I can only imagine the many angels that appeared in the life of my parents. They survived WW1, the Spanish influenza, WW2, coming to a country where they could not speak the language, etc.
In her youth, my mother was a shepherdess and maybe like King David, often looked up at the stars and wondered about the mightiness of God. She may have looked at a baby lamb being born and thought of the marvelous gift of childbirth or the delicateness and fragility of life.
It was in such surroundings that she developed a love for God. In her heart grew thedesire to serve God and almost entered a convent to become a nun. Instead she fell in love with my father and that is why I am here. They got married shortly after the end of WW2 when my dad returned from being a soldier in the Italian army.
They were hard-working people. I can still remember going into the fields to work with my father and sleeping in the open fields under the stars. Where we lived there were many snakes. I can still see my father at times having to kill a snake or two.
For some reason, I never liked snakes and still don’t. I’m not afraid of them anymore; I just don’t like them or trust them. Satan is at times connected with serpents and I don’t like him either. When I slept in the open field on a pile of grass, I always feared a snake crawling into my mouth.
I remember having to get water in a stream and seeing water snakes. I remember once climbing a tree to look into a bird’s nest and being frightened and falling off as I saw a snake in the nest eating the eggs.
I hate snakes but always had a fascination with birds. Once I even captured an owl in an old house and brought it home. I had to hide it in a storage house across the street. Finally I had to get rid of it. The surrounding neighbors were very superstitious and thought that owls brought bad luck.
Though life was hard, I remember many joys, like at harvest time and when we made wine or when we killed the fattened pig that we raised each year. Harvest time was a fun time. Each night we wouldprepare the different crops for storage during the winter. I have a vivid memory of shucking corn and eating fresh figs. In our orchard, we had several fig trees that produced the most delicious treat.
Wine-making was a special time of fun. We had to put on our rubber boots, enter this large vat filled with grapes and stomp to our heart’s desire. I can still hear the laughter as we pranced around and smashed the grapes. My parents made their own wine well into their old age. We always had wine around the house.
I learned from an early age the joys and pain of drinking wine. In moderation it is very enjoyable but when abused it bites like a serpent as the Bible points out.
I have a couple of vivid memories of abusing wine. Once was when a friend of mine and I skipped school which I did on occasion. I remember my father running after me on one occasion after he found out I was not in school. I can tell you, he was a fast runner. It must have been his training in the army. That day did not end well for me. However after this occasion I did improve my running speed. I’ll have more to say about running later.
Back to the time when I got drunk! Anyways, we got some fresh bread and a few bottles of wine from our wine storage place and we drank and we drank. In our town there was a small river that ran very close to my house. I can still see myself slumped by the river puking all of my insides.
I remember also over-drinking at a wedding and it felt that there was a constant earthquake and that somebody was repeatedly beating me over the head with a baseball bat. I may have gotten drunk a couple of more times but with these kind of after-effects, I realized that drinking was not for me.
Part 3 will follow one of these days.