On Saturday afternoon, Mother Nature chased me off my local baseball field. Without warning, Mouseland’s clouds (The ball field was walking distance from Disneyworld, Florida) turned ebony, blanketed the sun, and teamed with an uninvited, hissing wind. Those gusty winds bullied their way across the baseball field.  Adults and children scampered for a protective cover. I clawed my way thru the bluster and punishing pellets of rain, found my two grandsons, and carried them. We scurried to safety behind a muscular brick wall.

    Hovering over the two boys, I served my protective role as a combination of a human umbrella and an egg carton shield of sorts. I assured 5 year old Brock and 8 year-old Petey that all would be fine. Finally, I drew a wide smile from both. Mother Nature continued her raging sideshow. Just as our feet were about to sink in puddles of rain water, the skies turned off their faucets. It was just Florida being Florida once again. My sunglasses were victimized by the surprise weather. They launched like a fighter jet off an aircraft carrier. I found the glasses several car lengths away.  Battered, scratched, and misshapen they’d landed upside down in a mud hole.

   After delivering my grandsons to their dad, I drove home. I placed my soaked shirt on the limp clothesline and watched it drip dry in the resurrected sun.  After changing my shirt, I clutched my mini screwdriver and tried to repair some parts of my battered sunglasses. The time for me to practice the new sport of remote control wizard arrived. Lately, I’d become expert at that. I could change hundreds of channels in minutes. I seized my television’s controls and, utilizing my nimble fingers, demanded that televised stations from around the globe fulfill my wide variety of programming requests.

Prof. F. Anthony D’Alessandro watching the Sicilian Open 2012

   Television calms me today as much as my dad’s homemade vino did during my college days. Suddenly, I froze as the sight of a verdant golf course commandeered my screen. It looked like a promotion for a travel poster. I tossed my remote control onto the unoccupied couch and gazed at the mixture of grass, sea, and olive groves. Forget travel posters, this might have been the most idyllic landscape in the Western World.  I’d always wanted this type of beautiful backdrop hanging from a canvas on a wall in my home. My eyes opened extra wide the first time I saw California’s famed Pebble Beach Golf Course. Save for the California seals, this site was every bit as jaw dropping.  For a minute or so, I wondered about the whereabouts of this golf course occupying my TV screen. This paradise appearing in my living room also brandished its own howling, boasting wind.  This televised wind, however, arrived without any drool, dribble, or drizzle.

  I conducted research. The tapestry plastered across the television showed the Verdura Golf Course. Verdura was hosting the Sicilian Open of 2012 in Sciacca, Sicily. I relished the miracle of our era. I reclined in my Florida easy chair enjoying 85 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Disneyworld is literally around the corner. Yet, on my screen, I saw a live video of a Sicilian golf tournament, replete with golfers sporting wintry sweaters to protect them from 61 degree Fahrenheit temperatures.

   That tournament from across the Big Pond was taking place an eight-hour flight from me. What a treat. I leaned back, and said, “Wow!” Today’s technological miracles delivered me to the homeland of my parents. According to my calculations, Sciacca seemed to be about a 70-minute drive from my mother’s birthplace in Mazzara, Sicily. My estimates, of course, were based upon my heavy footed driving habits. That wondrous televised Sicilian scene captivated my imagination. I could not believe that all these years, I thought I had been living in the land of magic. Not so! The magic of Sicily danced across my tube on Saturday afternoon. I sat mesmerized.

D’Alessandro brothers (Petey and Brock) kneel in front of the image of their great grandparents’ birthplace in Sicily

   I heard a knock at my door. My youngest son Jon visited along with his sons Petey and Brock. Dry now, I suggested that they watch the golfers. I seized my moment to instruct my boys about geography, golf, and ancestry.  I mentioned that that beautiful golf course scenery was part of their roots. “Boys,” I said, “your great grandparents came from that picture postcard place.” Thank you Golf Channel.

F. Anthony D’Alessandro

F. Anthony D'Alessandro
F. Anthony D'Alessandro
D'Alessandro retired from a 30 plus-year teaching career in New York State. For twenty-five years, he served as a high school newspaper advisor. For several years, he acted as an associate editor for the now defunct, Italo-American Times. A former "Educator of the Year," he recently retired from his position as Coordinator of Student Teachers for the University of Central Florida, and an adjunct professor at Valencia College.

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