As you can tell from my greeting, I am in Italy. But first I must tell you about last weekend.
I had a delightful surprise at the Barn. Amongst the more than fifteen hundred who came to see me over the three days was a long lost cousin and her family. Dolores Radford is the granddaughter of my late aunt Josephine, my mother's oldest sister.
I have very happy memories of long ago visits to the home of Aunt Josephine in Homestead, Florida. Frank and Josephine Orifici's house stood at the end of a long driveway flanked with magnificent Royal Palms that created the expectation of there being an elegant mansion at its end. Instead of a mansion, the drive ended at the three roomed house of my aunt and uncle. When Frank and Josephine first homesteaded they had just one room. Over the years they added two more.
Josephine was the best cook I have ever known. I remember helping her make ravioli. When it came time to dry the little squares, we laid a sheet over my mother's bed, sprinkled it with flour and placed each square in line to dry. The two sisters were so happy to be together that it made it fun for all of us.
Dolores has told me that there is to be a wedding in their family sometime in the next two years and that it will be an occasion for a gathering of the American descendents of our Sicilian heritage. I can't wait.
By Sunday evening I was completely exhausted and my body ached from many hours of sitting as I signed for my visitors. It had been an equally busy three days at the Museum and when I called in to thank the staff, I found others also in need of a relaxing bath and an evening in front of the TV. Already packed for Monday's trip to Italy, I was able to rest and regain my energies and recall all the friends old and new who came to my Barn home. What fun!
Thank you all who came to see me. You are my encouragement and our shared moments are the completion of the cycle of my creativity. I conceive the idea for a painting and the painting evolves in the seclusion of my studio, but without an audience. Performing artists such as actors and musicians do so in front of their audience and know instantly how their work is received. I only know when you honor my work by purchasing it and bringing it for me to sign. You see I do need your encouragement and I am always thankful for it.
Before leaving the subject of this weekend in Waynesboro, I want introduce you to two very special friends, Alice and Anita from Gordonsville, Virginia. Alice is older than me and Anita a little younger. They are known to those of you who come to my open house events where they direct the parking of your cars in the field beside the barn.
In all types of weather these two ladies have stood on the hillside from ten in the morning until late in the afternoon, ensuring visitors conform to their parking plan. There have been some bitter cold days of wind and snow and still they have been there for each day of the three day weekends.
I worry about them, out there in the cold and I know that one day they will tell me that they must hand over to younger folks. Never will I forget the fortitude and dedication of these two who leave the comfort of their homes to give us this important service. They are an example that I cherish.
Now to this morning and Italy. Becky was waiting for Malcolm and me at the airport in Rome when our plane landed ten minutes early at 8.30. Three hours later I arrived here in Cortona to a delicious risotto with mushroom lunch prepared by Enza, Becky's mother in law.
After lunch we collected Sofie and Michela from their schools and came back to my apartment to help me unpack and, of course, to see what present I had brought the girls.
Tonight we are having Grigliata Mista (Mixed Grill) prepared by my son in law, Roberto, who like almost all Italian men, is an excellent cook.
Tomorrow I have a day off to shop for food and household necessities
and then on Thursday I start work with Becky in the etching studio.
PS. Before leaving Virginia, I completed a drawing which is now being printed. Each person attending the Foundation's dinner at the Hotel Roanoke on Friday, November 7th will receive one of the prints as a thank you gift for supporting the Foundation. If you want a fun evening go to www.mossfoundation.org and read more about what will be a very special event.