“I Want You Girls To Do It Now While You Still Can”
In Italy I visited a delightful American family of four on one of our Tuscany cooking tours, two sisters in their late 50s, each with her teenage daughter. All of them loved food, cooking and art and got on well, so they had the time of their lives on our tour and in Rome and Florence on their own.
The 80ish mother of the two middle-aged sisters was paying for all four trips, but couldn’t go with them due to chronic poor health. She told her daughters, “I travelled a bit but not to all the places I wanted to. Now my travel window has shut. I want you girls to go now while you still can.” Like many families, the adult daughters were weighed down with mortgage payments and other expenses of running a family and didn’t have money now for the trip to Italy they’d all been dreaming of sharing.
The two sisters live in different cities so it was a wonderful chance for them to re-connect and for the two cousins to re-connect.
They also took advantage of the time of life of their teen daughters. They traveled together before their daughters were tied down to a degree program, job, boyfriend, husband or children and less free to travel with their mothers.
Larry and Carol wanted to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in Italy in an extra special way, a custom designed cooking and wine tour. Larry contacted me after his father-in-law, Salvatore told him Mama Margaret was the one to call about cooking holidays in Italy. Salvatore and Rheta, Carol’s parents, were going to Italy with Larry and Carol to celebrate their big anniversary.
We custom designed a 10 day tour in Piedmont and the Riviera just for the four of them with a great guide to accompany and pamper them. They had a ball!
I caught up with them on the Riviera. I could see right away how close they all were to each other. They talked, joked and laughed a lot in a down to earth, affectionate way, especially Salvatore. With a big smile, Larry told me years ago how easily he’d become part of Carol’s Italian family.
Salvatore and Rheta were both 80, teased each other affectionately and held hands. They’d been married 57 years. What’s your secret, I asked. Rheta smiled, “We’re best friends. We have discussions but we never fight.” “What’s your secret?” I asked 45 year old Carol. The same as mum and dad”, she smiled.
In a quiet moment, I said to Carol, “It’s wonderful you’re all enjoying each other’s company so much on a family trip to celebrate your anniversary.” She turned to me with a more serious look, “Yes, we thought it was a great opportunity to travel with mum and dad. After all, they’re 80 and we don’t know how much longer they’ll be around, do we?”