Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Back Into the Vault You Go, My Venetian Pretties!

Venice, Italy, 1986. I was younger. Thinner. And now that I think about it, a lot wealthier, too.

Being single helped on all counts.

Back in those days I was in the Air Force, stationed in Germany. On weekends I would go on bus tours to various locales throughout Europe. Venice was one of my favorite destinations.

For the equivalent of $10.00, I rode a gondola—just so a quarter of a century later, I could write in my blog that I did it.

I walked from Piazza San Marco to the Rialto Bridge and back. I probably saw as many cats as I did pigeons.

I ate lunch in a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant near the Basilica. I said two words to the waiter: “Ice cream!” He brought me an elaborate Neapolitan sundae, complete with whipped cream, cherry, and a wafer. I was delighted, and cared not what it cost or how many calories it had. For I was young, thin, and loaded with lira.

I’ll never forget the W.C. in that place. The toilet had no seat, and flushing was facilitated by a dribbling garden hose threaded through a high window.

On a trip to nearby Burano, I hit my head on an overhead beam as I climbed the stairs in a tiny shop selling the lace for which the island is famous.

I also visited Murano, where others in our group bought huge, ornate chandeliers they planned to hang in homes they had, or hoped to have someday, back in the States.

Shallow person that I am, I bought this set of glassware strictly for its looks:

I love the royal blue. I love the gold trim. And I love the enameled flowers with the tiny pearls at their centers.

Once acquired, these exquisite pieces remained in their original box for nearly twenty years, until we moved into our new home. By then, I decided my children were old enough and sufficiently distracted by video games, that it was safe to unpack the glassware so it could finally do what Old World master artisans had meticulously and lovingly crafted it to do: Collect dust.

And that’s what my royal blue Venetian pretties did in the hutch until yesterday, when Baby Bear smashed one of the glass doors. While they all survived with nary a nick, I’m afraid it’s for their own good that they must be packed away again until further notice.

I just hope it doesn’t take another twenty years.


Sandra D. Coburn said...

They are lovely. Sneak them out from time to time.

Old Goat said...

AAAhhh.....Yes! Gondola rides. Sailings every 15 minutes......sinkings every once in a while.