My last posting was about cell phones and text messaging. The title of this blog is “Messages of Love.” Because it’s the month of Love, I would like to retell a story that happened to my husband long ago on a trip to Italy and how our Loving God connected it to the present day without a telephone number, without a cell phone in hand but by a simple little tissue paper opened up from a piece of chocolate candy! Read on. . .
It was October, 1996, and my husband and I planned a trip to Italy. We would be visiting Rome, Florence and Venice just to name a few places that were on our itinerary. It surely was a much awaited trip that was planned to the last detail. I remember flying out of LaGuardia around the Feast of the Holy Rosary and thinking Mother Mary planned this whole trip for us. We would be sightseeing in all the Shrines and Cathedrals of Italy and visiting the Vatican in Rome. It was a dream come true!
As we took our seats on the plane, we noticed that there were advertisements of Baci chocolates everywhere! They were right above the overheads with displays of stars and images of candy wrappers. We found ourselves being greeted by the stewardess offering us star-wrapped candy on a silver plate atop a white doily! Something special was going on and we hadn’t a clue!
My husband had to ask the question, “What’s this all about?” The stewardess replied with a big grin, “Don’t you know the plane that you are flying on?” “Yes, Alitalia to Italy!” was a united reply from both my husband and myself.
Oh nooooooo! She said! When we land in Rome, look outside the windows and see what transported you to your place of destination!
Well, the suspense was worth every moment of thinking, wondering and picturing what sort of airplane this was! The featured image displays wonderfully what we were able to see once we landed and viewed the aircraft from inside the airport. We had been on the “Baci Plane!” It was painted midnight blue and studded with glistening diamond stars.
It was “Amore” for sure and it couldn’t have been more romantic for our flight to Italy. All the passengers were given postcards which stated the following:
“This plane has been painted like the wrappers on Perugina’s famous “Baci” Chocolates (chocolate kisses).
This means you’re on board the sweetest plane to take to the skies.
Send your love and kisses to someone special.
Baci from Alitalia.”
Little did I know that this plane would provide a message from Heaven to me many years later. Read on for a true “love story unfolding between me and my husband long after he leaves earth!”
Fast Forward to 2018
Baci chocolates always held a special place in our hearts from that trip to Italy and we would always grace our family’s celebrations with a bowl of chocolates “Baci” style.
Who wouldn’t want to open those beautiful silver wrappers studded with blue stars! I don’t know one person who didn’t quickly unwrap the chocolate, pop it in their mouth and discard the wrapper immediately. I cannot tell you how many wrappers found their end in our garbage pail in the kitchen until one night in 2017!
Nick is a dear friend who was originally born in Italy. I met him many years ago when we were both studying to enter into a Third Order Carmelite Community. Nick is a humble, loving and thoughtful man who would always remember me at holidays and special occasions with some sort of gift.
Well, it was almost Easter of 2017 and I hadn’t seen Nick in a while. It was like that with Nick. He wasn’t exactly in the best of health and frequently he went back and forth to his family home in Italy. One day, I received a phone call from him that he had my Christmas presents still from December and wanted to drop by and give them to me. I was fine with that plan and was looking forward to seeing him as it had been awhile. I had no idea of what I was in for with him!
An Angelic Pose of “Nick”
It turned out to be quite an afternoon. He had rented a car and it needed to be returned hours before he got to my home! He would also need to take a bus home to his house and so I volunteered to follow him in his rental car and then drive him home. The ride there turned out to be nerve-racking! Nick drives like he is still in Italy! I remember thinking my life was about to come to a crashing end on Old Country Road as he darted across 5 lanes of traffic to cut into a gas station entrance and there I was behind him trying to keep up! I couldn’t get into a car accident now! I had just changed car insurance! Yikes!
Finally dropping off the rental and getting him into my car, I was able to safely drive this guy home! I was so happy to see him buckled in his safety belt! He was my hostage now and he was going to play by my rules. No darting across 5 lanes of traffic!
On the way to his house we conversed about his illness of heart disease and also some of the other afflictions that he has been faced with for the last ten years or so. He never admits to anything and is so humble. It’s all about you and not about him!
We spoke a lot of my husband’s entry into the eternal as well. In fact, we spoke very much of my husband, his Funeral Mass and the miraculous happenings that abounded that day. Nick was one of the two people who had spotted my husband on the altar looking very young before the Mass even began. Yes, my husband was seen with a “champagne glass” saying “salute” to all those who came to pay their respects and attend his Funeral Mass.
But at this writing, this is not what I am calling your attention to.
Read on . . .
A Surprise Wrapper
It has been quite a time with Nick. . . The crazy ride following him, his divulging that he had seen my husband on the altar before the Funeral Mass began (two years later!) and an emotional good-bye before finally dropping him off in front of his home! In fact, that night because he was with me, he missed his flight!
Nick didn’t want to worry his sister so he cooked up a story and told her he was going to Colorado to see their brother when instead he had a flight booked for Italy that evening when the “car rental fiasco” took place.
As you can see, he’s quite a character but worth every word that I write about him in this posting!
Finally, when I arrived home that evening, I plopped down into the chair and looked at my husband’s picture looking back at me! Yes! It had been some wild times with Nick for sure! My husband seemed to be saying very clearly to me that it was all worth it. And so it was, as you, too, will see.
As I sat gazing at my husband’s picture, I remembered about the bag of gifts and I eagerly got up to open it and see what surprises it held!
Inside I saw a brightly colored panetonne Christmas bread with beautiful ribbons tied around it and then a big box of chocolate. It was definitely one of those large boxes of Baci chocolates and at this point, I sure was ready for one! Nick had put me through the ringer with the ride to the car rental place and his sharing (two years late) that he had seen Rob on the altar during the Funeral Mass. I believe he only shared it in great humility because he felt he was facing some risky times ahead with his own health issues.
I needed a chocolate badly and so I opened the box. It was a big box, as I mentioned, and held 30 pieces of star studded wrappers enclosing that luscious chocolate that seemed to melt in your mouth.
I opened it quickly and popped the prize right into my mouth. . . Something I was accustomed to doing since getting hooked on Baci chocolates from our trip to Italy!
Then, I noticed it!
What was this?
A wrapper. . . but it looked like it had writing on it!
Could this be? The realization came to me at that moment that all Baci chocolates are enclosed in little wrappers with “love messages” written in different languages. I couldn’t believe what I was reading in English as I gazed at my husband’s framed picture and the chocolate wrapper in my hand!!!
Yes, you, too, are reading correctly from the pictured wrapper!!!!
“The presence of the loved one belongs to you.”
Tommaso d’Aquino (which is St. Thomas Aquinas)
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I looked across at my husband’s picture and just saw him smiling back at me!
Yes, for sure. I had gone through quite an experience with Nick but in the end it was all so worth it!
Yes, the “presence of the loved one belonged to me that night!”
and it had all begun so many years ago on that Baci Alitalia flight to Italy!
Truly a Grace Filled Moment Granted by God
With a Kiss of Chocolate!
©2020 Anita Guariglia
Photo Credits/Anita Guariglia