Years ago, on our first transatlantic flight, the passengers all applauded when we landed. It had not been a particularly difficult flight. Everyone just spontaneously acknowledged
that, gee whiz, we've all just experienced a most marvelous thing. Something far beyond the dreams of ancient kings and queens. Something grand and astonishing.
the flight home there was a group of Italian high school students who were going to Boston and New York for a few weeks. They were all from Calabria, Italy's "Toe".
great migration at the beginning of the 20th Century hundreds of thousands of Calabrians put a few oranges and lemons in their satchels and got on the boat to the New World. Today, Calabria is far off the tourist path - a land of great natural beauty
and great poverty, plagued by the 'ndrangheta, the Mafia minus the romanticism of Hollywood.
We struck up a conversation with one of the kids, a friendly guy who was
making his first trip to the New World. He was looking forward to seeing the grattacielo - skyscrapers. He admitted he had some trepidation about this. There are no skyscrapers in Calabria. We tried to ally his concerns.
I don't think it worked.
The approach into Boston provides a wonderful view of the skyline which is studded with skyscrapers. Our young friend was amazed. His eyes
popped out! Wait till you get to New York, kid.
When the plane landed, all the school kids applauded. So did we.
A non-applauding grownup across the aisle asked me if I was with the group.
"No," I said. "I'm just a big fan."
Gary and Cindy
All photos and text copyright
2012 Gary M. Growe