Learning and Leaning

I got up early enough, but the idiots with the power observed daylight saving time at 7 A.M. The rush was on. The bell signaled two minutes until liberty boat departure. I tried to get my AWOL bag but the snipe I’d lent it to, was on watch down in the bilges. With the bustle, I forgot my Italian dictionary and flashbulbs. As usual, hurry up and wait. The whaleboat finally got underway, skies overcast. We rode a bus with other sailors, Turks, Italians, and Brits. Most passengers slept. It’s the land of terracotta roofs and ultra-green countryside. The recently paved highway served up just one slowdown. Pisa was the first stop. I found a newsstand and luckily, both a Herald and a Daily American were available. A gent was taking up a collection for travel to Rome to protest a President Ford visit. Hell yes I gave. He saluted me. Leaning Tower is located in the “Square of the Miracles.” A battle wall surrounds the area; slew of vendors lined a sidewalk. A hundred lire tape machine fee provided the legend. The most interesting explanation for why the tower tilts: the architect was humpbacked and wished his work also deformed. Five hundred lire to join a horde in the two-hundred-ninety-four, time worn marble step climb. It was easy going until the passageway narrowed near the top. Many initials and names scrawled on walls at the summit. I saw an old man add his handle, “Quasimodo.”

Thomas M. McDade is a 74-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT & RI. He is a graduate of Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran serving ashore at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Virginia Beach, VA and at sea aboard the USS Mullinnix (DD-944) and USS Miller (DE / FF 1091).

See more from Thomas in 8.1