Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

Rome Adventure

September 24, 2010

Buongiorno from Rome!

We just got back from a nine-day pilgrimmage to the Vatican, Rome, Assisi, and Florence with a lively and intrepid group of fellow parishioners from St. John Vianney Catholic Church on the west side of Houston. Aside from the considerable spiritual benefits for us in going there with our pastor, the Rev. Father Troy Gately,  The slice of-it-all sightseeing tour into the history of our western culture was nothing short of awesome. I couldn’t begin to recapture it all, but to have now visited the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the tombs of both St. Peter and Julius Caesar, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s, while also seeing The Pieta and David, Michelangelo’s two arguably greatest works of sculpture, plus all the other great works of art and architecture in southern Italy we could cram into a short time was, well, more than worth all the walking up hills and down cobblestone streets for hours. One day we walked for about five straight hours without so much as stopping for water or a bathroom break.

Bataan was deadly; our walk was merely daunting. I’m glad we did it, but I don’t know if I could do it again, not at the pace we just completed.

We did our photos with a family leprechaun. That building in the back is not the Astrodome.

As we were leaving town, our son Neal left us a note, asking us to take some photos at certain points with the “family leprechaun” along the way so that he could feel a little more closely like he had made the trip too. The little green guy has been in the family as a Christmas Tree ornament forever, but he has taken on greater status as a family mascot in more recent times and we take good care of him. We’re a little eccentric and superstistitous about such things, but we also don’t care what the world thinks. It works for us. It’s also fun to be free enough to do things like leprechaun photography.

We attended a Papal Audience with Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 22.

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, we attended a general papal audience with Pope Benedict XVI in St. Petee’s Square. For those os who are Catholic, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ll certainly never forget it.

We got back to Houston yesterday, Thursday, September 23, at 7:00 PM Houston time. Our inner clocks were already on Friday,  September 24, at 2:00 AM Rome time.

Still are, I think, but neither my wife Norma nor I have  been able to sleep, even though our time lapse says we ought to be totally unconscious by now. Well, if I could be, I would be – and not sitting here trying to write some kind of sensible report on our Rome adventure.

When I’m able, I plan to do an album for my Webshots.Com photo site on Rome. I just hope I don’t get the crazy idea to try it today. I took close to 2,000 photos while we were in Italy.

It’s good to be back, but I’ll stop here, for now, with a little jet lag parody on “Caesar at the Bat,” inspired by this larger than life body sculpture of a Roman important god or person carrying what appears to be the largest baseball bat of all time. I doubt it was Caesar in the photo here, but he is close enough to a Caesarean inspiration to fire a little work on the man with the far more famous place in Roman history.

That much said, I bid you all good morning, good day, and good night – whatever it happens to be. Rome was nice, but it’s good to be home again in Houston.

Caesar at the Bat

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Romeville nine that day: The score stood IV to II, with but one inning more to play. And then when Cassius died at first, and Brutus did the same, a sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep and dark despair. The rest clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast; they thought, if only mighty Caesar could get but a whack at that. -
We’d put up even money, now, with Caesar at the bat.

But Longinus preceded Caesar, as did also Anthony. 
And the former was a geezer and the latter was anathemy;
 so upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat, for there seemed but little chance of Caesar’s getting to the bat.

But Longinus drove a single, to the wonderment of all, and Anthony, the lover boy blue, tore the cover off the ball; and when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred, there was Tony safe at second and Longinus hugging third.

Then from 250,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell; It rumbled through the Forum, it rattled in the dell; It knocked upon the Hills of Rome and recoiled upon the flat, for Caesar, mighty Caesar, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Caesar’s manner as he stepped into his place; there was pride in Caesar’s bearing and a smile on Caesar’s face. And when, responding to the cheers, he doffed his gold wreath hat, no stranger in the crowd could doubt, ’twas Caesar at the bat.

Half a million eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands on a eunuch; a quarter mil tongues applauded when he wiped them on his tunic. Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, defiance gleamed in Caesar’s eye, a sneer curled Caesar’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, and Caesar stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there. Close by the sturdy batsman, the ball unheeded sped-
”That ain’t my style,” Caesar said, improbably,. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern Mediterranean shore. “Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted a Roman from the stand; and it’s likely they’d a-killed him, had not Caesar raised his hand.

With a smile of omnipotent charity, great Caesars’s visage shone; he stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on; he signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew; but Caesar still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered fraud; but one scornful look from Caesar and the audience was awed. They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain, and they knew that Caesar wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Caesar’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate; he pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate. And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, and now the air is shattered by the force of Caesar’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright; the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; but there’s no sweet joy in Romeville. – A dagger slung by Brutus – has taken Caesar out.