My Father's Glory Part 11.

By Chris Z.

The author claims all copyrights to this story and no duplication or publication of this story is allowed, except by the web sites to which it has been posted, without the consent of the author.

This story is purely a work of fiction and any resemblance to person's living or dead, or to events that may have occurred, is purely coincidental. Moreover, none of the actions of the characters in this story is meant to condone, approve, or sanction their behavior.

All comments are welcome and if you wish to contact me, please feel free to email me at

I would like to give thanks, to everyone that has written in regards to the story. I truly have taken into acknowledgment, your expressions, thoughts and feelings, regarding all characters. I appreciate your kind words, which have provided much inspiration, encouragement and support.

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the  heart."

-- Helen Keller (1880-1968) --

I awoke to the sounds of a car's motor, that was being tested in the early daylight and as I glanced at the alarm clock, it read 7:00 a.m.  I sat on the bed, stretched my arms and walked sluggishly to the window, as I pulled the curtains out of the way a warm ray of sunlight hit me straight in the face.  As I adjusted and rubbed my eyes, I peaked through the curtains and saw my father, washing the Fiat Spider.

I was about to open the window and shout him good morning, when something caught my eye.  There were 4 big presents on top of my desk and with all the hunger and exhaustion, from the exercise of yesterday, I had completely forgot them and left them in the back seat of the car.  My father, must have brought them into the room, as I lay asleep.  

I lunged at the presents and carefully scanned as to which one was the largest and heaviest.  They all weighed like they contained cool things, like toys and not stupid clothes.  I picked up Mr.Foglio's first, and read the card, To Dante A. Martinello, may you have a fabulous day and get all you wished for, best wishes Rocco Foglio and family.  It was a nice size box, wrapped in a mettalic orange wrapping paper, with a big lime green bow.  Once, I fought to get the lid off the box, I was surprised to find Topo Gigio.

The cuddly little mouse puppet, Topo Gigio(topo means mouse in Italian, while Gigio is the nickname for Louis) was a little mouse puppet/marionette, that's been around for that last 40 years.  Topo Gigio was born in Rome, in 1958 and created by puppeteer Maria Prego and Federico Caldura. "The Little Italian Mouse", travelled to America in the year 1963 and even appeared on a CBS television show called, The Ed Sullivan Show.  The list of stars who crossed the Sullivan stage, most of whom had never been on network television before, included Jackie Gleason, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Rudolf Nureyev, Humphrey Bogart, Maria Callas, Richard Burton, Grace Kelly, Helen Hayes, Phil Silvers, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr. and many, many more.

Standing at ten inches and made of half pound of foam rubber, Topo Gigio was controlled by sticks, not strings(unlike most puppets).  The puppeteers, were then garbed in black hoods, black velour clothing and worked against a black backdrop, so that they were invisible to the audience.  Three puppeteers manipulated Gigio with their hands by using three inch sticks, Maria Perego, moved Gigio's mouth and feet, while Frederico Giolo, guided Gigio's hands, his wife Annabella, controlled the puppet's oversized ears and Guiseppe Mazullo, provided Gigio's voice offstage.

Each week, as part of the show, the adorable little mouse would appear on stage and greet the stone-faced Mr. Sullivan with a sugary "Hello, Eddie!".  Topo, closed his weekly visits by saying, "Keesa me goo'night, Eddie." or in Spanish, "Dame el besito de buenas noches", and appeared 92 times on the show.  Topo Gigio found new fame as his creators introduced their friendly mouse in Central America, South America, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Spain and Japan.

I tried on the little puppet and made him sing and dance on my desk, I loved it and wanted to give Mr.Foglio, a big kiss and hug.  I looked at the other 3 boxes and picked the medium sized present, it was decorated in a dark blue wrapping paper and a huge gold ribbon.  The card read, To little Dante; have a great birthday, eat cake until you puke! a big hug, Paolo Mesto.

I tore the paper with all my might and was completely speechless by his present.  It was an magnificent, 1/43rd resin/metal kit of a 1980, Ferrari 126 CK Formula 1 racing car.  The photo and terrific detail on the box was awesome, I quickly read the box and was a bit dissapointed that I was to assemble and paint the car myself but when I opened the box, I was once again surprised to find the racing car, fully assembled and painted.  

The "working" model, even came with a working engine but no batteries.  I frantically opened my drawers and searched for batteries but no luck.  I ran to the closet and tried to see if I could take the batteries from my old toys but they were either the wrong size or the batteries, no longer worked.  I looked at the clock and it was ten minutes before 8:00 a.m and I knew that my mother would soon be telling to have my breakfast, take a shower and then to get ready for church.  

I took off like lighting and headed for my parents bedroom, I didn't even bother to knock and went straight to my mother's commode.  I was rummaging through the drawers, when my mother came out of the bathroom in her tea rose, chiffon nightgown, she had just showered and had that luxurious, flowery and feminine fresh scent of her Chloé perfume.  The sweet blend of jasmine and honeysuckle, lingered, drifted and floated throughout the air.

She looked very pretty in her vintage-inspired, romantic nightgown.  It was flirty, with ruffles and set in delicate lace and velvet ribbom trims, my father had gotten her the nightgown as a birthday present not long ago and as she looked at me curiously, she said.

"Dante, honey.  Good morning, what is it that you're looking for?.", she walked over to her huge closet and opened the door.

"Morning, mom.  I was looking for small batteries, look at the present, Mr. Mesto gave me!.", I walked over to her and showed her the Ferrari 126 CK formula 1 racing car.

She looked confused and as she stared at the car, she said.

"Who gave you this, again?.", and she took the car from my hands and carefully inspected it.

"Mr.Mesto, gave it to me.  He probably put it together too, because it came already assembled but it needs batteries for the motor and I can't find any in my room.", I took back the car and set it on her dressing table, while my mother took out my father's suit from his closet and laid it carefully on the bed.

As she walked back to her closet and searched for her dress, she said.

"Dante, honey.  Did you thank Mr.Mesto for the present?.", she stretched her neck back and glanced at me.

"Well no mom, I didn't get a chance to thank him or Mr.Cozza but I did tell Mr.Foglio, to give them my thanks.", I started   searching for batteries again and I honestly didn't know how she could lecture me on neatness, when her own drawers were full of papers, makeup and all kinds of junk.

"Dante, sweetheart....I don't have any batteries in there.  You might find some in the kitchen or better yet ask your father.", she looked at the Louis XVI period clock.  This clock, had been in my mother's family for generations and it was a beautiful violin-shaped clock, set in a solid walnut with elm paneling.

"Oh and that reminds me, where is your father?.", she walked over to her closet and dissapeared inside.  I was determined to find batteries and continued with my search.

"Dad 's outside.  It looks like his washing the Spider and polishing it as well.", as I was rummaging through about a million shades of lipstick, eyeliner and nail polish, I was able to find one lousy battery, unfortunately it was the wrong size.

"What is your father doing?.  He should be having breakfast and then getting ready for church, oh....honestly!.", she threw her hands in the air and dissapeared once again into her closet.  She kept muttering something in french and I'm sure that it had to do with my father but I was too busy on my quest, to find the elusive batteries.

"Dante, you're not going to find any batteries in the drawers!.  Now, please go to the kitchen and have your breakfast, it's getting late.", she came out of the closet with two pairs of Valentino shoes and then sat on the bed.

I set the racing car on her small Louis XVI bureau à cylindre.  This writing desk, was given to my mother by her grandfather and it was set in lemonwood with a wedgwood plaque.  It was quite breathtaking and very much loved by my mother, because the next thing I knew...

"Dante, how many times have I told you not to put your toys on that desk!. You're going to scratch the wood finish, please head down to the kitchen and have breakfast.", and before I could utter a single protest, my mother was ushering me out of her bedroom.

"Now please, Dante.....head down to the kitchen, have your breakfast and then get ready for church.", she closed the door behind me and I turned around, frowned and stuck out my tongue at her.

Everytime I entered my parents bedroom, I felt as if I was in a museum.  My mother had decorated her bedroom in the French Louis XVI style, much to the dismay of my father.  It was elegantly embellished in beautiful antiques that she had either inherited, received as gifts or purchased herself.

The room was painted in a soothing pale blue colour, with an ivory lacquered coating and from what my father had once told me, my mother had initially wanted to paint the room in a pale pink colour but my father put his foot down and was then agreed by both sides to settle on the pale blue.

She had a beautiful and expensive Louis XVI commode, that my grandfather had given to her on her 15th birthday, which my mother regarded as a treasure and cherished it with the most greatest esteem.  The fine commode was a Kingwood bois de bout, set on tulipwood with an ormolu bronze and a bordered frame in amaranth.

There was another Louis XVI demi-lune tulipwood, sycamore, commode made by Stockel .  It was cross banded and inlaid with green-stained geometric banding and grey-veined marble top.  It had three frieze drawers and inlaid with vases above the two drawers(sans traverse).  The central panel had a beautiful design of musical instruments, flanked by vases filed with flowers and foliage, the sides of the commode were inlaid and adorned with more intricate patterns and in the centre a lion mask was  surmounted by an urn and the legs of the commode resembled a lion's paw.  The commode, stood against the wall and beside the large window.

A fine and rare Louis XVI boulle marquetry clock, was set on top of the commode.  The clock is known as, "La Pendule aux Harpies"(The Harpy Clock) and was designed by Berain.  On the wall, hung an early Louis XVI carved and gilded mirror, which was delicately carved with beautiful flowers, palms and pomegranates.

An exceptional pair of Directoire ormolu and bronze patiné candelabras, were set at either sides of the commode and the figures of the candelabras were of  Zephyrus and Flora, done by Boizot.  Flora was the Roman Goddess of flowers, youth, and the personification of spring, while Zephyrus is the winged, Greek God of the west wind and believed to live in a cave on Thrace, Greece.

The love story goes, that Zephyrus was deeply in love, with Flora and he would use the cool breeze to play with her temples, and with a gentle breath of air, he would stir and arouse the flowers in her path to create a whirlwind of perfume and scatter it in her path but all this, failed to touch her heart.  The beautiful Goddess, loved nothing but her flowers, so Zephyrus then changed himself into a flower so captivating and beautiful, that Flora drew near to admire it.  The young Goddess, was so allured by it's perfume and sweetness, that she hung over it, completely intoxicated and overpowered.  Entranced by the secret charm, Flora gave the flower a kiss, thus consummating the union between them.  As for the intriguing and spellbinding flower that lured her, it was the rose.

Next to the box bay windows, my mother kept beautiful Maidenhair Ferns(Adiantum tenerum), which are graceful and delicate type of ferns and these have tiny leaflets in appearance that cascade along black wirelike stems.  To the right of the window, stood my mother's rare Louis XVI tulipwood and Chinese incised red lacquer bureau.  It was mounted in bronze doré, with an oblong shaped serpintine top and also lined in bronze doré, with an old leather writing panel.  The drawers were decorated with beautiful designs of blossoms and an exquisite carving of pavillions and bridges, which were set against a landscaped mountainous background in colours of brown, rust and red, done in a delicate gold tracery and incised with Chinese lacquer.  

The opposite side and the end panels were also decorated.  The frieze is mounted with bronze doré bandings and leafage, the stiles are superbly mounted with fruits and various flowers, suspended from ribboned bow-knots ending in tassels.  The whole bureau, rests on graceful, tapering legs with bronze bandings terminating in bronze doré leaf scrolled sabots and the top desk panel supports a separate cartonnier inset with decorated lacquer.

My mother had a beautiful and dazzling large directoire clock on top of the desk and it was set in ormolu(imitation gold), on a beautiful marble base portraying, Helen of Troy and Paris in an amorous embrace.  Two Louis XVI porcelain vases from Angoulême, sat at either side of the clock and these vases were adorned with gold designs of french Fleurs de Lys.

My parent's, had a romantic double King Size canopied bed, which was hand-crafted from the south of France and made of Asian Hardwood.  The genuine hardwood, added the beauty of art and had the functionality of a quality piece of furniture. The sheets in their bed were made from 100% pure habotai silk.  Habotai, means "soft as down" in Japanese and it is a soft, fine to lightweight silk that has a smooth, thin and limp hand.  Habotai is often called China silk, but authentic habotai is slightly heavier and has more luster.

The silk sheets, kept you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, the silk adjusts to your body temperature adding a perfect layer of warmth.  Their comforter was an elegant, royal blue colour and made of pure bridal satin, the comforter is called bridal satin, because of it's frequent use in bridal gowns, it is among the most superior in quality fabrics available today and it looks and feels incredible.  My mother, told me that she found silk to have the wonderful properties of movement, flow and with a very luxurious sheen, because it's so light, that you feel like you are wrapped in a soft cloud.

Two pair of late Louis XVI style gilt bronze night tables, stood at either side of the bed.  My mother slept on the right side of the bed and on her nightable, she had a late baroque terra cotta statue of the Roman Goddess Diana.  Diana, was the Goddess of the Moon, the heavenly light that illuminates the darkness, she was also known as the Goddess of the hunt and the nurturer of children, feminine values and the protector of the weak and vulnerable.  In this particular model, the "Moon Goddess" was seated next to a hound, the sculpture was created by Giuseppe Piamontini.

My father, who slept on the left side, had an spectacular statue of a Roman Chariot, entitled "The Gladiator", bonded in marble and this amazing copy, was done by F. A. Franzoni.  As one of the most popular sports in the early Olympic games, the chariot race always marked the opening of the games.  It was followed by the pentathlon which consisted of running, jumping, javelin, discus throwing, and wrestling.  

This sculpture of a Roman Charioteer in his chariot, is drawn by two horses and it is an exquisite recreation of the historical event. The detail on the sculpture was amazing, from the rider's cape flying in the wind, to the wildly spirited horses as they charged ahead.  This is my favourite piece of art in their bedroom, I liked the grace of the gladiator and the realistic pose of the horses, as they pulled the chariot.  The original can be seen in the Vatican Museum in Rome.

A charming oil on canvas painting depicting the "The Goddess of Spring", hung on the wall to the opposite site of the bed.   The painting was an enchanting scene where Flora, was standing on a chariot being pulled by two cherubs while Cupid, the God of love, hovered above her, blew her a kiss and showered her with rose petals.  The painting was set in a lovely carved giltwood frame.

As I headed downstairs I asked myself, what is it about the French and style?  My mother seems to have been born, knowing how to dress elegantly and beautifully, while her French cuisine is exquisite and heavenly to say the least and she is justly proud of her extraordinary design heritage.  From her priceless antiques that have been passed down lovingly from generation to generation, to the love and respect for fine furnishings and an eye for putting things together, that the rest of her friends longed for.

My mother has a seemingly effortless and stylish way of decorating our home, even as I grew up and absorbed many of her own qualities, wether it was in taste or her cleverness, proficiency and giftedness.  I understood that she decorated our home to emphasize taste and confort, rather than for price, status or for the latest trend.

As she once told me, "A French interior is a constant work in progress, there's always a place for a new vase filled with freshly cut roses or an exquisite piece of Limoges china.  Balance and harmony are crucial elements in a French interior.", as I walked into the kitchen, I found my father by the fridge, shirtless and helping himself to a cold glass of orange juice.

"Morning Sport.  Did I wake you up this morning?.", he took a sip of the juice, walked towards me and gave me a big kiss on the forehead.  I looked up at him, smiled and said.

"Well kind of, but the alarm clock also woke me up.", I took a quick notice at his wet body and how he was covered with grime and sweat.  He playfully messed up my hair and told me to sit down and that he was going to prepare breakfast.

"Dad, look at what Mr.Mesto gave me as a present!.", I showed him the Ferrari and just like me, his eyes lit up, as he said.

"Wow, a Ferrari 126 CK formula 1 racing car.  Mesto, did a great job with the assembly and paint job.", my father checked the car and paid careful attention to all the fine details and the awesome paint job.

"Yeah, he did but I'm looking for batteries, so that I can try out the motor.  I can't find anything upstairs and mom said that I should check the kitchen's drawers.", my father put the racing car on the table and starting looking for batteries in all the drawers.

"Well, don't worry Sport.  If we can't find any batteries, we'll just buy some after church, now sit down and have your cereal.", I sat down and gave a big loud sigh.  My father sat down on the chair, stroked my cheek and said.

"Oh, the angel is sighing.  Well, did you ask your grandmother, if she has any batteries?.", he took a bite out of a croissant and as he finished the last word in his sentence, I got up, excused myself and raced upstairs.

"Dante, what about breakfast?.", I barely had time to see my father grab the newspaper and start flipping to the sports section, when I yelled.

"That's o.k, I'm not that hungry.....I'll just eat after mass!.", as I got to the top of the stairs, I tip-toed through the hall, so that my mother wouldn't hear and gently knocked on my grandmother's bedroom door.  I heard a pleasant and caring voice say.

"Come in.", and as I walked into her bedroom, my grandmother was moving about and also preparing her sunday attire.

"Ah, it's the little prince. Good morning, my sweetheart, have you had your breakfast yet?.", and she walked towards me and gave me a big kiss on the right cheek.

"Well, not yet....but I'm not hungry.  I was wondering if you have any batteries for this.", I proudly showed her my Ferrari and explained the type of batteries that I needed for the motor.

"Oh, what an adorable little car.", she inspected the car and set it on her solid black cherry, triple door dresser.  

Where my mother preferred the highly aristocratic style of Louis XVI, my grandmother felt more at ease in the simplified, yet elegant French Provincial furniture from Provence.  Provence is named after the Provincia Romana, which is the province that the Roman's established in 118 B.C. and is located in the South of France.  The South, boasts two of France's most famous geographical areas, the French Riviera and Provence.

This part of France is very famous for the sun, dreamy pastoral world of oak forests, sweet-smelling fields cultivated in lavender, olive orchards, cicadas, Roman ruins, walled hill towns, triumphal arches, amphitheatres, coliseums, arenas, aquaducts and ofcourse wine.

The grape vine was introduced to France in 600 B.C. by the Phoenicians, who produced rosé wines.  The Romans later divided the region into large domains and being experienced producers, introduced new grape varieties and improved vinification methods.  The wines of Provence became well known outside France during the Middle Ages, as many were taken to the court of London by Eleanor of Provence who later became the Queen of England.

The wines of Provence, were among the favorite wines of French kings in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The vineyards have been called "Côtes de Provence", since the 19th century.  However, it was not until the following century that the wines won a special place in the hearts of consumers throughout the world.

As for the term, French Provincial furniture.  It started, when local craftsmen living in the provinces of France during the 18th century, imitated the finer examples of furniture seen in Paris, which were quaint yet formal in their style of furniture. This style is based on the high fashion of Louis XVI's designs of the Rococo period, yet simplified for country estate living.

Woods are sometimes left in a natural walnut or beech finish yet most are white washed or painted in pastel colors with fruit and floral stencil designs and hand painted accents.  French Provincial, endures because it is warm and welcoming, it makes use of natural materials and it draws colours from nature. Where my mother's room felt stuffy and like a museum, it was quite the contrary in my grandmother's bedroom.  Her room felt airy, like an open space and quite a charming room, the important thing was that it felt, cozy.

My grandmother had picked a vivid colour for her room, called meadow green and she had chosen antique satin draperies, for her window, which were beautifully tailored and in an appealing, Provence blue colour.  The furniture in my grandmother's bedroom, was of an expensive solid black cherry(Prunus serotina).  Because of its handsome colour and grain, black cherry is one of the most sought after woods for making high quality furniture.

A queen sized cherry four poster bed greets you when you enter the room and a matching bachelor chest and a writing desk with side chair accent the bed.  Graceful crystal lamps from Venice, stood on either side of her bedside tables, which completed the decor.  These pieces provided a relaxed yet elegant look that complemented my grandmother's personality.

The bedding, that decorated her bed, was an eye-catching magnolia bedspread, which gave the room a fresh, flowery look.  It had beautiful  shades of green and cream with a stricking leaf pattern, magnificent blooms and a scalloped border.  Next to her window, stood a very tall cherry armoire, where she kept many photo albums and items that used to belong to my grandfather.

Beside the bed, you will find a large window box with a three bay window.  The window looks out, into the backyard and where one has a perfect view of the pleasing and beautiful rose garden and the splendid hills.  In the window box, there was a very comfortable love seat with a matching cherry coffee table and this was the place, where my grandmother loved to spend her afternoons, reading a book or newspaper.

Above her black cherry lingerie chest, stood an elegant and lovely painting of my grandparents when they got married in the fall of 1945.  My grandfather looked very handsome in the painting, he was wearing his navy uniform and looked very young and attractive.  He had married my grandmother at the age of 24, when she had just turned 20.

My grandfather, had enlisted in the french navy in 1939 at the young age of 18.  He served on board of the battleship Richelieu, the Richelieu was one of France's most powerful battleships.  It was built at Arsenal de Brest and launched on the 17th january 1939 and was quickly commissioned into service due to the evacuation of Dakar on the 18th june 1940.  The Reichlieu remained at Dakar following the royal navy attacks of july and september 1940.  

The ship had weighed over 40,900 tons and had been armed with eight 15 inch guns in two sets of four; nine 6 inch guns in three sets of three; sixteen 37 mm guns; and eight 13.2 mm machine guns.  It was powered by four parsons geared turbines, and had a top speed of 32 knots.

She served with the Free French forces in the Arctic and Pacific during 1944 and 1945, as well as the Mediterranean, Indochina and the Far East, before the end of the Second World War.  The Richelieu, then returned to Toulon on 1st october 1945 and was then re-deployed with the British East Indies Fleet and returning again to Europe in the spring of 1946.  While she was there, she was placed in reserve until 1956 and eventually scrapped in Italy in 1968.

There were more photos set in beautiful glass frames, sitting on top of her lingerie chest.  She had black and white photos of my great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, as well as photos of her childhood friends, my parent's wedding and baby photos of my mother and me.  She even had photos of people that I didn't even know who they were, I was just told that these were photos of aunts and uncles but since our family is so huge, it is impossible to keep track of everyone.  Besides my mother's side of the family is scattered all over France, Belgium and Italy.  

My grandmother, had one passion and that was the collection of butterflies.  She collected rare and exotic butterflies from all over the world.  She was introduced to the world of butterfly collection, by my grandfather, who on their 50th wedding anniversary, took my grandmother to Costa Rica and bought her the Blue Morpho butterfly(Morpho menelaus).

The Blue Morpho butterfly, has a beautiful iridescent blue colour and it can only be found in the rainforests of Central and South America.  In spanish, this butterfly is known as la mariposa azúl, and it's the world’s rarest and perhaps, most beautiful butterfly.  The Blue Morpho, is a species of neotropical butterflies, that have brilliant blue wings, the females are are not as brilliantly coloured as the males and have a brown edge with white spots surrounding the iridescent blue area.  The undersides (visible when the butterfly is resting) are brown with bronze-coloured eyespots.  The Blue Morpho has a wingspan of about 6 inches(15 cm).

My grandmother, cherished this fascinating and stunning butterfly, I think more due to the memory of my grandfather and in reminiscence of their anniversary.  As in all of her butterflies, this one was encased in an airtight acrylic box and all the butterflies were carefully mounted on thin clear rods of varying lengths to give the decoration a 3-D effect, making them appear very stunning, striking and elegant.

My grandmother, once showed me the acrylic transparent case, where the Blue Morpho was encased and I could see the tiny microscopic ridges on the backs of the butterfly's wings and how they reflected light, making them appear iridescent, like blue gemstones.  My grandmother told me, that when she was in Costa Rica, my grandfather had arranged for an entomologist to take them both, deep into the jungle and once they found a clearing, they waited for 8 hours, just to observe the Blue Morpho in it's wild habitat.  

The entomologist, had explained to my grandparents, how the Blue Morpho, folds it's wings in order to protect itself, against predators and shows only the bottom of their wings, which are camouflaged a dull brown colour. This allows for the morpho to fold inward the bright side of its wings when it sleeps and show only the side that blends into the environment.

My grandmother, even had a pair of the rarest butterfly in the world.  This was the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae papilionidae), it is also the largest butterfly in the world, poisonous and lives in the rain forests of Papua New Guinea and has been classified as endangered. The female, was of a light brown colour, with yellow spots and a yellow abdomen and it's wingspan exceeded 11 inches and weigh over .88 ounces, while the male was dark brown with blue and opal green markings and a yellow abdomen.

Another huge butterfly in her collection, was the O. Goliath (Ornithoptera goliath procus).  This male, had a beautiful lime green with black and yellow in the tips of the wings.  Goliath is the second largest butterfly in the world, the wingspan of this butterfly was 10 inches and this particular butterfly was from the island of Ceram, in Indonesia.

I once asked my grandmother, how many kinds of butterflies are there?.  She said, that worldwide, there must be about 28,000 species and about 80% of all butterfly species can be found in the tropics.  My grandmother, had tons of books on butterflies on her bookshelf and knew them quite well.  When I asked her how long a butterfly lives, she said that that was a difficult question,  due to many factors, a butterflies lifespan varies, everything from weather conditions, to predators,to a loss of habitat and many other factors.

She told me that for example, the Spring Azure(Celastrina argiolus), lives only for about 4 days, while the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis Antiopa), has a lifespan of about 10-11 months, possibly making it the longest living butterfly in the world.  The Mourning Cloak, got it's name because its dark colour resembles the dark clothes worn by someone in mourning.  She also said, that just as with people, females butterflies generally live longer than males.

When I was five years old, I found a dead moth in our backyard.  I remember vividly running into the house and telling my grandmother that I had found and captured a big butterfly, at the time my grandmother was having a converstation with my mother and once they had seen my so called "butterfly", they exhanged glances and smiled.  My grandmother ended up framing my "butterfly", in a lovely cherry wooden frame, I even wrote my name on it and she wrote my age and the date/month/year of the find of the century.  Being a true and loving grandmother, she treasured my small gift and even gave the moth, the latin name,(Durantem alexandros), after me.

Even the black widow,.....I mean Mrs.Del Santo, had given my grandmother two magnificent and exquisite, extinct butterflies, for her 55th birthday.  One was called the Morpho Diana(Morphinae diana) and at one time this beautiful butterfly, could be found in the jungles of South America.  The butterfly in her collection was a male, from the Orinoco Delta region of Venezuela and was dated 1932.  It had a beautiful irisdescent blue colour, with red and black in the tips of the wings.  The last time this butterfly was sighted in the wild, was in the early 1930's.

The other extinct butterfly was called the Xerxes Blue(Glaucopsyche xerces) and is perhaps the most famous of the extinct butterflies in the United States.  It was a fascinating species that was once locally common in the state of California and could be found in suitable habitats of the San Francisco Peninsula.  Xerces was a small butterfly, where the upper wing surfaces were of an iridescent, blue-violet in the male and brown in the female, the last known sighting of this species was in 1940.

My grandmother had also another small collection given again, by my grandfather.  She wasn't too keen on them, but kept them as a reminder of my grandfather's odd taste in gift giving.  These were the Shining Leaf Beetles of the Cloud Forests of Central America.  I found these insects extremely fascinating, mostly because of their amazing and beautiful metallic colours and second, because these were really cool looking beetles.

She had two of the most sought after beetles in the world and these were set in a high quality solid oak black shadow box.  The insects featured were, Chrysina aurigans and Chrysina batesi of Costa Rica.  My grandfather had spent $700.00 U.S dollars for these beetles and these had been bought in the early 70's.

Chrysina aurigans, had a gorgeous metallic gold colour, while Chrysina batesi, was of a brilliant silver colour.  In another case, she had Chrysina cavei, in a glittering mettalic green/red colour and Chrysina boucardi, in a luxuriant metallic yellow, these two fascinating beetles, were from Honduras.  My favourites, were Chrysina spectabilish, which was of a stunning metallic green/gold colour and Chrysina optima in a dazzling pink colour, these two magnificent beetles were also from Honduras.

I stopped staring at the beetles and as I turned around, I saw my grandmother looking and searching in her drawers to see if she could find any batteries.  At last my heart lept in the air, as I heard my grandmother say.

"Are these the kind you want, my prince?.", and as she extended her hand, I finally got the correct batteries for the racing car.

"Yeah grandma!.  Those are the right batteries.", she handed them to ne and I happily tried them on.  The little motor purred like a little kitten and the driver's head would turn, everytime the wheels made a swift turn on the hardwood floor.

I hugged my grandmother and gave her my thanks, while she walked over to the hallway and said.

"Dante, my's really getting late and you better start getting ready before your mother comes out of her bedroom.", she smiled and headed out of her bedroom and towards the bathroom.

I rolled my eyes and I knew that she was right, so I dragged my way to my bedroom and set the Ferrari on the desk.  My grandmother was right, it was 9:45 a.m and time was flying by, so I quickly took the new suit out of the closet and carefully set it on the bed.   

Once my grandmother had taken her shower, I rushed in after her and quickly took mine.  I jumped in and out of the shower, brushed my teeth and quickly combed my hair.  If I knew my mother, she was still debating as to what dress she was going to wear and searching in her immense closet, for the perfect matching shoes.  So in the end, I still had another twenty minutes to spare.

I took out the new suit, that my grandmother had bought for me on my birthday, and carefully inspected it.  I wasn't too thrilled about the dark green colour, but I guess it was better than the old black suit,.....I mean the dark blue suit.  I was hoping that it wouldn't itch too much and as I tried it on, it didn't itch as much and it actually felt kinda nice.

Now that I was ready, I only needed to put on my black leather shoes, so I started to unwrap the other two gifts that were waiting for me on the desk.  I checked Mr.Cozza's present next, it was medium sized and the box was wrapped in a shiny purple wrapping paper and with a big red bow.  His card read, To little Alessandro, wishing you all the best on such a special day, all my best, Enrico Cozza.

I tore away the wrapping paper and came across a colourful heavy box.  The box was ruby red and had an illustration of a Centurion, pulling a sword out of his scabbard.  The box said, "Roman Empire" in gold letters and had a brief history of the Roman Empire, that was provided on the inner flap and on the back of the box.  The face of the Centurion, looked very realistic and lifelike, he was a handsome looking soldier, with short light brown hair, green eyes and wearing a short boxed beard.

The Roman Centurion, was a 12 inch action figure, whose body felt like soft plastic, the hands felt more human-like and yet firmly maintained their grip.  His gear was a shield, a javelin and a spear, the box also said that it came with a Pompei long sword, a scabbard and a Pugio short sword.  The swords were made of a very shiny metal, the shield(scutum) was of a deep red background, with an emblem of gold wings and lighting bolts.

I sat on my desk and was fascinated and entranced by this awesome soldier.  I read the box and the entire description, of the action figure.  The armor, was said to be die-cast metal, with an Imperial Gallic helmet and shin guards that were chromed and made of a silver lustrous material.  The centurion's helmet had a crest of horse hair and this was an emblem of rankin those days and it was certainly a work of art.  The metallic silver helmet was buffed to a sheen, with etched face guards  detailed in metallic gold, the face plates were held on with tiny wires and moved freely as the figure moved his head.

The outfit that the Centurion was wearing, was a white toga under the black overcoat which is woven with an authentic leather battle harness and the harness also has metal chest protectors.  The figure, also wore a leather belt with golden metal buckles and the Roman battle skirt, also made of real leather.  I found it amazing that all the belts had working buckles and that the harness could also be removed, as well as the armour and Roman Caliga style sandals.

I was so busy and caught up with the action figure, that I didn't even hear my father knock on my door.

"Hey Sport!.  You almost ready?.", as he stepped into the room, I could smell the undeniably masculine scent of his signature fragrance, Drakkar Noir.  Everytime, I smelled that alluring and enticing aroma, I always turned around to look for my father, that particular cologne, was to me the embodiment and essence of my father.

He was looking very elegant and handsome in his Armani midnight blue, 3-button, wool front suit.  His pants were also in the same colour, in the single pleat style.  He wore a rich Emporio Armani white dress shirt, with button cuffs.  This classic white, dress shirt was certainly an statement of elegance and made of 100% high quality cotton.  My father, looked really sharp in the suit and radiated with power and authority.  You could instantly recognize the quality of this Armani Collezioni suit, it was truly impeccably made.

I noticed that he was wearing the Armani cufflinks, that my mother gave him as a birthday present last year.  These were made of white enamel with the Armani ornamental design and he also wore an Armani tie, made of luxurious silk, in a light blue and gold colour pattern.

Even if my mother dressed him, much like she does me,  he certainly did not need any help at looking good and to appear provocative and seductive.  As he approached close, I noticed his close shave, rosy cheeks, sensual pink lips, charming hazel eyes and his jet black hair, that had a natural shine.

"Hey Sport.....awesome soldier, that you're holding there.  Is it a Centurion?.", he sat on the bed and he picked up the action figure's box and started to read it.

"This is really cool, Sport.  Who gave it to you?.", he put the box down on the bed and extended his giant hand to me and I handed him, my soldier.

"It's really awesome dad.  Mr.Cozza gave it to me and this is the birthday card.", he took a look at the card, smiled and said.

"Nice, is a Centurion.  You know Sport,....Centurion's were not merely competent soldiers, they were absolute bad-asses.", he gave me a great and warm smile and then checked the sword, dagger, and carefully inspected the helmet and shield.  As my father, continued to look closely to all the details in the action figure, he said.

"Wow, the helmet looks as if it has been etched and detailed by hand, let me see the box, Sport.  Say's, here that it's made of die-cast metal.", he set the box on the desk, sat back on the bed and said.

"Did you know, that only Roman citizens could sign up for the army?.  Plus they also had to be fit and were not allowed to marry.  In battle they would first throw their special spear called the pilum, look.....this is a pilum.", he grabbed the little spear and admired it.

"The centurions were professional soldiers, responsible for maintaining discipline in their units and for supervising the fighting on the field.  In other words, they were the officers who kept the army running and fighting smoothly.  The armor of the Centurions was similar to that of other officers, with the exception of their helmets, which were topped with a transverse crest that extended from side to side instead of front to back.", he showed me the helmet and pointed to the transverse crest.

"So, what you have here is an officer, Sport.  Under each Centurion was a standardbearer or deputy(optio), and he took command of the army (century), if the Centurion was killed or wounded.  A Centurion was in charge of about a hundred men and all of which were highly disciplined.", he motioned me to come and sit on his lap and he was going to try and explain the history of the Roman army.

I got up my chair and went to sit on my father's lap.  Up close, he smelled even more wonderful and I soon closed my eyes, rested my head on his chest and listened to his heart beat.

"In the Roman army, the commanding officer of a legion was called the Legate and he was assisted by a deputy called the Camp Prefect, he also had a staff of six senior administrative officers called Tribunes.  There were normally 28 legions in commission at any given time and each legion was divided into10 cohorts, which meant that each held 1,000 men and was the approximate equivalent of a modern battalion and these were made up of the finest and strongest battle-hardened veterans.", I can't say that I got all that but that didn't matter, because I was kinda falling asleep in his arms and his deep masculine voice, felt very soothing in my heart.

"And the bulk of the legion's command was provided by the Centuriate, from the ranks of which came the Centurions.  There were six Centurions to each cohort and five Senior Centurions called primi ordines.  Each legion had a primus pilus, which was the Senior Centurion, a kind of super-charged Regimental Sergeant Major.  The Roman centurion was distinguished by his uniform, his armour was silvered, he wore his sword on his left side rather than his right, and the crest of his helmet was turned so that it went sideways across his helmet like a halo.", my father kept talking and didn't even notice that I had my eyes half closed.

"Each Centurion had the right, or option to appoint a second-in-command for himself, and these men, were the equivalents of non-commissioned officers, known as optios.  Optios carried wax tablets on which they could write passwords and orders of the day and only the very best legionaries could hope to become optios and eventually Centurions and this would take about 15 years."  I was able to hear my father say,15 years to become a cool looking Centurion?,....poor guys.  My father, went on with the detailed history.

"A Centurion's equipment was very different, so that his men could quickly find him in battle and he wore medals on his chest, that were awarded for bravery in a battle.  Centurions could marry and their wives often lived in the barracks with them.", My father sniggered as he said that and I think that I heard him say, something like....that would have been a pain in the ass!.

"Centurion's did not march but rode on horseback and other junior officers were the standard bearers, one of whom was called the aquilifer and had the privilige to carry the Eagle of the legion.  Each legion had their own physicians, surgeons, veterinarians, clerks, trumpeters, guard commanders, intelligence officers, torturers and ofcourse executioners.", when my father said executioners, I woke up and said.

"Really,....executioners?.", I looked up at his handsome face and he smiled, knowing that he got my attention.

"Oh yeah, Sport.  The punishment for dissertation or not obeying an order was,......", and he made a sign with his right hand, and across his throat, as if his head was cut off.  He then stuck out his tongue at me, messed up my hair and laughed.  At that moment my mother walked in and said.

"Are you two ready?.", as she walked into the room, my father sat me on the bed and stood up.  He eyed my mother up and down and gave her several wolf-whistles.  She certainly looked splendid and the dress that she was wearing, reminded me of that very beautiful blond American actress from the 1950's,......Grace....something.

"Mom, you look beautiful.", she blushed at my compliment and my father walked up to her, took her hand and kissed it, while he whispered something in her ear that made her blush even more radiantly.

My mother, was wearing a 50's style, Chloé embroidered taffeta dress, in an appealing blue violet colour.  She look dazzling, with a full crinoline skirt and the low decorative back.  This luxuriant and beautiful summer dress, had a high and wide neckline, with a fitted bodice and seamless sleeves.  Lovely small orchids decorated the entire dress and her small slender waist, nicely accentuated the design of the dress.

She was also wearing a pretty Chanel brooch, that my father and I got for her two years ago as a mother's day present. Well, I was the one that picked the striking brooch and since it was for mother's day, it was heart shaped in gold and set with small pearls.  She looked very tall and then I took a look at her 5 inch Chanel high heels, in black.  I found it funny, that even in high heels, my mother could not quite reach my father's height.  

My mother, was wearing her long dark brown hair in a straight up-do, which made her look very elegant and classy. Her shade of lipstick was in a pale plum satin colour, which also matched her manicured nails.  My mother turned around and said to my father, who was still eyeing her up and down.

"Tony, would you please help me with the zipper in the back?.", as my mother turned around, my father then zipped her up and playfully touched her skirt and said.

"What's this underneath?.", my father was grinning from ear to ear and kept trying to raise my mother's skirt, while she kept pushing his hand away and she finally said.

"Stoooop it!.  It's a 3 layer chiffon petticoat, which is supposed to raise the skirt.", she blushed as my father grabbed her by the waist and kissed her softly on the cheek and whispered something in her ear.

To top off the look of elegance, my mother had borrowed my grandmother's baroque pearl collar.  These luxuriant pearls were of a radiant cranberry colour and made up of three strands of pearls, which lay snugly on the middle of her neck, with a 14-karat yellow gold diamond clasp.

My grandfather, had bought these splendid pearls for my grandmother on their 20th wedding anniversary in 1965, when they had gone on vacation to French Polynesia.  The Tahitian pearl(Pinctada Margaritifera) or black lipped oyster, was a cultured pearl, that was grown in a variety of large pearl oysters found primarily in French Polynesia.  Their beautiful and unique colours can range from light grey to black and green to purple.

My grandmother had once said that the Tahiti cultured pearl, rivals anything grown in Japan for the sharpness and intensity that reflects light from a pearl's surface.  These pearls also possess a mirror-like finish and have a radiant brilliance, these pearls also have a soft satiny surfaces, with a high-glow and lustre at which Tahiti excels.

Cultured pearls,....their very name conjures up images of lustrous jewels nestled deep in oysters far below the surface of the sea. Since the beginning of time, pearls have been revered as one of the most beautiful and magical gems on earth and in ancient times, pearls were seen as gift from the heavens and they were known as, "tears of angels".  Many believed that the wearer of pearls would achieve wealth and good health.

Just as my parents were kissing like lovebirds, in walks my grandmother.  They hadn't even noticed her presence and continued with the sickening display of affection.  My grandmother gave them a look of displeasure and then looked at me, I simply rolled my eyes and went back to reading the box of my Centurion.  I heard my grandmother, make a little noise that sounded something between a cough and a sore throat.

"Hem, hem.", I looked up at my parents and they didn't even flinch.  My grandmother, did the little cough again but this time more louder.

"HEM, HEM.", that got my parents attention and my mother blushed a deep crimsom red but my father just gave my grandmother a wide grin.

My grandmother was wearing a classic Chanel tweed double breasted suit, in a stunning dark orchid colour.  The jacket had 6 Chanel modern silver buttons with the "CC" in the centre in black and another three silver buttons on each sleeve.  The silk lined jacket had great detail, with back shoulder vents and two inseam front pockets. The skirt was lined in silk and with two front pockets and to accessorize this classic suit, my grandmother wore a pretty and delicate white leather Chanel Camellia pin, the leaves of the camellia, were set in a gold tone and with the Chanel name engraved on it's leaves.

My grandmother, had her black lambskin leather Chanel bag in her hands.  The bag had small accents of silver and had the design of a box and with a unique hook closure accented with the "CC" logo on the front.  A gold shoulder chain strap, hung over her right shoulder.  She wore black leather two-tone pumps with the silver "CC" logo on them.  

My father looked at my mother and grandmother and said.

"Wow, Sport.  Look at all this girly glamour.", my father winked at me and gave my mom a pat on the butt and said.

"Allright, let's get this show on the road.", and he started to make his way into the hallway, when I heard my mother say.

"Oh, let's take a photo.  My men look so handsome, let's head outside and we'll take the photos there.", I rolled my eyes and protested.

"Ohhh,.... Mom.  I don't want to have a photos taken, let's just go!.", I dragged myself to the door and did my best to pout and frown.

My grandmother smiled, caressed my left cheek and said.

"Just a couple of shots little prince.  You look so handsome in the suit and soon you'll outgrow it and we won't have photos of you in it.  Please sweetheart, it for grandma.", I hated when she and my mother would use guilt to get what they wanted, so I gave a long deep sigh, rolled my eyes and said.

"FINE, but just a few!.", and I walked out of my room.  We all headed downstairs and my mother took a comb out of her purse and was about to comb my hair, when I said.

"The hair is fine, mom!.", and I pushed her hands away and seeked refuge by standing next to my father.

My father was looking at himself in the hallway mirror, when he said out loud.

"We look like we're going to be auctioned off.", he chuckled and playfully threw me a right jab to the stomach but I managed to block him in time.

My father looked very surprised and as he raised his eyebrows, he said.

"Nice one Sport.  Very, very nice.", he messed up my hair and winked.

I stood in front of the mirror and I asked my father, how I looked.  He eyed me up and down, gave me a wicked smile and said.

"Honestly?....well, you look like a big olive!.", as he laughed out loud, I stuck out my tongue and like a lighting bolt, threw him a left jab into the stomach.  He actually flinched and winced as my fist bounced off his rock hard stomach.  My poor fist, felt like it had hit a solid brick wall and when I looked up at my father, he had a looked dumbfounded and full surprise, as he had been completely caught off guard.

He stood there looking at me and at first I though that he was upset because he didn't say anything but his bewildered look, then changed to a smile and as he knelt to my eye level, he looked at me straight in the eyes and said.

"Do you know, what you just did?.", I now felt bad of what I had done and I was about to apologize for my sudden burst of anger but as I was about to open my mouth, my father interrupted me and said.

"That was the fastest jab that I have seen in a long while.  I can only think of one person, with such a fast reflex that can throw a left jab that way.", I stared at his warm hazel eyes and I managed to give him a smile, as he was about to say something else, my grandmother came out of the kitchen and my mother was descending down the stairs with the camera in her hand.

"Allright, I found the camera.  Now let's go outside and take some quick photos.", my father winked at me and gently patted my butt and we marched outside.

The weather was quite cool and breeze, I was glad that it didn't look like it was going to be a muggy and humid day.  The sun was quite high by now but the calm breeze was quite refreshing and felt nice in my face.  After about 5 minutes of picture taking, I was beggining to lose my patience and I was no longer in the mood to smile.  My mother must have sensed my mood and she finally said.

"Allright, let's go.  Let me get the Risotto ai Funghi(Risotto with Mushrooms) and the Torta Paradiso(Paradise Cake).  Mom, don't forget to get your dish.", and she ran back into the house and my grandmother followed suit.

I noticed that my father, had left the Fiat Spider in the driveway and was inspecting the car and checking the tires.  I heard my mother and grandmother approach and they started to walking towards the Fiat Panda, when my father said.

"Where are you all going?. We're taking the Spider to church.", and he opened the passenger seat and motioned us to get in.

My mother, grandmother and I, were looking at each other and must have had a look of complete surprise.  I couldn't actually imagine that my father, was going to take the Spider out for a drive, especially with us in it.  My mother looked at my grandmother and me and then in almost a whisper, she said.

"Let's hurry before he changes his mind." and she motioned me to get into the car.  I sat in the back seat and took a good sniff, at the black leather seats, which felt cushy and were quite comfortable.  I can't say or even remember that last time that I had ever sat inside the car, especially since the Spider was always in the garage, covered and protected by a thick layered car cover.

As we got in the car, I was savouring the cake that my grandmother, had baked yesterday.  It was her delicious Pastry Crown Filled Cake with Chantilly Cream and Strawberries.  It looked so yummy and mouthwatering, that I was glad that my stomach was empty and I was going to stuff myself silly with just desserts at the after mass picnic.

My mother sat in the front seat and the aroma of her Risotto ai Funghi, was making me hungry.  The taste of the delicious rice, carrots, chicken, peas, mushroom, red and green peppers, leek, onion, garlic, chopped parsley, rosemary, celery, extra-virgen olive oil, butter and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, was now making my stomach grumble with hunger.

My grandmother looked at me and I blushed at the growls that my stomach was making, she looked at me and said.

"Dante, darling.  Did you have your breakfast?.", I simply nodded and smiled, as she tried to balance both her cake and my mother's Torta Paradiso.  

My father, drove slowly and carefully to the Church of San Francesco, one reason was the dishes that we were carrying, they had to arrive in one piece and secondly because my mother was afraid of the speed that the Spider was capable of.

As we pulled into the parking lot, my father scanned the lot for a spot with shade, but most of the good spots had already been taken.  He decided to drop us in front of the church's steps, while he drove again around the parking lot and try to find a suitable spot.

At the top of the steps, the town's "socialite piranhas", were waiting for my mother and grandmother, to arrive.  As soon as we got out of the car, I noticed them whispering to each other and checking us out, from head to toe.  I recognized Mrs.Chiara Imbruglia, Mrs.Bianca Raffaelli, Mrs.Gabriela Rizzardi, Mrs.Marietta De Bellamont and Mrs.Isabella Grandizzio.

I disliked every single one of these ferocious women.  In all honesty, nothing good could be said of any of them, they were the most snobbiest and meddlesome of women and their acidic tongues could and had been known to destroy not only marriages but other people's personal and financial lives, due to the high connections that they had.  

These were venomous and pampered women, who didn't hold "real" jobs, as my mother had once said.  They were as what my father, had described as being trophy wives, meaning that these were wives, which were regarded as status symbols for the husband. None of these women married for love, they married for wealth and although none of them really needed to marry a rich man, being extremely wealthy themselves, they had married men, who held high and noticible position jobs in the eyes of San Remo's high society.

Mrs.Chiara Imbruglia, had married Macèo Agosto Imbruglia, who was a Cosmetic Surgeon and was also twice her age.   Mrs.Bianca Raffaelli, had married Angelo Ehno Raffaelli and he was an Architect/Planner, who worked for his father's firm of Pontarelli & Raffaelli, right here in San Remo.  Mrs.Gabriela Rizzardi, was married to Mr.Fedele Emilio Rizzardi, a Logistics Executive, who's company was situated in Milan.  Mrs.Marietta De Bellamont, was married to Mr.Chevalier Carvell De Bellamont, a Belgian lawyer, with his own firm in San Remo and Mrs.Isabella Grandizzio, who was currently married to Mr.Luzio Gianni Grandizzio, Vice-President for La Banca d'Italia in San Remo.

The first one to approach us, was Mrs.Imbruglia.  She was about my mother's height and of the same age, with very fair skin and quite beautiful.  She had long luscious sunny blond hair and was wearing an alluring beige shimmer on her full lips and she had a very voluptuous, full-bosomed chest with a curvaceous feminine figure.  Her eyes were emerald green in colour and she wore an alluring scent that I couldn't quite figure out the name.  

Mrs.Imbruglia, was dressed in a beige Chanel tweed suit, with dark brown two tone Chanel pumps to match.  She was obscenely decked in pearls, from her neck, to her wrists and earrings. She approached my mother and gave her an air kiss, first on the left side and then the right, thus leaving each other's cheeks lipstick-free.

"Adrienne Christine,.... darling.  You look marvelous, what a beautiful taffeta dress, it's by Chloé ofcourse?.", Mrs.Imbruglia, couldn't conceal, the look of envy.

"Chiara, are you?.  Ofcourse, it's by Chloé and you simply look resplendent in that divine Chanel suit.", and my mother, air kissed her back.  Mrs.Imbruglia, put right hand on her hips and said.

"Oh, this humble thing?.  Well I picked it up in Milan two weeks ago and that reminds me Adrienne, my daughter is here for Easter vacation, along with the rest of our girls.  I can't wait for you to meet them, it's been such a long time and she has grown into such a beautiful and polite young lady.", she then greeted my grandmother with an air kiss and when she saw me I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.

"Oh.... Dante Alessandro, you look so elegant in that Armani suit.  My God, you're growing up so fast, everytime I see you, you've gotten more handsome and grown an extra inch.", she walked up to me and gave me an actual kiss on the cheek.  I simple smiled and said.

"It's a pleasure to see you again, Mrs.Imbruglia and you look very nice as well.", and I politely kissed her on the right cheek.

Mrs.Imbruglia had one daughter, who was around my age and although I had never met her, she spoke very often of her and of her great academic achievements.  Her name was Clarissa Gema(Jewel) Imbruglia and she went to Our Lady, Queen of all Saints Mary Academy For Girls.  This was an exclusive and very expensive private school for girls ranging in ages from 5-19 in Milan.

Mrs.Bianca Raffaelli, greeted my mother and grandmother next.  Mrs.Raffaelli, was also the same height as my mother, with long wavy shoulder length jet black hair, light green eyes and beautiful long eyelashes, she was thin looking but with a nice feminine figure. She was wearing a Christian Dior suit, that had a pattern of black woven interlocking boxes with woven interiors in a wheat colour in soft wool.  The jacket had nine black shiny buttons set in gold-tone and she was wearing a long and thick gold chain around her neck and a thick gold bracelet on her right hand.  The cuffs and collar were in a champagne-beige colour, with 4 clear buttons on each cuff and 6 clear buttons on the collar and a long straight knee lenght skirt that had the same design as her jacket and very elegant 4 inch heel pumps, in midnight black.

Mrs.Raffaelli, looked very happy and in a joyous mood, as she hugged my mother and said.

"Oh Addriene, my girls have grown so much that I could hardly believe it.  I can't wait for you to meet them, they're a bit quiet and shy though.", and she smiled as she greeted my grandmother next and as she hugged me, she said.

"Dante, you look so graceful in that suit and what a handsome young man, you're becoming.", she gave me a strong hug and with her soft and manicured hand, she caressed my right cheek.

"You look very pretty, Mrs.Raffaelli.", and I smiled and sighed.

From the conversations, that I had "overheard" between my mother and grandmother, Mrs.Bianca Raffaelli had a twin set of girls.  They were named Camilla Maria and Rosetta Speranza Raffaelli.  I had also "overheard", that had been born a month after my birthday and that Mrs.Raffaelli, had had a very tedious and dangerous delivery.  Mrs.Raffaelli, had confided in my mother and told her, that her physician made it ver clear that it would be very dangerous if she ever tried to conceive any more children.  These girls also went to Our Lady, Queen of all Saints Mary Academy For Girls in Milan.

Mrs.Gabriela Rizzardi, took one step forward, hugged and air kissed my mother.  She was a very tall lady, with a light chestnut brown and shoulder length angled hair and pretty brown eyes.  She was wearing a double breasted, Ungaro wool suit, in deep pink and black colour.  It had a large long collar, with wide lapels and four exterior gold and black buttons.

It was a very elegant suit, with long sleeves and three gold tone buttons on each sleeve, 2 lower open front pockets, shoulder pads and a straight skirt.  She wore a super sexy 5 inch heel with ankle strap and zipper on the back, in a deep pink colour.

Mrs.Gabriela Rizzardi, was the mother of Pia Isabella, who had just turned 7 years old and also attended, Our Lady, Queen of all Saints Mary Academy For Girls in Milan.

"How are you my dear Addriene and where is Antonio?.", she air kissed my grandmother and then gave me a big hug and a peck on the cheeks, my mother smiled and said.

"Tony is trying to find the perfect parking spot for that stupid car, you know how men are.", and she air kissed Mrs.Rizzardi on the cheeks.

Mrs.Marietta De Bellamont, was also in a very cheery mood and was practically jumping with happiness and energy.  She was quite tall and busty, with an elegant and exquisite shapely body.  She wore her strawberry/ash blonde hair in a flowing, carefree way and she had a pair of alluring ice cold blue eyes.  She stood very regal, wearing a glamorous Escada Couture suit in a beautiful turquoise colour.  The suit was embroidered in a pattern of wavy lines with curled ends, with a jacket that had shoulder pads and long sleeves with three silver buttons on each sleeve.  The front had 3 gold-tone buttons, with E's surrounding a faux pearl center and two lower open pockets.  The skirt was done in the straight fashion and she was wearing elegant pumps with 5 inch black heels.  

Her daughter was named Charlotte Carina De Bellamont.  I had once again, "overheard" that Mrs.De Bellamont, had become pregnant with Charlotte by an amorous affair, that she had while she was modeling in Paris, in the late 1970's.  Mrs.De Bellamont, ended up marrying the Belgium lawyer, who was the father of Charlotte and they now resided here in San Remo. Charlotte Carina was her only child and Mrs.De Bellamont, had done some sort of "surgery", so that she would not get pregnant again and lose her model figure.  Charlotte Carina, also attended Our Lady, Queen of all Saints Mary Academy For Girls in Milan.

Mrs.De Bellamont, hugged my mother and then my grandmother, as she said.

"It's such a beautiful day today, everything looks perfect in the garden behind the church.  All the picnic tables have been set up and just give your dishes to the choir boys that helped to set everything and we can make our way inside and take our seats.", she looked me up and down and as I blushed, she said.

"Look at you, Dante. What a charming and good-looking young man, you're getting to be.", she gave a big hug and  kiss on the cheek.  I smiled and as I blushed, I said.

"Thank-you, Mrs.De Bellamont and you're looking quite lovely today.", and kissed her gently on the right cheek.  As I kissed her, I noticed that she wore a very sweet smelling perfume that almost made me want to sneeze.

Last but not least, Mrs.Isabella Grandizzio, approached my mother and grandmother and greeted them both with a hug and a loud air kiss.  She was the tallest of them all, with light blue eyes, platinum blond hair, done in a chin length bob and with a soft tousled curl fringe. She was very well-proportioned, curvy and had a very feminine figure.  

She wore a graceful, double breasted Giorgio Armani plaid wool suit, in a mix of black, white, red, blue, orange, and green. The jacket had a black lining long collar with wide lapels, three gold and black buttons on each sleeve and on the front, a two button closure, with a very elegant knee lenght, plaid skirt.   

A stunning and alluring pearl necklace, hung from her neck, a thick gold bracelet shone on her right hand and a very pretty pearl bee shaped pin, that rested on the lapel of her jacket. The head, wings and legs of the bee, were made out of gold and spotted with tiny diamonds.  Her earrings were in a rose design, where the petals, were made of small pearls with tear shaped diamonds that resembled rain drops.  Her shoes, were elegant black leather slingback pumps, with a striking silver mesh strap.  

Her preferance in perfume, was the seductive scent by Escada.  A fragrant mixture of peach, tuberose and mandarin and blends magically with notes of carnation, musk, sandalwood, orange flower, coconut and vanilla.  Escada is feminine scent that possesses a blend of oriental spices and with a refined floral fragrance.

Mrs.Isabella Grandizzio was going through a messy divorce and perhaps that's why she looked a bit glum and tired.  Her husband, Mr.Grandizzio was the vice president for the local branch of La Banca d'Italia(The Bank of Italy) in San Remo, and the nasty rumours, that were floating around said that Mr.Grandizzio had been caught playing doctor and nurse, with an bank employee.  I had no idea, as to what that meant but it must be bad, because the battle had escalated so high, that he wanted full custody of their 8 year old daughter, Anna Blanca, who also attended Our Lady, Queen of all Saints Mary Academy For Girls in Milan.

At that moment Mrs.Di Franco comes out of the church and as she sees us, she smiles and says.

"You're all finally here.  Oh good,  I was beginning to get worried.", she walked over to my mother and grandmother,  gave them a hug and then she greeted my mother's friends.

Mrs.Di Franco, was dressed to impress in full Yves Saint Laurent couture.  She wore a double breasted wool suit, with a black and red checkered design and shiny black lining.  The jacket she wore was in the long style and it suited her frame and made her look more refined, the jacket had long sleeves with one button cuffs, long lapels and three silver and black buttons down the front.  She wore a long straight skirt in the same checkered pattern, with an open slit in the back and she wore black YSL pumps in a velvety, suede leather.

Her jewelry was quite simple but nonetheless eye catching.  It consisted of a gold chain, with a pendant that hung from her chest, made of beautiful enamels and emeralds.  It was the sort of a jewel that you would expect to see ladies of high class were in the Renaissance and this precious masterpiece was decorated with typical Italian floral patterns.  As she greeted us, I could detect the Opium perfume, that she wore, made ofcourse by Yves Saint Laurent and has been classified as a soft fragrance, that possesses a feminine and alluring blend of rose, carnation, sandalwood, pepper, lily of the valley and clove.

As Mrs.Di Franco approached me, she gave me a big kiss, pinched my cheeks and said.

"Look at you, young man.  You look so dapper and elegant and where is your father?, he is coming,.....I hope?.", she looked at my grandmother, who only nodded and as she was about to say something, my father was walking up the steps, with his hands in his pockets and looking more handsome than ever.

All of the sudden, I saw all the women take a step forward and their eyes, lit up and in a chorus, they said.

"Antonio!.", I was standing next to my grandmother and holding her hand, as I saw my mother's friends and even Mrs.Di Franco, line up to greet my father.

"Good morning ladies. You're all looking very lovely and elegant, on this pleasant morning.", my father, then bowed with courtesy and kissed all of the ladies hands very prettily.  Even Mrs.Di Franco, smiled and blushed as my father kissed her hand.

My mother who was still balancing her two savoury dishes, rolled her eyes as my father, threw her a quick glance and teasingly winked at her.

Mrs.Chiara Imbruglia, took one step forward and as she played with her sunny blond hair, she grabbed my father by his right hand and said.

"Oh Tony, where have you been hiding?.  We hardly see you around here, it's been such a long time.", she eyed my father up and down as she said.

"You're looking great.  That Sports Center, really keeps you in shape!.", she was looking straight into his eyes and wouldn't stop smiling.  She squeezed his right and pulled him down to her level and planted a big kiss on his right cheek.  My father gave her a huge grin and said.

"You have no idea, as to how much exercise, I get at the Sports Center.", My father smiled and gave her a small peck on the right cheek. I could have sworn, that I heard my mother say something like..."Oh, please!."

Mrs.Bianca Raffaelli, practically pushed Mrs.Chiara Imbruglia out of the way and said.  She grabbed his free arm and stared at his hazel eyes as she said.

"My God, Antonio.  What does it take to get you to come to my social parties?.  Everytime, I send an invitation, you're always in a soccer tournament or at that stupid Sports Center or yes, my favourite one.....ill.",  I had never really seen my father blush this deep shade of red before, but this was actually amusing.  He looked at her and then at my mother, I think he wanted her to say something but when I looked at my mother, it was her turn to grin.

"Ahhh....Bianca, darling.  Yeah, sorry about that and I promise that next time you throw a party, Adrienne and I will be there.", he gave her a soft kiss on the right and then left cheek.  

Mrs.Gabriela Rizzardi, practially shoved her way towards my father and as she pushed Mrs.Bianca Raffaelli aside, she gently arranged my father's tie and said.

"Antonio Alessandro Martinello.  I heard, that last time you were visiting the power plant at the other side of town and you were practically in my neighbourhood, yet you didn't even bother to visit me, shame on you!.", she gave my father a small kiss on the lips and gently pulled his right ear.

"Ahhh....Gabriela, my dear.  I was at the plant the whole day and I was running all sorts of tests, so I didn't have time to drop by.  By the time I was finished, it was late in the evening and I didn't want to drop in uninvited.", he blushed again and managed to give a very sexy smile, while composing himself.

Mrs.Gabriela Rizzardi, lived in the most exclusive and wealthy part of San Remo.  It was in the prestigious neighbourhood of Via del Castello, located in the high hilltops of town and where the best panoramic views of the harbour could be enjoyed.  I had been there, perhaps twice and the homes in that part of town, were better described as being mansions.

Mrs.Marietta De Bellamont and Mrs.Isabella Grandizzio, came to my father's aid and each took hold of his muscular biceps. Mrs.Grandizzio on the right and Mrs.De Bellamont on the left.  Mrs.De Bellamont, interrupted Mrs.Rizzardi and while smiling and feeling my father's athletic arm, she said.

"Tony is a very busy man, Gabriela.  He dosen't have the time to be paying house calls.", Mrs.De Bellamont, gave my father a gentle kiss on his right cheek and then cleaned the lipstick off with her hand.  My father, was grinning from ear to ear as he said.

"Marie, you're looking great.  I've missed seeing that beautiful smile.", my father gently returned the kiss to her right and then left cheek.

"And what about me?.", Mrs.Grandizzio, had her arm wrapped around his strong and sturdy arms, as she kissed him gently on the lips and with her right hand, played with his hair.

"Well, look exceptionally nice today and enticing as always.", my father hugged Mrs.Grandizzio and gave her a peck on the left cheek.

Mrs.Grandizzio, gave my father a big hug and as she gently caressed his chin, she said.

"My goodness Tony, you're looking more strapping than ever.  That Sports Center, is truly keeping you fit, firm and vigorous.", Mrs.Grandizzio, playfully tickled his hard stomach and my father just laughed and said.

"I recently saw Luzio at the Sports Center and ....", everyone was shaking their heads from side to side, in an effort to warn my father but it was too late.  Mrs.Grandizzio, let out a loud growl and said.

"Arrrg, don't mention that son of bitch to me.!", my father raised his eyebrows and had his mouth still open, since he didn't get to finish his sentence.

My mother, closed her eyes and gave a loud sigh, while my grandmother, whispered something to Mrs.Di Franco, most likely explaining Mrs.Grandizzio's marital situation.  My father, took Mrs.Grandizzio's hand and said.

"I'm very sorry, I forgot about the....well, the divorce.  Do you want me to kick his ass the next time I see him?.", that made Mrs.Grandizzio smile and give a little nervous laugh.  My father, gave her a big smile and another kiss on the cheek.

"You just give me the word and he'll be sorry that he ever hurt you.  To tell you the truth, I never liked him anyways.", everyone started laughing and at that moment Father Ettore, walked in and said.

"Well, it looks like we have a full house this morning.  We're going to start mass in a couple of minutes, so we better be going inside.", he cheerfully and graciously greeted all the ladies.

As soon as Father Ettore's light green eyes locked in at my father, his face became radiant and became more rosy than usual. He was clean shaven as usual, with an appealing scent of aftershave, a brisk smell of lemons and something.  His full head of white hair, gleamed and shone like snow in the sun.  Father Ettore looked splendid in his white robe, this being Easter, the colour white, represented purity.

His rosy cheeks looked as if they were on fire and I wondered why he was blushing, his skin was so fair, that even his ears were turning red.  As my mother, grandmother and the rest of the ladies entered the church, Father Ettore took a step forward, cornered my father and said.

"Antonio, it's a pleasure to have you here today.", my father smiled, extended his right hand and firmly shook Father Ettore's hand.  

"Likewise Father.  It's certainly a pleasure to be here.", they stared at each other for a couple of seconds, when a tall choir boy appeared and said.

"Excuse me, Father. We're ready to start mass.", the young man, interrupted the warm meeting and then excused himself.  Father Ettore looked at me, gave me a warm smile and said.

"Good morning Dante.  You look very handsome in your suit, just like your daddy.", he softly stroked my cheek and we then heard the ringing of bells.  Father Ettore looked at my father and said.

"Well, we better go inside now, so that we can enjoy the feast after the mass.", Father Ettore led the way, followed by the older  choir boy and as I entered the church, I dipped my fingers in the holy water, made the sign of the cross and led my father to our seats.

The church was decorated beautifully, with different kinds of beautiful and sweet smelling flowers and many kinds of palms.  The liturgical colours were seen primarily in the materials of chasubles, copes, altar cloths and textile beautifully embroidered hangings.  The colours were also used in the embellishment of the vestments, such as orphreys, other apparels and in the material or decoration of the stole and maniple.

This was Palm Sunday or as it's called in Italian,(Domenica delle Palme).  Palm Sunday was and still is, what my grandmother would call, "una festa di chiesa", a church holiday.  In other words, a holiday, that wasn't really celebrated at home.  This was also the time, where one would receive a palm at church.

Holy Week(La settimana santa), starts just after Palm Sunday and this a very special and festive time for Roman Catholics.  It is celebrated in all churches with festive splendour and great devotion.  The first hymn, that was sung, was called, Praise to the Paschal Victim(Victimae Paschali Laudes), written by the priest Wipo, in the year 1030.

The choir that was singing, was none other than my school's choir, of St.Basil The Great.  The next hymn, sung was, Hail, Festive Day(Salve festa dies).  This hymn, was written by St.Venantius Fortunatus in the year 580 A.D., this hymn was later translated into various languages and has become a popular Easter song.  The first English translation is mentioned in a letter of Archbishop Cranmer to King Henry VIII, in 1544.

An ancient hymn for Vespers, was also sung during the middle of the mass and it was entitled, At The Lamb's High Feast We Sing(Ad regias Agni dapes). The present version, is based on the text of a sixth or seventh century, by an unknown author.

My father was sitting next to me, when he whispered in my ear.

"Psst, Sport.  How much longer is this going to take?.", my father looked at his watch and I had to laugh and smile at the question.

"Well, mass is usually and hour and about fifteen minutes but since this is a special mass, it will probably take an extra fifteen more minutes.", my father looked at his watch, rolled his gorgeous eyes and gave a deep sigh.

My mother overheard us and elbowed my father, she then looked in my direction and sushed us both.

"Shhh, silence...both of you.", and she went back to paying attention to the sermon.

The last Easter song, that we heard was a song that dates back to the middle ages, entitled Alleluia, O Sons and Daughters (Alleluia! O filii and filiae), written by the Franciscan Jean Tisserand in 1494.

Both my father and I were overjoyed, when mass was finally over and Father Ettore then said.

"Go in the peace of Christ", Father Ettore, then gave us the sign of cross and said.

"May I remind everyone, that the food that you have all so kindly and graciously, brought to our congregation, has beem set up in the tables behind the church in the garden.  Please have something to eat before heading home.", I was practically seeing stars before my eyes, caused by the hunger.

As everyone headed outside, I kept pulling my father's hand in order to be among the first for the food but I was more than surprised to see, not only the number of people that had shown up for mass but the amount of food available.

Each food table was decorated in popular Easter symbols.  The tablecloths, were the type of linens that you would see in elegant restaurants, in a snowy white colour, smooth and pristine.  They all had an emroidered lamb, representing Christ, with a flag of victory.  The beautiful design was hand made and done in golden thread.

The oldest prayer for the blessing of lambs can be found in the seventh-century sacramentary(ritual book) of the Benedictine monastery of Bobbio.  This monastery can still be found, in the province of Pavia, in the town of Emilia-Romagna, north central Italy.  As a special symbol, two hundred years after it was first mentioned in the ritual book, Rome adopted it and thereafter the main feature of the Pope's Easter dinner for many centuries was roast lamb.

The ancient tradition of the Passover lamb also inspired among the Christians the use of lamb meat as a popular food at Easter time, and at the present time it is eaten as the main meal on Easter Sunday in many parts of eastern Europe.  Frequently, however, little figures of a lamb made of butter, pastry, or sugar have been substituted for the meat, forming Easter table centerpieces.

In past centuries it was considered a lucky omen to meet a lamb, especially at Easter time.  It was a popular superstition that the devil, who could take the form of all other animals, was never allowed to appear in the shape of a lamb because of its religious symbolism.

I was pretty sure, that most people, like myself had skipped breakfast in order to leave room for this Easter feast.  But no one dared make the first move to touch the food until Father Ettore had blessed it.  So, while we all waited for Father Ettore to make his rounds to all 8 tables of food, my father and I stood under the shade of a tree, untill we heard the raucous noise of very familiar voices.

My father and I, turned around and saw Mr.Rocco Foglio, Mr.Paolo Mesto and Mr.Enrico Cozza walking towards us.  I ran up to Mr.Foglio and jumped into his arms and said.

"Thank-you, Mr.Foglio.  I loved the marionette of Topo Gigio.", he lifted me, with his huge muscular arms and said.

"Well, cub....I'm very glad that you liked it.  Did you open the other gift?", he set me down on the lawn as my father approached them and shook their hands.

Mr.Foglio, was wearing a finely tailored Armani navy blazer in a 3 button style.  This certainly, was an exceptional blazer in both quality and appearance and it was made of fine wool, with high quality pewter buttons.  He wore a pair of gray wool trousers, in a double reverse pleat style with top front pockets and lined to the knee.  The cotton shirt, was charcoal in colour, with a pointed collar and a perfect match, to the golden yellow silk tie, that had accents of silver and blue.

He wore, black leather lace up shoes that went perfectly with the suit and his cologne, had a refined scent of spicy lavender, bergamot, lemon, citrus and sandalwood.   

"Hey guys, what the hell are you doing at this church?.  I thought that all of you attended, St.Thomas Aquinas.", I stood looking at my father's friends and enjoyed the exciment of being around them and also felt very at ease in their presence and truly enjoyed their fun company.

I smiled at Mr.Mesto and noticed how handsome, he looked in his suit.  He wore a three-button, taupe coloured, 100% wool, Armani sport coat, in a windowpane pattern.  The matching Armani shirt, was in a very light tan colour and with classically tailored wool matching trousers in a double reverse pleat and lined to the knee.  The shoes, were a stylish, lace-up soft leather uppers in a dark tan colour.

Mr.Mesto's cologne, was an alluring and sweet scent the blended well in the warm breeze.  A mix of refreshing essence of spicy lavender, amber, sage and jasmine herbs.  Whatever the name of the cologne, he wore it very well and blended nicely with his seductive body.

I shook Mr.Mesto's hand and as I looked up at him, smiled and said.

"Thank-you, Mr.Mesto for the Ferrari 126 racing car.", I gave him a hug and he cheerfully picked me up and charmingly said.

"Did you like the racing car, cub?.  It took me 3 weeks to put it together cub, so be gentle with it.", he gave me a kiss on the forehead and whispered in my ear.

"And don't let your dad play with it or he'll wreck the car!.", and we both smiled and laughed, at the private joke.

I walked over to Mr.Cozza, smiled and admired his outfit.  He looked very majestic and impressive in a 3 button olive plaid, sport coat by Cristobal Balenciaga.  I thought, that he looked very handsome, in that suit, it made him appear quite striking. It was a double breasted one button lapel jacket, with side vents and a matching double breasted three button vest and double pleated pants and these were enhanced with a touch of cashmere for added softness.  The shirt was a stylish full pleated front, in 100 % cotton with a spread collar and french cuffs in an ivory white colour.  His dress shoes, were of an tanned and buffed black leather.  The shoes, were highly polished and gave a deep and elegant look, a very classic style.  

As he picked me up and messed up my neat hair, he smiled and said.

"Hey there, Alessandro.  Damm, you're looking good.", his cologne was a bit strong but nonetheless, very masculine.  A scent of rosemary, rose, basil, lavender, juniper, lemon, cypress, black currant and amber.  

"So I take it, that you liked the Centurion officer?.  He comes with real cool accessories, dosen't he?.", he then set me down on the lawn and I then heard Mr.Foglio give a low groan.

"Oh, great.  Here comes the gruesome twosome, my wife Cruella and heinous, mother-in-law, Maleficent.", everyone, including my father broke into hilarious laughter and as I turned around to look into their direction, I caught a glimpse of a tall, blonde lady in her early fifties.

As she came closer to us, she was walking faster and faster and looked very upset.  She walked up to Mr.Foglio and didn't even greet anyone and said.

"Rocco Ambrosi Foglio, where the hell, did you disappear to?.  You can't be away from the three stooges from one miserable day?.  You left my mother and I sitting at church and didn't even bother to wait for us, some husband you are.!", Mrs.Foglio, was a full-bosomed and voluptuous lady in her early fifties.

She wore a peachy and beige lace spring dress with a V-back, with a floral design, made of pink, white and red roses.  She looked quite lovely, with her long blonde hair waving in the breeze and her soft perfume, had a sweet scent of gardenias, bergamont, white rosette, lily and satinwood.  I couldn't help but to stare at the size of her breasts, they were huge and actually reminded me of melons, the kind that my mother brings from the fruit market.  

Everyone had a serious look on their faces and no one said anything, when Mrs.Foglio looked down and saw me standing there.  She smiled, gently brushed my hair and said.

"What's your name, angel?.", she looked at me up and down and after I stopped staring at her immense breasts, I said.

"I'm Dante Alessandro Martinello.  Nice to meet you.", I extended my little hand and she gave a little laugh and smiled.

"Oh, what a charming young man and such good manners.  It's hard to believe, that he's your son Antonio.", she threw my father a look of dislike and gently pinched my right cheek.

"It's certainly a pleasure Dante Alessandro.  My name is Cristabela Maridonna Immacolata Foglio, you're such a handsome little man and so cute.", she then pinched both my cheeks and this time a little harder.

At that moment, an old lady was doing her best at walking, while lifting her cane and shouting obscenities.  She must have been Mr.Foglio's mother-in-law and she looked well over 100 years old and very wrinkled.

Mrs.Foglio, looked in the direction of my father and Mr.Mesto and said.

"And you two, where are your wives?.", she crossed her arms and waited for an answer.  

My father, was the first to respond and while giving Mrs.Foglio a big smile, he said.

"Well, you're looking beautiful today, Cristabela.", he deeply and mockingly bowed to Mrs.Foglio and then said.

"Adrienne, went to the ladies room and Dante and I should go looking for her, so if you excuse me.", he motioned me to follow him and I also excused myself.

My father, excused himself from his buddies and said.

"Don't go far guys.  I'll bring the rest of the family back here.", he waved, took hold of my hand and we walked back to the church and went looking for my mother and grandmother.

Once we got back to the back entrance of the church, we caught a glimpse of my mother and grandmother, surrounded by her friends and talking to Father Ettore.  My father gave my mother a kiss on the cheek and said.

"Dante and I found a nice spot by some trees.  So, let's start making a line for the food, before it's gone.", he gave my mother a deep kiss on the lips, which made my mother blush.  She caressed my father's right cheek and said.

"Perfect my love.  But before we go, Father Ettore was telling me that they need more chairs and he was wondering if you'd be able to help him and get them from the basement?.", my father smiled, looked at my mother and then grinned mischievously at Father Ettore.

"Is that so, Father?.  And the chairs are in the basement?.", he slowly took off his jacket and handed it over to my mother.

My mother took the jacket, kissed my father and said.

"Oh and please Tony, don't get your suit dirty.", I was about to follow my father, when he caught me following him and said.

"Listen, Sport.  Do me a favour and go with your mother, allright.  It's going to be filthy down there and I don't want you to get dirty, besides I want you to save me a nice big piece of your mom's cake for me.", he then winked at me, kissed my forehead and he followed Father Ettore into the church.


Antonio Alessandro Martinello, followed Father Ettore into the church's cool basement.  Outside, you could hear the sound of people laughing, arguing about soccer scores, catching up on gossip or discussing the upcoming flower festival.  It certainly was a long time, since Antonio had been down into the basement but he clearly remembered the smell of mildew and of old decaying junk. Even as Father Ettore led the way, Antonio couldn't help to grin and smirk at the boldness of Ettore Masimilliano.  Of all the places and times, when Ettore could make a pass at him, this was certainly not an appropriate moment.  It was very risky to say the least, for either one of them.  Perhaps, Ettore really wanted some help but then again, why not ask one of his choir boys or better yet some other men?.

How long had he known Ettore?, at least twenty years and that was a fucking long time.  He remembered very clearly the first time that they met, he had been 15 years old and Father Ettore was the priest that performed the services when his parents had died in a car crash.  It was Father Ettore, who tried to help him overcome the anger that he felt towards everyone, it was Father Ettore, that directed that anger into something positive and enrolled him in boxing at the Sports Center and it was once again, Father Ettore, who led him away from the dangerous gang that Antonio had starting to hang out with and getting into serious trouble.

It was the summer of '61, when Antonio had just turned 16 years old and had playing a long and exhausting soccer game, when he suffered a painful sprain ankle.  Ettore, was always there to watch Antonio play and it was Ettore, that had carried him out of the field and offered to drive him to his Aunt's place.

Antonio had mumbled to Father Ettore, that his Aunt could care less if he got hurt and that she wouldn't be calling for a doctor to check on Antonio's injury.  Especially for an injury caused by playing a stupid game of soccer and besides, she had 9 kids of her own to raise and if he didn't come home that evening, he would just be one less mouth to feed. So, Ettore took Antonio to the church and then helped him, into his bedroom, where he examined the sprain.  It was a second degree sprain and there was severe pain but little swelling .  He laid Antonio on the bed, so that he could rest and prevent further injury, he then placed a cloth between the icepack and the skin and would change the icepack every twenty minutes and then carefully applied an elastic bandage, to provide a little pressure and he carefully wrapped it, from the toes to the middle of the lower leg.

After about 4 hours, Ettore started to rub Antonio's hairy muscular leg and it had felt so good, that ofcourse Antonio had sprung a major erection that was clearly visible, through his soccer shorts.  Ettore smiled and soothingly told the young man, that that was a normal teenage reaction.  Antonio smiled and closed his eyes, as Ettore's hand went further and further north of his leg and at that moment Antonio, knew what was happening.  

Antonio did not resist or freak out, quite on the contrary, he relaxed, closed his eyes, breathed normally and spread his legs, so that the priest, could get better access to his cock and balls.  Ettore remained silent the whole time and slowly and very carefully reached inside Antonio's shorts.  Then, Ettore's fingers started to feel around his jockstrap, all this while caressing his hairy balls and at that moment, everything just fell into place.

That warm summer evening, Antonio must have received 8 wet and great blowjobs from Father Ettore.  Actually, Antonio lost track at the number of times that Ettore had swallowed his creamy sperm.  He smiled at the thought, that at the age of sixteen, he could easily shoot dozens of times and if given a rest of at least five minutes, be ready again to shoot another warm load.

That evening, as he fell asleep in Ettore's bed, Antonio knew two things.  One, he knew that he loved receiving this kind of attention and two, that Father Ettore Masimilliano, was an awesome cock sucker, who truly knew how to take care of his needs.  This was the beginning of many sexual get togethers and for the next months and years, they often met regularly.


"So how many chairs are we going to need, Ettore?.", I saw a couple of chairs by the left wall, so I carefully walked over, avoiding boxes and the other junk that was scattered all over the floor.  I was carefully, trying not to get the suit dirty, because if I did, I knew that I was going to be in pretty deep shit with Adrienne.

Father Ettore, slowly walked over to me, smiling and blushing every shade of red.  As he stood in front of me, I could detect the old scent of his cologne, Vetiver by Guerlain.  He had been wearing Vetiver, ever since I could remember and I can still see the small bottle that stood on his dresser, the evening that I spent at his place.

He stared deeply into my eyes and grinned malicious.  He then slowly rubbed his right hand on my crotch and said.

"Well, we're going to need ten chairs but I was hoping that you would let me take care of this, like I used to.", he was know gently massaging my cock and balls and soon enough I was going to salute him with a major erection.

I didn't stop him, I simply looked at his green eyes, smiled and said.

"I had a feeling, that's what you wanted. You clever, sly old fox.", I couldn't help but laugh at his coolness and audacity.

"Can you blame me?.  Once, someone gets a taste of that horsecock of yours and drinks your delicious nectar, one gets hooked,....hooked for life!.", Ettore was being extremely forward and daring.  He slowly started to pull down my zipper, then reached inside and started to feel my hardening cock.

I pushed his hand away, zipped up my fly and said.

"Aren't you the little least concerned, that someone might see us?.", he knelt down on the floor and pressed his face into my crotch.  He tenderly kissed my crotch, looked up at me, caressed my ass with his hands and said.

"That's what makes it more fun, dosen't it?.  Besides, we use to be alot more careless, don't you remember?.", Oh, I remembered plenty but those times were long gone and this was neither the time or the place to do this.

I lifted his head with my hands, smiled and said.

"That was another time, Ettore.  Besides, I don't want to get caught by one of your little choirboys with my cock in your mouth.", Ettore, couldn't keep his hands off my basket.

I gave a deep sigh and knew that this was a losing battle.  I've known Ettore, far too long to know that he won't give up this easily.  Ettore is one horny devil, who enjoys eating my cock, as much as he enjoys getting it deep inside his smooth ass.


As Father Ettore, looked at Antonio, he remembered that evening, when he brought him over to his place.  It had been such a long time ago but he remembered it, like it was just yesterday. 

For a mature man, like Father Ettore it had been an easy task to seduce a young man like Antonio and to fascinate him with his expirience and skill.  However,what Father Ettore hadn't expected, was that he might end up falling in love with the young man and that's exactly what had happened.


I heard the laughter get louder outside and I nervously looked at my watch.  Ettore was still rubbing my crotch with his hands and kissing my raging hardon, through the fabric.  I lifted Ettore's face again and said.

"Allright, Ettore. You got your way, go ahead and suck me off, but do it quickly!.", As I gave a loud sigh, Ettore's eyes lit up like fireworks, he unzipped me, pulled down my underwear and out bounced, my swollen cock.  

With all the exciment and with blood rushing to both heads, my cock rapidly increased in size.  Ettore then started to stroke the vigorous shaft and while looking up at me, gently kissed the head and then slowly and teasingly, chewed on my foreskin and then took my bloated cock into his mouth.


Father Ettore looked up, admired Antonio's broad muscular shoulder's and his handsomely built body.  Antonio's, hefty cock was swollen huge and the touch of Antonio's body, made Father Ettore feel so excited, that he could feel his own pulse all over his body.

I looked up at Antonio face, as he was closing his gorgeous eyes.  It had been such a long time, too long, actually since I've had the pleasure to suck and drink from Antonio's beautiful and massive horsecock.  I watched in exciment, as how the thick veins bulged out on the fat cock and as Antonio's gently grabbed my head with both of his hands and guided his robust rod deeper into my wet mouth and I begun to suck his gorgeous cock, ravenously.

In a fervent frenzy and with joyous ardour, I kissed and licked Antonio's gigantic cock.  I grabbed hold and gently squeezed his curved buttocks, Antonio was now fucking my mouth, with fierce energy and it felt wonderful to taste, swallow and pleasure this man.  

After a while, Antonio's arduous fucking turned into a ramdom and ruthless stabbing as his prodigious and fat cock plunged deeper and deeper inside my throat, with an irresistible force.  I started to hear Antonio's sexy voice and I knew that I was doing a job well done when he started to groan and mumble words.

"Ohhhh, fuck yeah.  Yeah,....that's hot....feels so fucking hot,.... incredible.", he would grab my head and plunge the massive cock, deeper into my willing throat.

"Ohhhh, man.  I'm not going to last long....too horny,....much too horny.  You're mouth is so fucking hot,....yeah!.", As I heard Antonio's sexy voice, I wanted nothing more, than to enjoy his potent, virile and massive member.

"Ohhh, yeah.  Ohhhhh, yeeaaahhh!.", Antonio groaned, while grasping my shoulders and my tongue swirled around the thick head of his giantic dick.  I could instantly feel, that the shaft seemed to swell to even larger dimensions while I eagerly washed the head clean with my wet tongue, licking up all the sticky and delicious fluid that covered the hard rod.

I felt the hardness, the heat of Antonio's fat cock in my mouth and it drove me wild.  I began to bob my head up and down on the shaft of that mammoth cock and truly determined to take all 12 hard inches.  I opened my mouth wide and succeded in taking more and more of the throbbing meat into my throat.

My hands caressed Antonio's firm legs and his taut buttocks, while I flicked my tongue enthusiastically over the smooth skin of his huge dickhead that filled my mouth and drilled deeper and deeper, pushing against my twirling tongue.  Antonio, kept moaning and forcefully fucking my mouth, with wild animalistic force.

"Yeah, Ettore.  Suck my cock,....suck my big, throbbing cock,....suck it!.  You're good,....really good, in fact.... I had forgotten how good your mouth felt.", As Antonio fucked my mouth, we moved in unison for long moments of pure lust and I did my best at milking Antonio's big daddy cock with my hungry mouth.

Antonio, was close to climax, his legs started to shake and he was wriggling.  His ecstatic moaning, was getting louder and louder and Antonio buried his fingers in my hair and pulled my face closer until a stunning orgasm shook his body.  He then arched his strong body and spurted his load of thick, virile and creamy sperm, down my throat.  

"Ohhhhhh, my gaaaaaawwwddd!.  Ohhh, Christ....holy, fuckin' Christ!.", Antonio was twitching and shivering, with his mind blowing climax.  Never had I felt such ecstasy and bliss than when Antonio had walked into my life and how I had guided the young man into adulthood, so many years ago.  Antonio, buried his fingers deeper into my hair and firmly pressed my face in his crotch.

Antonio, then started to fuck my mouth again.  I knew that this was the best part, because he is able to have multiple orgasms, in fact one after the other.  At least in his youth, he was able to reward me, with 3 consecutive and delicious cum loads.  So, I was very curious if he could still do that.  I've known long ago, that this gorgeous man, is certainly an impressive sperm making factory.

"Yeah....yeah.  I'm ready, cum again,, sweet comes another load.  Ohhhh, shit....holy shit, I'm cummin'....cummmmming!.", I buried my nose, deep in Antonio's coarse pubic bush, when the second flood of mouthwaterin and distinctive Martinello sperm, cascaded down my throat.

It had truly been an ecstatic moment.  I continued to swirl my tongue, around the firm and massive cockhead, it looked so red, angry and swollen to the extreme.  Antonio, watched my every moment and his handsome face, expressed his feelings very clearly. His attractive face, was covered in sweat and radiating a healthy red glow.  

I continued to suck, at Antonio's softening cock with an incredible and insatiable gusto.  How I wished that I could drink his savory and rich sperm on a daily basis, this man's sperm was truly an exquisite delicacy.  Antonio's cock, was an intense explosion of the senses.  It was truly satisfying, to see this incredible, handsome and muscular man tremble when reaching his uncontrolable orgasm but the hardest part was, that I could never satisfy my hunger for him.

Once, I drank the last drop of life, I kissed and devoured his hairy ballsack.  I had always been surprised by the size of the precious and superior Martinello jewels.  Just like everything in this man, his balls were huge and without joking almost equal in size to tennis balls.  Even though Antonio was gasping, heaving and trying to free himself, I couldn't help but to suck each hairy orb into my mouth.

I was sweating profusely, and as I looked down at Ettore's face, I managed to say.

"You really liked that didn't you?.", I softly stroked his right cheek and wiped some cum from his lips.  Ettore, smiled back, kissed my cock for the last time and stuffed it, back into my underwear.  He took a deep breath and said.

"I have wanted to do that for a long time, but I didn't have the nerves.", by the look of Antonio's face, he certainly looked pleased and with his strong hands, he pulled me to my feet.

My face felt very hot to the touch and as Antonio, caressed my cheek, he said.

"Thank-you, old friend.  You've always been there for me, even though I've neglected our friendship, but I've never forgotten you.", I grabbed him by the neck and gave him a tight hug.

At that moment two choir boys were running down the stairs and down into the basement.  I quickly composed myself and zipped my fly.

"Father Ettore?.  Are you down here?.", a young blond boy, barely older than my own son was staring at us, as he said.

"Father Ettore, the whole congregation is looking for you. Where you able to find the chairs?.", the boy took a small step towards my direction and for a moment, I think he was staring at my crotch.

Ettore, then quickly jumped in front of the boy, almost tripped on a box, that was laying on the floor and said.

"Oh yes, Romeo.  Why don't you and Octavio take one chair each and please be careful when you walk up the stairs.", and with that I took a chair on each hand and slowly made my way up the stairs.  

As I passed the young cute Romeo, I couldn't help to notice that the boy had his gaze right at my crotch.  I quickly looked down and I got nervous and wondered if in all the commotion, I had left my zipper open, but was closed.  So I gave him a quick wink and enjoyed how he had turned a deep shade of red.  I smiled and then rushed upstairs.

I wondered how much longer, my father was going to take in helping Father Ettore.  Even though, there were 8 tables, I wanted my father to be able to get the best desserts.  I was walking over to the dessert table, when I heard my mother, yell out.

"Dante honey.  The warm dishes are right here, don't forget to get a salad as well.", I rolled my eyes and returned to where she and my grandmother were standing.

I stood in the line, where the sign read, Entrees.  On this table, they had Chicken Saltimboca, Chicken Cacciatore, Risotto Primavera, Grouper Pizzaiola, Rigatoni Meat Sauce, Orzo with Wild Mushrooms and for Zuppe(soup) Zuppa di Pesce, Cream of Potato, Minestrone Soup, Cream of Vegetable, Seafood Bisque and Onion Soup.  I wasn't even paying attention and kept looking over a big fat woman, trying to catch a glimpse if anyone was at the dessert table, but thank the heavens it was empty.

I picked a little of the Chicken Saltimboca and the Orzo with the Wild Mushrooms and then moved on to table two.  This table had a sign that read, Insalate(salads).  The choices included, Caesar Salad, Spinach Salad, Mixed Greens Salad, Tuna Salad, Potato Salad, Shrimp Salad, Corn and Black bean Salad, Creamy Mushroom Salad, Cheese Salad, Cucumber and Purslane Salad and Mushroom Salad.  I took a tiny bit of the Caesar salad and hurriedly moved on.

I walked by the third table and the choices looked very appetizing, there was Chicken Marsala, Eggplant Parmesan, Linguine with White Clam Sauce, Tuna Piccata, Chicken Parmesan, Penne Pesto, Calamari Marinara, Sausage and Peppers, Eggplant Ravioli with Tomato Sauce, Potato Dumplings with Smoked Salmon, Grilled Eggplant Portabella Lasagne and Linguine alle Vongole.

I didn't take anything from that table and casually walked to the dessert table, as I passed the Risotto table, I saw my mother's dish of Risotto ai Funghi and other rice dishes such as, Risotto with Saffron, Seafood Risotto, Risotto di Verdura, Risotto di Pollo, etc.   I finally made it to the desserts table and as I stood in front of the table, my mouth fell open.  I simply couldn't believe my eyes, I was staring at the most delicious, tempting and mouthwatering desserts ever known to man, how I wished every sunday mass offered this type of banquet, then at least I'd have something to look forward to.

I ran to the table and set my paper plate to the side and marvelled at the famous, Tira Mi Su or sometimes known as the Tuscan Trifle.  Tira Mi Su, is to me the most heavenly dessert on God's earth, this dessert was initially created in Siena, in the northwestern Italian province of  Tuscany.  The original recipe calls for custard, Mascarpone cheese, eggs, ladyfingers, cream, espresso coffee, liquor such as brandy, marsala, or rum, a little bit of sugar and cocoa or shaved chocolate.

I took a piece of the Tira Mi Su and moved on to the next delicacy, which was a heavenly Portofino cake, a fruit lovers paradise.  Portofino, is a very moist, light cake with fresh strawberries and cream mixed together for a taste that will leave you wanting for more.  Next to the Portofino, was a Double Chocolate Mousse Cake, I wanted a huge piece of that cake.  My grandmother's Pastry Crown Filled Cake with Chantilly cream and Strawberries, was in the middle of the table and calling for me, so I took a tiny piece because I wanted to carefully pace myself and leave room to taste and eat as much as possible.

Behind my grandmother's cake, stood a Peaches and Cream Cake.  My mouth could almost taste this dreamy cake, a freshly an airy sponge cake with juicy looking peaches mixed with whipped cream and sprinkles.  Next to this rich cake, there were some Italian Canoli, a light tubular flaky pastry, filled with sweetened ricotta cheese topped with drizzles of chocolate and powdered sugar.  Under the shade, there was a Tortina di Mele Tiepida al Gelato, a warm apple tartlette with vanilla grappa ice-cream and no words could describe this dessert adequately.

I grabbed a generous amount of Napolean Treat, which is a phenomenal dessert with an abundance of flavour.  This dish, has many layers upon layers of a thin crisp pastry and smooth delicate vanilla flavoured custard cream. A delectable Creme Brulee, adorned the end of the table, this very sensational dessert has an intensely moist custard cream with a caramelized topping,  I was about to grab serve myself a piece, when out of the corner of my eye I saw another table that made me stop, dead in my tracks.

I almost fainted, when I saw that there was a separate chocolate dessert table.  I looked left and right and didn't know what to grab, as always when it comes to chocolate, I want to have a taste of each mouthwatering creation.  I walked slowly to table, wanting to remember this moment for ever and read the names of all the cakes and chocolate desserts.  

There was a Black Bottom Pie with Chocolate Ganache & Vanilla Custard, Bittersweet Chocolate Soufflé with Raspberries, Chocolate & Cocoa ice-cream with White Chocolate Truffles, White Chocolate Raviolis with Dark Chocolate Mousse filling, Chocolate Marble Cake with Cognac Cream, Devil's Food Cake with Whipped Chocolate Icing, Chocolate Cheese Cake with Fresh Berries, Individual Gooey Chocolate Soufflé Cakes, Chocolate Checker Board Cake with Chiffon Frosting, Spiced Cocoa Cake with Bavarian Maple Cream, Grand Marnier Cakelettes with Chocolate Cream glaze, Chocolate Oblivion Torte with Raspberry Sauce, Swiss Black Forest cake with Dark Cherries, Chestnut & Chocolate with Cocoa Meringue and finally a delightful Chocolate Raspberry Rum Trifle.

I grabbed a clean paper plate, carefully grabbed a knife and started taking slices left and right.  For my first choice, I took a slice of  Devil's Food Cake with Whipped Chocolate Icing and ate it while looking for my second choice.  The next slice was of  Chocolate Cheese Cake with Fresh Berries and I also took a slice of Swiss Black Forest Cake with Dark Cherries.  The table next to the pastries, had the cofffees and tea, the strong, appealing aroma of freshly grinded coffee, floated in the warm breeze.

The coffee table, had as many as 9 different coffees to offer.  Different coffee makers stood on the table with the sign as to what coffee, they brewed.  There was, Caffe Roma, Cappuccino, Fresh hot Colombian coffee with Amaretto, Frangelica, Italian Connection, Triple Sec, Cafe Vesuvio, Sambucca and Grand Marnier.  There was also some milk, whipped cream, cinnamon, orange zest and shaved chocolate, to add to your choice of coffee.

I was about to grab a slice of Chestnut and Chocolate with Cocoa Meringue, when I heard a girly voice say.

"Are you going to stuff yourself only with cakes?.", I was caught off guard and startled that I almost dropped my plate and choked on the cake.

I slowly turned around and furrowed my brow in slight surprise.  I was staring at 7 girls all dressed in colourful and expensive looking spring dresses.  I took another bite of my cake and said.

"Yeah, so what's it to you?.", the mouthy one and most likely the ring leader, was about my height and with long flowing golden hair, that reminded me of Butterscotch, which I despise.  She took one step forward and the other girls followed her, they all had either fruits or salads on their paper plates and in small amounts that wouldn't even satisfy a bird.  The leader, looked me up and down and said.

"You should take a good look at your face.  It's covered in chocolate and you look like a pig.", the rest of the girls started giggling and my face turned red in anger, I threw her an angry look and said.

"What did you call me?.", I started walking towards her, while the rest of the girls continued to giggle and grin as idiots.

"Are you hard of hearing?.  I said that your face is covered in chocolate and you're eating like a pig!.", she said it, so slow and with such an attitude that if she wasn't a girl, I'd would have punched her.

"So, what do you care?.  Mind your own business!.", I mumbled a dirty word and started to walk to an apple tree and sat underneath the nice cool shade.

I noticed, that these girls were all whispering to each other and their giggles sounded very annoying.  I looked in another direction and went back to try and enjoy my cake.  Soon, they all started walking towards me and in seconds they were all standing right in front of me.  The annoying blond haired one, was the first one to speak and said.

"Don't you have any manners?.  You're supposed to introduce yourself when you meet someone.", I gave a deep sigh, just a couple of minutes ago, I was enjoying myself so much and now, these idiotic and giggling girls were not leaving me alone.

"My name is Dante Alessandro Martinello.", I heard a gasp from all the girls and they started to whisper even louder.  I politely smiled to the blond girl and extended my hand, she looked at me and raised her blond eyebrows as she said.

"I'm not going to shake your hand.  It's filthy and covered in chocolate.", she threw her long curly locks in the air as she gave me a look of disgust.  I cleaned my hand on the grass and said.

"Fine, I big loss, bye now!.", the other girls were still giggling and I was reaching my boiling point.  They were still standing there and I couldn't either taste or enjoy my cake, so I set the plate on the grass and said.

"Sooo, what are your names?.",  I looked at the other girls and they started to blush and hide behind each other.  But it was the nasty blond one, that introduced them.

"Well my name is Clarissa Gema Imbruglia and these are my friends, Camilla Maria and her twin sister Rosetta Speranza Raffaelli, Pia Isabella Rizzardi, Charlotte Carina De Bellamont and Anna Blanca Grandizzio.", they all either waved, barely said hi or just blushed.

The first thing that came to my mind was a swear word.  Then, when I thought this day couldn't possible be ruined, I had to meet the daughters of my mother's best friends.  The ring leader, who ofcourse had to be the daughter of Mrs.Chiara Imbruglia then said.

"So, you're Dante Alessandro?.  My mother is always talking about your parents and you, she also says that you go to a private school, which one is that?.", I was getting nervous now, because I knew that I couldn't possibly be rude now to these girls or my mother was going to kill me.  I took a deep breath and hoped for the best.

"I go to St.Basil's The Great, it's a Catholic school for boys, right here in town.", I managed to smile and searched my pockets for a napkin but couldn't find any.

I was very surprised to see, what was her name, was she Camilla or Rosetta?.  Anyways, one of the twins walked up to me and as she gave me a nice smile, she handed me a napkin and said.

"I'm Rose, by the way.  Here, to wipe your mouth.", she blushed and very nicely handed me the napkin.  Clarissa, then threw Rose a huge mean look and said something to her in what sounded like a made up language.  Rose, just blushed and hid behind her twin sister.  

Clarissa once again, took a step even closer to me and as I sat on the grass, said.

"Well, we all go to a very expensive and private school, called Our Lady, Queen of all Saints Mary Academy For Girls in Milan.  It's a very exclusive school for girls that come from wealthy families.", she gave me a nasty smile as she said that.  I faked a smile and said.

"That's nice.", and I continued to clean my hands with the napkin.  Clarissa, stomped her foot and as I looked up at her, she said.

"Well, aren't you going to get us something to drink?.", she crossed her arms and lifted her eyebrows.  I looked at her and then the other girls, I slowly stood up and said.

"Well, the table is over there, you can serve yourself.", I pointed to the table and the different kinds of soft drinks.  Clarissa, gave a deep and loud sigh and said.

"You really have no manners, don't you, Dante?.  You're a gentleman, well at least from what my mother says about you and you're supposed to offer a lady something to drink.", the rest of the girls started to giggle, all except one, Rose.

I rolled my eyes and said.

"Fine, any of you ladies want something to drink?.", I started to walk over to the refreshment table as I heard Clarissa say.

"Thank-you, Dante.  I'd love a glass of orange with no ice.", the rest of the girls started to name their choice in drinks and in the end, I felt like a waiter in a restaurant.

After serving them their drinks, I was about to leave them and start looking for my father.  I took a small sip of grape juice and then I heard Clarissa say.

"Where are you going?.", she came out of the shade of the tree and played with her butterscotch coloured hair.  I waved at the other girls and said.

"I'm off to look for my parents.  They're probably looking for me already.", I then turned my back and started walking away, when I heard Clarissa say.

"But we're still hungry and wanted you to get us something to eat.", she gave me a fake and sad look on her stupid face, I only  frowned and said.

"So, go get it yourself.  I'm not your servant!.", and I walked away.

"My mother, says that your father used to be a hooligan and a low life boxer, perhaps that's why you don't have any manners. And with the rags that you're wearing, you should be a servant!.", I stopped dead on my tracks, tightly gripped the glass of grape juice and slowly turned around.  I could feel my face burning as if it was on fire and my blood was boiling.

"What did you say about my father?.", girl or no girl, she was going to pay for that insult.  I started walking faster towards her and she maintained her ground, she simply had a grin on her face and kept throwing her ugly blond hair over her shoulders.

I was walking so fast, that I didn't notice the root of a tree, that was sticking out of the ground and the next thing I knew, I tripped and spilled my grape juice all over her pretty pink satin dress and her pink satin shoes.

"Arrrrrgh!.  You idiot, look at my dress, you've ruined my dress!", she shrieked aloud and kept jumping up and down.  I was laying on the floor and slowly got up, as the rest of the girls came to her aid.  She then started to cry and the other girls were shocked to see the big purple stain that was now soaking her dress.  Clarissa, was crying a river and while she looked at me, she said with a very mean tone.

"You're a jerk!.  You did this on purpose, you spilled your grape juice on my dress on purpose.  I'm going to tell your mother, what you've done!.", she started to walk away, with the rest of her gang behind her.  One of the twins stayed a little bit behind and as she walked up to me, she said.

"Don't worry, I'll explain that it was an accident.  Don't let Clarissa get to you, she turns mean, when she dosen't get her way.", and she quickly joined her friends as they started walking towards the church.

I cleaned my pants and realized that the knees were now covered in huge, dark grass stains and I knew that I was dead meat with my mother.  I wanted to find my father first and explain what just had happened before Clarissa could find my mother.

I finally reached the picnic tables and saw my father, having a plate of Chicken Parmesan, with some mixed salad.  My father, was seated with the guys and I slowly walked up to them.  I heard my father's, masculine and tender voice say.

"Hey there, Sport.  Where have you've been all this time?.", I sat across from him and next to Mr.Foglio and whispered.

"Dad, could I talk to you?.", I looked at my father and then to Mr.Mesto, who was enjoying a nice plate of Grilled Eggplant Portabella Lasagne and drinking a nice cool glass of lemonade.  My father, stopped eating, gave me a look of curiosity, grabbed a napkin and cleaned my face.

"You allright, Dante?.  What's the matter?.", Mr.Foglio looked at me and then at my father as to try to figure out the problem.

At that moment, I could see my mother walking towards our table and the look on her face said it all.

"Dante Alessandro Martinello, get over here, right now.!", her face was deep red and she was walking very fast.

My father looked at my mother and then at me and raised his eyebrows.  He stood up, grabbed a hold of my hand and said.

"Wait a minute Adrienne.  Dante, what happened son?.", my heart sank and I didn't know, how I was going to explain this. At that moment the two twins, Camilla Maria and Rosetta Speranza walked up to the table, followed by Pia Isabella, Charlotte Carina and Anna Blanca.

Rosetta, was the first one to speak and said.

"Mrs.Martinello, we would like to say something.  What Dante did, was an accident, we all saw him trip and spill his grape juice on Clarissa, he didn't do it on purpose.", she waved at me and smiled.

I couldn't help to notice how much these girls resembled their mother's, at least in a much younger, nicer and prettier version. Rosetta Speranza, had her mother's light skin tone, with long, wavy jet black hair and very pretty light green eyes.  I even took notice of the flowery silk green and white dress that she wore, with small violet's design all over.

Rose, then tried to explain to my mother, as to what had occurred earlier.  My heart leaped in the air and I begun to feel a little better.  My father, looked at me and raised one eyebrow, trying to understand what was going on.  The other twin, Camilla Maria walked over to my table and said.

"Don't worry Dante.  It wasn't your fault, you simply tripped and Clarissa will be her sweet self tomorrow, so don't even worry about it.", she smiled, looked at my father, blushed and then joined her twin.  Aside from looking identical, down to the last freckle, her dress was very different.  Camilla's dress was of a dark emerald green colour in crush velvet and matching emerald green shoes.

My mother's face changed from a sour look, to a simple and plain expression.  My mother, looked at all the girls and tried to read their faces to see if they were telling the truth, she sighed and then said.

"Are you girls sure?.  Because, Clarissa said that Dante threw her the glass of grape juice, on purpose.", she crossed her arms and waited for further details.

The one called Pia Isabella, took a step towards my mother and while giving a very angelic smile said.

"Oh no, Mrs.Martinello, that's simply not true.  Clarissa has a way of exaggerating things, but Dante did not do that, he was in fact a perfect gentleman.", she blushed as she said that and then looked in my direction.  I was sitting right across my father and I saw how my father and the rest of the guys exchanged glances and smiled.  I was so embarrassed, that I felt my face burning and I'm sure that I was blushing.

Pia was very pretty, for a girl.  Like her mother, she also had a lighter and fuller head of chestnut brown hair and she also wore it in the same shoulder lenght style.  Her light brown eyes did shine with honesty, and she spoke to my mother, I took a liking to her, right away.  Her dress was candy apple red, with a long attached overdress in white sheen and pretty embroidery on the bodice.  Small flowers decorated the dress all over, and the embroidery near the bottom extended all the way and around the dress.  Her shoes, were also candy apple red in a t-strap with buckle closure, accented with a cutout, rose flower on the front.

Anna Blanca walked over to my mother and said.

"Mrs.Martinello, I'm going to be having my birthday party soon and I would like to invite Dante to the party.  The party will be in two weeks and I'll mention to my mother, to give you an invitation.", Anna smiled, walked over to my table and said.

"I hope to see you at my party, Dante.  It was nice meeting you, have a good day gentlemen.", and she called the rest of the girls and they walked over by the table and giggled their way past us.  

Anna Blanca, was even more prettier than her mother.  Her hair was platinum white and she had the deepest red lips that I have ever seen.  She wore a translucent organza dress, in an ice blue colour, which matched her eyes, perfectly.  The pretty long dress, reached her knees and it was covered in head to toe with lace and glittery tulle.  Her little shoes were satin white with little sparkling diamonds.

I noticed how Mr.Cozza looked at Mr.Mesto, who was sitting right across him and they exchanged mischivious grins.  My own father had a huge grin, that went from ear to ear and Mr.Foglio was very quiet but I'm sure, he wanted to say something but with the girls and my mother present he just took a quick sip of his lemonade.

As the girls passed by our table, the one that had been quiet the most, spoke up.  It was Charlotte Carina, who had strawberry blond hair in a ponytail, very pink lips and with pretty ice blue eyes.  She blushed deeply, as she said.

"Hope to see you at the birthday party, Dante Allessandro.", she waved her little hand and then joined her friends with giggles and whispering into each other's ears.  Charlotte, wore a delicate lavender, floral chiffon, spring dress with an on/off shoulder frilly neckline and flounced hem.  Her shoes, were also lavender in colour, with an elegant sequin detailed strap.

As they slowly walked away, they kept throwing glances at my table and held hands and just couldn't stop giggling.  The next thing, I heard was a chorus of girl's voices say in unison.

"Ciao Dante.!", the twins Camilla and Rose, were waving and giggling, while whispering in each other's ears.

My mother walked over to the table and looked more relaxed, she walked up to me and said.

"I'm sorry, I was so upset Dante.  It's just that it sounded as if Clarissa was saying that you threw her the grape juice on purpose, but the girls explained everything.", she walked over to me and kissed my forehead and then said.

"You just wait.  I'm going to speak with Chiara and give that girl of her's a good talk.", she was about to walk away, when I said.

"Mom, it's allright.  Let it go, it was just and accident.", she looked at me, sighed and nodded in agreement.

"Allright, I'll let it go, but I should really talk to Chiara about her daughter.  Clarissa shouldn't be exaggerating like that, she really did paint you in a bad way, sweetheart.  I'll go look for my mother and then I'll be right back.", she hadn't walked away, for more than a few steps when the whole table broke into whistles and laughter.

My father messed up my hair and said.

"Sooo, Sport.  You were up to something all this time.", he raised his eyebrows, smiled and took a sip out of his ice cold lemonade.

Mr.Cozza, gave a loud wolf whistle and said out loud.

"This cub is only 8 years old, and already has twins going after him.  Even, I've never gone out with twins and did you see them, damm....those girls are going to grow into beautiful roses, one spring day.", he winked in my direction and raised his glass.

Mr.Foglio, gently tugged my nose and gave a loud chuckle as he said.

"This young colt, will surpass the mature stallion soon.  Our Dante, is going to be every school girl's pride and joy.", they all laughed at his comment and even though I had no idea as to what had been said, I blushed and took a bite from my father's plate.

Mr.Foglio, messed up my hair and said.

"I told you so, Antonio.  When this little colt grows up, he's really going to have alot of fun grazing in the field.", Mr.Foglio, chuckled and took a bite out of his Linguine alle Vongole.

Mr.Mesto, had a huge smile as he finished eating his Grilled Eggplant Portabella Lasagne, and said.

"Well, like father like son and it's true what they say, the apple didn't fall far from the tree.  Our little heartbraker, here has 6 girls chasing him and has already been invited to a party.  He sure works fast Tony, he's even faster than you.", as Mr.Mesto said that, I looked at my father, who still had a wicked grin across his face.

My father smiled, winked at me and said.

"So, Sport.  Do you want to tell me, as to what happened between you and Clarissa?.", he gave me sip of his lemonade and I felt uncomfortable, discussing this in front of the guys.  I looked at Mr.Mesto, who was looking at me curiously and then Mr.Foglio, who had stopped eating and seem to be waiting for an explanation.

I nodded my head and said.

"No dad, maybe later.", my father lifted my face with his strong hands, smiled and said.

"It's allright, son.  Whatever you need to say, you can say in front of the guys.  Perhaps, we might be able to offer you some good advice.", I looked at all of them and they did look interested in helping me out, so I let out a deep sigh and said.

"Well, I was at the dessert table, when these 7 girls show up.  I didn't know at the time that Clarissa was Mrs.Imbruglia's daughter or that any of those girls were the daughter's of mom's best friends.", I took another sip of lemonade and it actually felt good to talk about it now, so I continued with my story.

"Clarissa, comes up to me and starts being really nasty and saying stuff.", I made a face in anger and when I looked up, I saw my father raised his eyebrows and said.

"What did Clarissa say to you?.", my father looked at Mr.Foglio, but since I was staring at the floor, I didn't see Mr.Foglio's expression.

"Well, she called me a pig.  Not only that, but she wanted me to stand around and serve her food and drinks to her and her friends like some servant.", I was leaving out the part of Clarissa calling my father a hoolingan and also a low life boxer.

My father, scratched his head, raised his eyebrows and with a deep sigh, said.

"Well, Clarissa dosen't sound like a very polite girl.  Then again, I know her mother, so I can see where she get's it from but try to understand son, that girls behave a little bit different than boys.", now it was my turn to raise my eyebrows and give my father a puzzled look.

"Girls are more emotional and more aware of feelings, then boys.  Boys and girls form friendships in a different manner, girls need to have trust, affection and emotional closeness in their relationships as opposed to boys relationships with each other. Boys tend to form friendships based on actions and deeds.", I carefully listened to my father, while taking another sip of nice cold lemonade.

"Boys are more likely to be friends with other boys that participate in the same sports activities with them.  A girl's expression of affection, varies in that they are more emotional with their friends.  See, girls in general, talk about how they are feeling or what they think about certain issues, where as boys are more likely to talk about things such as sports, their favourite team or player and basically in the end, girls are more open with their feelings.", I still had my eyebrows raised and I was looking at my father in complete confusion.  

This thing about girls, was too complicated and I just wanted to forget about it.  I had been having a great time, before they all showed up and ruined the day for me.  Besides, I could care less about those girls, well....that nasty and wicked Clarissa, perhaps,....the other's were fine.

At that moment my mother came back with my grandmother and a very pretty young lady, that I didn't recognize.  My grandmother walked up to me and softly stroked my cheek and said.

"I heard what happened earlier, my prince.  Don't you worry, I will certainly talk to that girl's mother, when I have the opportunity.  The nerve to be spreading such awful and malicious rumors about you.", she leaned over and started to kiss me.

The guys then started to smile.  I rolled my eyes and whispered in my grandmother's ear.

"Grandma, you're embarrassing me in front of the guys!.", and I gently pushed her away.

The pretty young lady, took a step forward and said.

"You're little Dante Alessandro, it's a pleasure to finally meet you.  I'm Julietta Monica Mesto, Paolo's wife.", she was very pretty, with light green eyes and fair skinned.  She was about my mother's height, with shoulder lenght, golden brown hair and a very slim and voluptuous feminine figure.  Her dress was mistyrose in colour, in a printed polished cotton and sleeveless with a sweetheart neckline and a full skirt with crinoline lining.  Her shoes were in a darker shade of pink, with the Gucci logo all over.

As I extended my hand to greet her, Mr.Mesto, stood up and walked over to Julietta and said.

"Il mio tesoro. Come sei bella!."(My darling. How beautiful you are.), he then kissed her hand and then her neck.   

She gave him a big smile and kissed him softly on the lips.  Mr.Cozza, simply rolled his eyes and continued eating, as I sat back down on the bench, Mr.Mesto started to recite an Italian love sonnet.

Quando fra l'altre donne ad ora ad ora   When love within her lovely face appears
Amor vien nel bel viso di costei,   now and again among the other ladies,
quanto ciascuna è men bella di lei   as much as each is less lovely than she
tanto cresce 'l desio che m'innamora.   the more my wish I love within me grows.
I' benedico il loco e 'l tempo et l'ora   I bless the place, the time and hour of the day
che sí alto miraron gli occhi mei,   that my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,
et dico: Anima, assai ringratiar dêi   and say: 'My soul, you must be very grateful
che fosti a tanto honor degnata allora.   that you were found worthy of such great honour.
Da lei ti vèn l'amoroso pensero,   From her to you comes loving thought that leads,
che mentre 'l segui al sommo ben t'invia,   as long as you pursue, to highest good,
pocho prezando quel ch'ogni huom desia;   esteeming little what all men desire;
da lei vien l'animosa leggiadria   there comes from her all joyous honesty
ch'al ciel ti scorge per destro sentero,   that leads you by the straight path up to Heaven
sí ch'i' vo già de la speranza altero.   already I fly high upon my hope.

I looked at Mr.Foglio and then whispered in his ear very softly.

"What did Mr.Mesto say?.", Mr.Foglio smiled and chuckled as he said.

"Well, cub. Our poet here, just recited a love sonnet by Francesco Petrarca. He was an Italian poet, scholar and a major force in the development of the Renaissance. His famous poems, were inspired by a lady he saw in church by the name of Laura. Francesco Petrarca, ended up writing the book of infatuation, which is a collection of Italian verses, inspired by passion and purity, for his love of Laura.", I rolled my eyes, as I understood what Mr.Mesto had now said to his Julietta.  Mr.Cozza, was now making barfing sounds, as if he wanted to vomit at all the display of love and affection.  

At that moment, my mother came to my father and planted a big kiss on his cheek and said.

"We should be going home now, Tony.  My shift at the hospital strats at 7:00 p.m and I want to rest before going to work.", my father nodded in agreement and started to get up.

We all excused ourselves and I went to give a hug to Mr.Foglio and shaked Mr.Mesto's and Cozza's hand, and gave a big hug to Julietta.  My father, then carried me on his shoulders and I then turned around to wave goodbye, to everyone.  Out of the corner of me eye, I saw Camilla Maria, Rose Speranza, Pia Isabella, Charlotte Carina and Anna Blanca, had come to the table to say their goodbyes and once again yelled out.

"Ciao Dante.", I blushed, as they all stood there and waved their hands at me.  I then heard my father say.

"C'on Sport.  Say, goodbye to the girls.", I rolled my eyes and softly mumbled a bye and waved.

I heard the deep masculine voice of Mr.Foglio, yell out.

"When the little stallion grows up, he's going to have alot of fun grazing in the field!", he then made the sound of a horse's neigh and then there was a loud and ear-splitting laughter, by Mr.Mesto and Mr.Cozza.

My father couldn't stop laughing and as he carried me on his strong shoulders, he massaged my legs. My mother, threw a curious look at my grandmother and then to my father and said.

"What did Rocco mean by that?.", I couldn't see my father's expression, he simply kept laughing and said.

"I have no idea, my love.", and he whistled all the way to our car.

On our way home, my mother and grandmother were having a discussion as to who brought what to the Easter banquet.  My mother then looked over her shoulder and said.

"Next time you meet Clarissa, Dante.  Please do your best and try to be nice, allright.", I sighed and nodded in agreement.

 My grandmother, gently touched my cheek and said.

"Six pretty girls to choose from, so well spoken and behaved and all from fine families.  Our little prince just has to choose one of those princess, they were all adorable, Adrienne.", I really wanted to get home, this talk was getting on my nerves.  My mother nodded in agreement and said.

"Oh yes, I agree with you.  I found Pia Isabella so polite and sweet, did you hear that she also takes ballet at school.  I told Gabriela that I would love to watch one of Pia's ballet recitals.", I tried to ignore my mother and grandmother and just kept thinking of my new toys and I couldn't wait to get home and try them out.

My grandmother then giggled and gave a little laugh as she said.

"Imagine Adrienne.  We have six girl chasing Dante and our prince is just eight years old, I can't imagine what's going to happen when he's eighteen.", I really wanted to get home and be out of this car.  My mother laughed, shook her head from side to side and said.

"God, help us.!", then both my mother and grandmother, started laughing.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my father looking at me in the rear view mirror, he was quiet but grinning mischiviously and once our eyes locked, he simply winked at me.

As the alarm clock woke me up at 7:00 a.m., I was in the best part of my dream.  I dreamt, that I was at the Sports Center and that Antonio was still fucking me senseless.  I could have sworn that it was no dream, on the contrary it was so vivid, because I could smell, Antonio' s body and feel his wet skin against mine.  I lowered my hand and touched my cock and all around my bush, it felt wet and sticky and then realized, that I had had a wet dream.

The dream had been so real, that I had simply ejaculated in my sleep.  I got up from the bed and walked over to my desk and took out my wallet and sure enough, Antonio's business card was staring me right in the face.  I turned the card over and read for the millionth time the address, that was written in blue ink.  I kinda knew where the Tattoo Parlour was and I had long decided to skip my last class today and take a walk and check the place out.

I sat on the bed and cringed, from the pain in my ass.  The warm water had felt a little bit better but that fuck that Antonio had given me, had been fucking intense.  I smiled and then realized how girls must feel on their first time, I then slowly got up from the bed and headed for the shower.  

As I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, I remembered that I had a Civil Engineering exam today, that I had not even studied for, I was in deep shit now.  I was going to have to sweet talk one of the girls in class to help me cheat on this exam or my parents were going to have my ass, if I failed this course.

To be continued!