We spent Christmas Day with friends who have a mixed marriage: he’s American, from Detroit; she’s Italian, from Rome. Her parents had flown to visit from Rome, bringing a niece and nephew with them, so we were quite a houseful, what with their three daughters and two very big dogs and all.
We ate traditional American food, with a huge turkey and trimmings, and played traditional Italian Christmas games, like Mercante in Fiera, a card game with a fast-talking “merchant” to sell the cards, and lots of horse trading, and barter all in two languages (three, if you include the language of laughter), and Tombola, which is Italian bingo, played like ours but with different rules and combinations of wins. We had an impromptu concert by the young people, which included a piano rendition (with vocal) by Daughter #2 of a song I knew but had forgotten, What a Wonderful World.
And it struck me powerfully, in the warmth of the fire-lit living room, the Christmas tree in the corner, a guitar, a violin, a piano, all ages from grandparents down to five years old, two parts of the world gathered here in ties of family and of friendship —-
How easily I forget, that it can be, it is, a wonderful world.
So here’s a reminder to me (and maybe to you), in the definitive rendition by the incomparable Louis Armstrong: