Vita Bella

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Originally published in The Voice of The People. Aug. 1, 2003. It was reprinted in The Metropolitan in 2005.

Sam was pacing.

He was a little tense.

He wore a black, four button tuxedo with an off white bow tie. Ivory.

His mustache and hair were freshley trimmed.

He had taken a shower. He was working all day in the hot sun making sure everything would be perfect for the night – he and so many people had been waiting for. Working for. It was the night he was finally going to marry Lynette.

I don’t know when Sam and Lynette met. I’ve known them just over a year. I met them at Vita Bella – where I work as a host. Sam is Lisa’s uncle. Lisa owns the place.

I was never introduced to Sam or Lynette separately, always together. In fact, I had always assumed they were husband and wife. They complemented each other like snow and Christmas, candy and Halloween.

One without the other just didn’t seem right.

The bridal party drank white zin prior to the altar. Perhaps they should have been taking shots. The weather had gone from a blistering 102 degrees to a vacuum of rain and darkness.

Lynette and Sam charged ahead – nothing could stop them. Family filed in. Friends, a plenty.

Prior to the ceremony the wind picked up. The center pieces, napkins, table cloths were all blown away by the wind. Employees and family worked vigorously to get everything picked up. Hours of planning, labor, scrubbing, and washing, was torn apart in just a few brief moments of wind. Gusts.

The wind had effortlessly tarnished a moment that was to be valued. Forever.

It was seven. The invitations said the ceremony was going to begin at seven. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

Lynette and her team walked through Vita Bella. A friend sitting at a table, near the entrance, wished her luck. Lynette carried a simple bouquet of roses. Two, maybe three. Red and white. Her dress was of the same ivory as Sam’s tie. It sparkled. She sparkled. She certainly lit up the dimmed entrance of the restaurant. Though it was not her dress or makeup.

It was her attitude.

Like most women she had been planning this day since she could remember. Nothing – not even Mother Nature, nor the elements that created her – would let this day be ruined.

They say you take a gamble when you host any outdoor function. There was a 30 percent chance it was going to rain. They were right.

But the stats meant nothing to Sam and Lynette. They were going to get married and they were going to celebrate.

I missed the ceremony. I was helping inside the restaurant. It was brief, about 15 minutes. Lisa announced they were signing the marriage certificate and instructed the kitchen to prep the food.

Guests met the hearty buffet with pasta, chicken, salad. And of course, Grandma’s cookies. They are the sweetest things known to man. The mini-doughnuts, the cherry ones, the potica. They are made from scratch. You can’t buy that quality. Potica alone takes hours to make.

Can you imagine how much time that took? There was plenty for everyone.

It rained off and on.

Later in the evening, after dinner, the guests danced. They danced in the rain. It was nothing like the movie, “Singing In the Rain” but nonetheless, it was a serious drizzle.

Lynette’s shoulders were bare. As were many of the ladies’. But the wet chill didn’t stop them.

It was a beautiful sight. Two people who desserved to be married and happy finally were. I don’t think they could have picked a better location.

Vita Bella.

The Beautiful Life.

The guests laughed that night.

They ate that night.

They drank that night.

They were emerged in the beautiful life that night.

But.

We were not created to live in the beautiful life. But to create it.

That’s what Sam and Lynette did. They could have postponed the wedding, perhaps canceled it. They certainly didn’t have to dance in the rain.

But they did.

I have come to the unimpeachabel conculsion: Life will never be easy. Obstacles will come and go. Life will be created and life will end. New realtionships created. Old ones will end. People are promoted. Some are fired. There will be sunlight and there will be darkness. I don’t know what the point is … chances are, netiher do you.

Thomas Jefferson said we know one-millionth of nothing. This is true, oh, so true. We do know one thing, however – as the English essaysit and philosopher, Emerson said, “Nothing will bring us peace but the triumphs of our principles.”

My principles are not clearly defined. I suppose I have a better excuse than most. I’m only a pup. A child. 17.

But I won’t be young forever.

What are your principles? Do you hope one day to find Vita Bella? Good luck…

Finding the beautiful life is as difficult as finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

No, Vita Bella is something that can’t be found.

Tangible? Yes. Real? Most definitely.

But you have to make it.

Like Sam and Lynette.

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