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For Love of a Great Story
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I was about twelve when we got our first VCR. It changed my life. Instead of waiting each year for Thanksgiving to watch the flying monkeys chase Toto, suddenly I was able to watch movies any time I wanted. My mother introduced me to the classics - before Turner Classic Movies was a thing - and a whole black and white world opened up. I fell in love with Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart - I was mesmerized by Maureen O'Hara and the oh-so-amazing Debbie Reynolds. Musicals and romances quickly became my favorites. I was a teenager in the 80s and early 90s - a time when a new romantic comedy popped up in the theaters every couple months. It was also an amazing period in Disney film history. Some of the best cartoons ever created were birthed during my youth. So what else could happen - I became a die-hard romantic and lover of all types of love stories. To my amazement - some folks have not experienced all the wonderful movies and TV shows I have had the privilege of seeing. So I'm going to share some of my favorite lists with you, my favorite classics, my favorite Rom-Coms, my favorite Disney movies - and to start - my favorite Hallmark Movies, as well as my reviews and commentary. Some TV shows or movies, like Chuck or Signed, Sealed, Delivered, get their very own category because I review each or all of their episodes. If you love a love story, the way I do, you too may want to see the stories on my lists or in my reviews. And hey - let me know if your list is like mine, or maybe somewhat different!
Sarah found the only hotel in Venice with a rooftop swimming pool. In a city surrounded by water, she craved the feeling of gliding through the crystal-blue oblivion. She had learned that most tourists took dinner between eight and ten, so that had become her daily swimming time. Having made friends with one of the lifeguards, a handsome, young Italian with a penchant for gorgeous brunettes, she had managed to have him close the pool each day for her to enjoy a private swim. Sitting in a quaint café in Piazza San Marco, she longed to be on her rooftop. The only place she felt remotely like herself was deep below the water, drifting through a silent coolness.
Here in the square, she people-watched, noticing mainly the happy couples strolling by holding hands. So many young lovers, probably newlyweds, wandered through, enjoying the enormous sense of history that hits like a wave on the aging cobblestones. Again, she felt the footprints of the women who walked before her, thousands of years of heartbreak and tears finding consolation in the arms of San Marco and his Basilica. She was reminded, also, of the happy tears as two wily three-or-four-year-olds giggled by. There were many children in Venice; she watched them daily board their water taxi as they headed to what she imagined was the equivalent of an Italian summer camp. She secretly longed to be a mother herself. She had always enjoyed the company of children, and a few kids in a happy house with a loving husband was the dream in her heart.
The café owner wandered out onto the street, writing frantically on his special’s board. It was his habit to write his daily catch for dinner around this time each day. Dust rose off the blackboard as his chalk left a mark reading Ostriche in bold, pink letters.
“Ah, Giovane, Speciale di oggi è Ostriche!” He was excited to share with her.
Sarah quickly translated in her mind: Young woman, the special of the day is oysters.
“De America, de America! Che fortuna per voi!” From America, how fortunate for you.
“Grazie!” She thanked him as he waved and made his way back into his store, leaving in front of her a handmade treasure. As Sarah lifted the biscotti to her lips, she thought to herself, Oysters. Of all the food in the world, it had to be oysters! As she took another bite, she caught sight of a man walking away from her, out of the square. He was a good distance away, but Sarah paused as she thought she recognized his confident gait. Why did so many men look like Luke to her? The sound of Ostriche rang in her ears; was there nowhere far enough away that she wouldn’t have him always on her mind?
She thought again of the pool, but this time it was the one in the backyard of the home she had known as a child. The same pool she first learned to swim in was the place where she had also accepted she loved kissing him. She thought of their day on the yacht, their morning in her apartment, the party at the bar. She longed for the smell of him, his smile after they kissed, or the sight of him after a long day away. After three weeks, she was finding she missed him more each day rather than less.
“He is your husband or just you love?”
The female voice was coming from the table next to hers. The woman was well-dressed with striking black eyes, and spoke English with a decidedly Italian accent.
“I’m sorry, were you speaking to me?” Sarah asked as she leaned toward the woman.
“The man you think about? He’s you love, no?”
Sarah’s face showed her surprise.
“You eyes, they shine the way a woman in loves eyes shine. But you look sad, too.”
“I don’t know how you knew that. But, yes, I was thinking about my…I don’t know what to call him,” Sarah answered.
“You love him?”
“Yes.” Sarah surprised herself when she didn’t hesitate.
“You love to kiss him?
“Well then—” The woman flipped her hand and left it dangling in the air with one finger pointed toward heaven. “You call him you love, for sure.”
Sarah had to laugh as the woman’s smile warmed her spirit. Three weeks without a conversation about anything important was a long time, and she welcomed the interaction. Sarah wondered to herself how old the woman was. Sixty perhaps? Older, but well kept? Still beautiful and dripping money.
“Ah, young love, so full of passion and fury. Such fun. And where is he now, at you hotel sulking?”
“No…I don’t know where he is.”
“Oh. You have a big’a fight then? Look at me, bella.” The woman reached her hand to Sarah’s chin. “Is okay.”
Shaking her head, Sarah explained that it was too late.
“I tell you story, no?” the woman asked.
“Yes, please, I’d love to hear your story.” Sarah faked a smile.