The Unexpected Present

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Invite to an Italian Wedding


Ciao! We received an invitation to a wedding in Italy for next Saturday, September 4th, 2021. Our very good friends in Orvieto are on the email list reading the Unexpected Present, watching for signs, and what is meant by reading between the lines. So, our friends, Andreas “Pincio” and Lodociva waited until after knowing that Yuri got out of the ICU/Hospitalization/Rehab/HomeCare predicament before sending us an invite to their wedding, hoping Yuri would be able to play his violin (strings play). I didn’t work out that way.

Similarly, we planned a trip to Block Island scheduled the weekend Yuri arrived home on a stretcher, we’ve come to the conclusion that it would not be a wise choice given his vulnerability to infections and/or infectious diseases, not to mention the Delta variant spiking all over the place. There was at one moment, a glimmer of possibility when Yuri started being mobile and walking again. The wheelchairs and anything remotely looking like medical equipment is replaced with Yuri’s instruments and mixing board. We went to Darla’s for a beard trim and off to Walgreen’s for a passport photo. I sent out his expired passport that day. It takes twelve weeks or more and the wedding six weeks away. No matter. Traveling by plane was not advised by all of our medical connections.

What Yuri has gone through remains a fantastic voyage that we still talk about in minute detail. Reading through most of the medical records, I find more detail regarding the first 48 hours in the ER/ICU that necessitated round the clock nursing care, infectious disease doctors finding him as a confounding case, that he survived sepsis infections from two different hospital stays, and the powerful drugs he was put on still remain in his system. While he was recently taken off the steroids that suppressed his immune system thus quieting the raging monster, it makes him still very fragile and vulnerable to any infections. With the Delta variant spiking in places, and people refusing to wear masks, not just for their protection but for ours, well, it’s just too unpredictable.

It will take much longer for Yuri to totally recuperate as I, too have not fully recovered from the physical, mental and emotional caregiving role. While he is walking (Week 5) he has what I call the Turchyn Strut, looking straight ahead, a slow measured steadiness careful steps not to lose balance especially on uneven surfaces. Long car rides, appointments, transfers, and finally getting to everything remains tiring– for both of us. We would like nothing more than to come out for a visit especially a wedding celebration. It just doesn’t seem like it can happen at this time. So we talk about our dreams and memories since there are so many we share. Our friends in Italy are special.

Italy is more than just a place on the map. Italy is romance. Italy is a way of life. We lived it the first time, because of a mid-June screenwriting workshop I signed up for in February 2013. By May we were in the throes of negotiation while buying the family homestead we weren’t sure we were ready for. Yuri’s gut tied up in knots, his anxiety at its peak. My answer was in a bio on his website: Yuri is currently writing his memoirs in a monastery on top of the 1,000 ft. tufo rock and the Etruscan city, Orvieto, Italy. He said that’s cool. I said, Don’t take any gigs on your birthday weekend, as we arrive in Rome that day. He laughed, not taking me seriously. I finally added If we don’t go we’ll lose the deposit. We’re going. Still, in disbelief, Yuri toked while I packed. I said Take your violin. He did. We went.

It s a trip to remember. Aside from the actual travel, the Michelangelo Screenwriting (Pagecraft), the monastery fortress, Clandestino cafe, Roberto Steffanini, we met guitarist trio, Bartender at the Enoteca al Duomo, a Friday evening of wine-tasting and Gypsy Jazz music under the stars. During their soundcheck, Yuri asked if he could sit in on one song. Pincio, normally with a reputation for seriousness (he doesn’t smile they said) sat thoughtfully for a moment and answered Yuri’s request with a yes, why not?

The rest is history with recurring trips, countryside gigs, a festival event, stories, music, (one of my favorites is Philadelphia) a love affair between Andreas and a lovely young medical student, Lodovica. The ride in Pincio’s father’s Fiat 500 (from the 60s) was amazing. We shall return. With love.


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