Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dinner and a Song

Recently, my wife and I were eating in an Italian pizza place. This was the real deal too -- complete with a roving accordion player who could play pretty much any song you requested -- as long as it was Italian or "Happy Birthday." Dining there that evening was a table full of people, enjoying their meal and some lively conversation -- all in Italiano. It was a large, extended family of about 30, and they were celebrating a young man's birthday.

As soon as we walked in we were swept up into the joyful atmosphere. Everyone who wasn't eating pizza or drinking wine was smiling, talking and enjoying the evening.

As we were shown our table, the group welcomed us with smiles and a hearty "buonasera!"

Our waiter took our order, and we settled in for the evening.

The evening was delightful, as the place was abuzz with robust talk and much laughter. We savored our dinner, which was "molto buona," and we basked in the warm glow of the place's conviviality. Just as we were getting ready to leave, the accordian player started on a tradionial Italian folk song, a "tarantella." This anthem brought an elderly, Italian grandfather to his feet, who sang a succession of verses -- complete with appropriate gestures. Those in the restaraunt clapped and joined in as they were able; the place was jumpin'.

After a few song requests by the locals (as you can see, we didn't make it out the door), it was my turn to pick a number. The only Italian song I could think of was "That's Amore" by Dean Martin.

And what do you know? Our virtuoso accordianist knew it -- and played it well.

As he did, I serenaded my wife, and the restaraunt cheered. It was "fantastico!"

Some 50 strangers were united for a time by the power of a good song, good food and good drinks. We left with smiles on our faces and humming.

Then I thought to myself. Wouldn't it be nice if every now and then we could just break into a good song and enjoy the moment?

Hmmm. I wonder what's going on this evening at the German bierpalast (beer hall) down the street.

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