Song “Una Furtiva Lagrima” (M’ama!) – Donizetti

Being twenty-one most people have the idea that you have come of age. Well, mostly, this is true but it’s not the magical number “twenty-one” that did it for me. It was the party celebration with my friends and my parent’s friends, the Poles, the Italians, and the Irish. We split into two rooms; the younger couples in the room at the rear of the house, with the outside door and my parents and their friends in the sitting room. I alternated between rooms, thoroughly enjoying both “parties”.

When I was my parents and their friends, my mom suggested that I gather all the “young ones” into the lounge for the speeches. Well both my father and mother were not parents who would give long silly speeches so I rounded up my mob and we all found space in the sitting room.

I was glad and proud of my parents. My dad’s speech was simple.

“You are now twenty-one,” he said and shook my hand. This was met with much cheering and the singing of “Happy Birthday”.

I hadn’t noticed that my Italian friend Roberto had shifted to stand with his brother and father. Their timing was perfect; when I moved over to hug my mother they started singing in fantastic tenor voice “Una Furtiva Lagrima (M’ama). The tears streamed, both my mother and I.

I was now twenty-one! Never ready to leave my good parents!

When I recall that night, as I do now, the tears fill my eyes and I find it difficult to focus.

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