I didn’t notice them at first. I was busy drinking my raspberry truffle chai in my favorite tea shop in a mall. I was dreamily listening to Dean Martin singing one of his iconic hits from the 50’s, “That’s Amore.”
My attention was taken from one of last century’s superstars when I noted movement on the periphery of my visual field. I sharpened my focus and watched a couple make their way along the hallway.
I was intrigued by an elderly man and woman walking slowly and closely together. They were chatting and laughing. I wondered if they had been together for a long time. The intimacy of their interaction suggested that was probably the case. I found it ironic they provided a visual of close relationship just as definition of that very thing played out on the overhead speakers.
Mr. Martin informed me:
“When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s amore
When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine That’s amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing “Vita bella”
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella
When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You’re in love
When you walk in a dream but you know you’re not
Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli
That’s amore” Lyrics by Jack Brooks and Harry Warren, August 1953
It was several seconds before I noticed the lady was holding onto the man with one hand as she held a straight, white stick out in front of her with the other. She expertly, and quickly, moved the stick back and forth to direct her path while engaging in animated conversation with her companion. She lifted her face to him so he could place a kiss on her cheek.
I believe Mr. Martin’s song describes what most of us feel when cupid’s arrow hits, and we are set all a twitter by the love bug. I do not dispute that description.
But what happens when those initial feelings grow less acute, like aging eyesight and ability to dance down the street? How do we define love when ringing sounds actually represent age-related tinnitus or the tippy-tippy stuff doesn’t tippy-tippy like it used to?
I mean no disrespect to Mr. Martin or the writers of this song. It just seems to me what was chronicled here was only a very, very (did I say very?) small part of the deep-rooted, intimate love God means for his children to know with the partners He sends.
How many people really are willing to understand this today? Or are we fooled into believing love is all defined by the tipsy, dreamy part of romance.
As the couple turned a corner, disappearing from my view, I snuggled into an overstuffed chair and sipped my chai. Suddenly I grinned and began to softly sing, “A suzza me, but I see what it really should be. Now that’s amore.”
Copyright February, 2016
Laura L. Padgett
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