This time we're in the Abruzzi region of Italy in july of 1989. Specifically in L'Aquila at the Ristorante Le Tre Marie, a wonderful place founded in 1912 by Guiseppe Scipioni, a painter and gourmet. Once again I was on business for the college since we have a student and faculty exchange program with the University of L'Aquila.
The president of the university was treating us that day - my wife and daughters, another UC profesor and his wife, and several other Italian friends. You can just see my older daughter on her mother's lap and the top of the younger daughter's head to my wife's right. (Today is the younger one's birthday.) It was an enjoyable but challenging occasion since I don't speak Italian and the president speaks minimal English He's at the end with the pipe, and I'm on his right. At the same time, the food was incredible.
Now there's a memory! Those Italians know how to eat. A tavola non si invecchia - meaning at the table with good friends and family you do not become old (loosely).
In an odd coincidence, I tried to return the favor on my next trip, but the president was already having lunch that day with representatives from another American university - at Tre Marie, of course. His office got very confused when I inquired about his availability to meet me there.
I am filled with wonderful memories and am a most fortunate man.