Finally DETROIT! Let’s START with Jana. ~M
You see, I just knew they’d come back!! Ok, maybe not for everyone, but they did come back for 50 lucky persons in Detroit!
It all started with a phone call from Marie. We found out there was going to be a meet/greet at PBS in Detroit. We somehow got on the mailing list and voila, we got 2 lucky tickets. I feel like we were the lucky winners of the golden ticket like in Willy Wonka!
I did not know it, but I had been planning for this night since last June after I saw them at Freedom Hill. I was thinking of what I could give them; what would I say? What would I wear; how thin would I be? As the song goes, “que sera’, sera’ – whatever will be, will be; the future’s not ours to see…que sera’, sera’!” The future may not be ours to see, but it doesn’t mean we can’t plan for it and plan, I did!
When we realized they might be coming, I had to speed up the end of my plan…I had made each of them three special rosaries (last September), each with different beads, using their “name saints” as the centers and having the “Our Father” beads – exactly 6 of them, spell out “IL VOLO!” They were beautiful. I also had little silk brocade bags made for the rosaries and had their initials on the front. When I sped up my plan, at that point, I did not know for sure they would be here, but I was glad I planned ahead – just in case!! However, with careful planning, everything literally fell into place, like the perfect jigsaw puzzle, with at LEAST a thousand pieces, or so it seemed!
First, just Marie was going to join me in Detroit. Then the ladies from MN were going to fly in, as well! It was starting to be a big party now. Our little group of 5 – 6, plus the MN girls; it was growing.
All of the planning and anticipation was growing by leaps and bounds. It was shutdown week where I work, so for the whole week before, I was off work, but so, so busy, every day. It was good, I did not have time to get nervous, but had to keep planning…I found my outfit, bought a new purse, made an appointment to have my hair done at a special place (it looked fabulous thanks to Sharon and Sal!), made arrangements to pick up the girls at the airport, wash the car, and pack. Before I knew it, it was Sunday afternoon, and I was nervously awaiting for the arrival of our “editor-in-chief” – Marie, to arrive at my house with her sister!
They arrived, and we chatted for a little while until we had to pick up the MN girls. We flew off to the airport and then off to the hotel for their check-in. We chatted a bit until it was time to go to dinner. We dined at Antonio’s in Farmington Hills. We had figured, by then, that the guys were safely here and resting….
We had a lovely dinner at Antonio’s, complete with dessert! Then it was back to the hotel for some more chatting. We decided to break up the party around 10p or so. We went to Ginny’s house and shortly thereafter, I got a text from one of the other gals, that they had gone to the airport to meet the guys!! (ok, not my story, but we were so jealous, as they were the only 5 there to meet them, because their flight had kept getting delayed and they did not get in until around 10:30p or so!) Alas, it was not meant to be, but was not part of my plan to greet them at the airport, so all was still good.
I made it for my 10a haircut appointment in Birmingham. Sal, a friend of Sharon’s, did the most fabulous job on my hair! I think I talked more about my hair, then I did about the guys! He even came in special on a Monday, just for me.
It was the big day, I was starting to be a wreck and could not think clearly – this was not me, I did not get nervous!
We got to the hotel and we checked in. We had to run a few errands, then it was back to the hotel to change and get ready. We left about 4:30p. We were supposed to be there by 6:00p. Ok, so we were over an hour early, but we weren’t the first ones there!
At approximately 6:05p, they led us into our “dining” room for the evening. It was beautifully arranged, with 4 bottles of wine at each table. We had assigned seats for dinner and we later found out they were going to call us by table. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we were the LAST table!
Dinner was delicious with prime rib, baked chicken, salad, veggies, and bread. We were looking at the clock. We were supposed to greet our guys from 7:00p – 7:30p. We were wondering how they were going to get 50 people through in just half an hour? It was almost 10 after 7 and they hadn’t started yet! Finally, they opened the other door and there were the guys. We could not see them, but they were there. They let the first table in. Apparently, they were letting everyone have as much time as they needed. Many were giving them gifts and we were allowed to bring one item to have them sign it. Finally, about 7:35p or so, we were allowed to get in line. When we finally got in there, they said we had to hurry, as the others took too long. That did not seem fair, but then they realized we were the last table and they backed off a bit.
At last, it was my turn! I was a bit nervous and not sure what to do. The guys were just standing up at the front with a big PBS backdrop on this bright red carpeting. There was no real direction, so I just walked up and hugged Gianluca and said he “was so sweet.” He was in the middle and Ignazio was to the right, so I hugged him next and spoke softly into his ear, that he was my favorite. He said, “Aw….” in this soft, sweet voice, with a big smile on his face. I will remember it forever!
I quickly fumbled for the rosaries in my purse. But first I gave Piero his M&Ms that I had custom made for his birthday (yes, another story yet to come). I think he really liked the M&Ms as he smiled and laughed and showed them to Gianluca! I then gave Ignazio his rosary and told him I had made it special. I gave the other two theirs…. I turned back to Ignazio, and he had taken it out of the bag and was looking at it. The next thing I knew, he was looking at me and started speaking in Italian and holding the rosary in his hand. I’m looking up at him, into his eyes and thinking “why is he speaking Italian??” I don’t know what he is saying? (Yeah, so much for my Italian lessons – lol!) All I could catch was “Ave Maria” and “gracia,” but that was about it. Unfortunately, my brain was having a hard time trying to figure out why he wasn’t speaking English and what he was saying in Italian, that I kind of got lost in the moment. I think I remember looking into his eyes and hearing his soft voice. Then, all of a sudden, he puts his hand over my head and then he starts to bless me, like he is anointing me. He touches my forehead, lightly brushes my chin, back to touching my nose with his thumb. He has a very soft thumb! He then raised his hand over my head and gently touched my head again. I just stood there, smiling, and said “grazie.” I’m still trying to figure out what he said to me, but I needed them to sign my frame.
Yes, you remember my empty picture frame that would be forever empty around my heart until I had a picture of them and me? Well, as we know, it would not be empty forever now! I brought out my frame and gave it to Ignazio to sign. I gave him the back of it, as I wanted them to sign the back of it and our picture would be on the front. Ignazio takes the frame in his hands and turns it back over, seeing that it says “IL VOLO” on the front. He turns to me and with his hand, he gestures that their name is on the front and shouldn’t he sign it there? I said no, on the back, because our picture will be on the front. He kind of says, ok, and signs the back….then Piero and Gian come back and they sign it, too. Gian made sure he put a little heart on the end of his signature for me! I did feel kind of bad I didn’t hug Piero, but I was a bit nervous and wanted to hurry, even though they weren’t really rushing us…it felt like I was up there a long time. Somewhere in there, they took our picture and then it was over! Over a year in the making and over in less than 5 minutes!
As I walked back to the side, I kept thinking about what he said. It finally hit me that he was reciting the “Hail Mary” or “Ave Maria” prayer in Italian!! At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it was? The next day, I looked it up on the Internet and found the words and audio on a You Tube video, and from what I could remember him saying, I think it was pretty close.
For those of you not familiar with the Catholic practice of saying the rosary, in the Roman Catholic faith, the Rosary is one of the most beautiful, powerful, and sacred prayers. The Rosary is a devotion to God through a devotion to the Virgin Mary. There are other prayers that are said with it, but you say 53 Hail Mary’s!
I’m not really sure if Piero and Gian liked their rosaries, but I hoped they did. I have to say, that I really truly believe that Ignazio liked his!
I’d also like to thank everyone that were able to get pictures and videos of me up there with the guys! It’s funny, you just don’t remember most of what happens in that five minutes. Like, I don’t really remember putting my arm around Gianluca’s shoulder? And why DIDN’T I have my arm around Ignazio?? But it was nice to know he had his hand on my shoulder!
Yes, I saw their smiles and I felt their touch –
The long wait and anticipation was over…my dream had become a reality and the frame around my heart was no longer empty! It was filled with the joy, the smiles, the memory, and the tenderness, of Ignazio’s touch – it was happiness!
For now, my heart is full, until the next time…