man traveled from Florence to Rome to play songs on the Spanish Steps for his wife, since that was where they met. The only problem was that his wife had died from cancer 8 months before. However, he made a promise to her that he had to fulfill even though she was not with him on this earth anymore. He still has a sister and three children, but he is still heartbroken and trying to cope with his loss. Honoring the memory of his wife through music was helping him to recoup and recover from his loss. His story was so touching that many of us shed some tears after he left.
Welcome to part two of my thoughts on the airplane as I remember our time in Rome.
Our first night in Rome was one of the most memorable of the experience for me. It all started as a normal stroll around the city of Rome (as normal as that can be). Gelato was in hand, the moon was shining, and spirits were high. We got our first taste of Rome by walking by some historic beauties such as the Pantheon and by experiencing culinary beauty through Giolitti’s gelato. Eventually we stopped by the Spanish Steps to relax and enjoy the views and each other’s company.
This man’s story made me think about some of my own perspectives in life. First and foremost, he reminded me that relationships are the most important things we will have in this life. This is something my parents raised me to believe, but by seeing and speaking with this man, my belief in this mantra was solidified. He also showed us that a promise is a promise no matter what happens. I was not exactly sure what his promise was. It could have been to his wife, saying he would sing to her once more on the Spanish Steps. It could have also been a promise to himself to honor his wife in this way after she was gone. The details of his promise are not important, but what matters is that he traveled across the country of Italy to fulfill it. Trust is something that is hard to build, easily broken, and vital for good relationships. Keeping promises is something that builds trust with others. People make small promises all the time such as telling people “Sure I’d love to get lunch!” or maybe “I’ll shoot you a text later”. Something I took away from our encounter with this man is that promises are not something to be taken lightly, even if they are about small things. If he can keep the promise of traversing Italy in order to honor his wife, the rest of us can keep our commitments too. Keeping these promises will help us to create and improve relationships by maintaining an element of trust that is always present in our lives.