WHEN THE RENAISSANCE HITS HOME HARD
Portland baby boomers get around.
They’re keen to explore new sights.
The sharp ones do research before departing for new destinations.
Boomer to boomer travel research means only one person, Rick Steves.
He’s the go-to guy for travel plans. He’s smart, trustworthy, and a boomer.
What more could you want?
Usually my wife and I watch Rick for travel ideas, places to avoid, and a nice way to spend time together. It’s part of our Sunday morning.
Oregon Public Broadcasting ran his show at 9:00. I was visiting my Mom with my two brothers.
It was a break in routine, and a breakthrough.
I was in Mom’s room where she slept quietly, her pain medication just brought in by her caregiver.
She never caught the travel bug, but likes to know of new places even if she doesn’t want to go there.
Sunday, Rick’s journey detailed Florence, Italy. My Grandma’s name was Florence, so it was a conversation starter.
“Mom, do you know why Grandma was named after an Italian city? Was she Italian?”
Her eyes were closed, so I took it from there.
“We could be Italian? I’d like that. If I found out our family origins, I’d like it to be Italy.”
She wrinkled her forehead.
Florence, Italy is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and the home of Michelangelo’s David.
While Mom and I watched the city unfold on the small screen, I explained the unique coincidence. Her three son’s matched the Sunday show.
“They’ve got it all going here, Mom,” I said.
“Our Steves is the most traveled son, the man with the most miles under is belt. He could wake up, jump on a plane without a second thought, and spend the night in Thailand without blinking. He and his wife have kids who are as fearless as it gets.”
Mom smiled. He’d just traveled thousands of miles to see her.
“Our Michelangelo created masterpieces with his wife. Their kids, if stranded on a deserted island like Gilligan, would have a school and a hospital built in the first week.”
She nodded her head slowly.
“And the David of the group? He flings stones at giants one blog post at a time. Sometimes they hit. Sometimes his kids fling it too.”
The OPB camera seemed to pause on Michelangelo’s David’s mid-section while Rick finished his interpretation.
“Notice David’s over-sized right hand. It signifies the strength of God.”
With some parts over-sized, other parts looked under-sized, but no one doubts David is one of the greatest works of art in world history.
“Rick Steves goes to Florence to show us Michelangelo’s David? It feels like a family reunion.”
And it was. We were there to share part of our Mother’s journey, a healing ritual with no map and no guide to follow on television.