Arrivederchi, Y’all! is here!!!! Read more about it on Marilyn’s website www.marilyndennythomas.com
Feel the need to get away from it all? Come take a trip to Italy with a delightful group of women, The Seven Sisters, as they refer to themselves. The “sisters” no more than enter the airport in Rome when surprising events begin to overrun their long-awaited vacation. In the delightful tradition of Fannie Flagg and Ann B. Ross, Thomas’s characters seem as familiar as the neighbors next door or perhaps your own very best friends. From the regal Diana to the child-like Christmas, each of the sisters adds her own special flavor to this enchanting tale laced with mystery, hilarity, adventure and romance.
EXERPT from Arrivederchi, Y’all!:
Our little company of weary travelers fitted perfectly into a large waiting taxi and within a few minutes after going through customs, we were groggily riding through the Italian countryside, going up to the center of Rome, the ancient city built on seven hills. Having made the journey before, Diana laid her head back on the seat, hoping to take a quick nap before the great city came into full view. Suzanne took the time to catch up on her notes. Jules, tucked away in the middle seat, happily watched for the grand structures of old Rome to appear. Lyn, sitting next to the window, pressed her face against the glass, watching, waiting and weeping. She was the one who had a strong aversion to leaving home, and now, here she was—on foreign soil for the first time in her life.
The Italian driver—happy to have six well-dressed Americans with nice fat purses in his vehicle—excitedly exclaimed in broken English…evidently, one of the few English phrases he knew, “Where to?”
”The Barroco near the Trevi Fountain,” said Diana. The driver, nodding his head in affirmation, seemed to repeat the name of the hotel, but we couldnʼt really tell. All eyes turned toward Diana who said, “Si,” to the driver and then closed her eyes. Evidently, all was well.
However, Lyn could not bring herself to close her eyes and leave the groupʼs welfare to a total stranger in a foreign land―a stranger who couldnʼt speak our language, at that. She could just picture Aubrey Joe Williams, our hometown police chief, giving Pops the word that his wife had been kidnapped by the Italian mafia and was being held for ransom in an undisclosed cave somewhere in Sicily. Then she began to wonder how much she was worth. Her mind scanned the last bank statement. No way could Pops get her back with the exorbitant ransom money kidnappers required these days. Tears spilled down her cheeks once more, some at the thought of never seeing Pops and her children again and others rooted in the overwhelming sense of excitement she had felt since the plane landed. The tears, as well as their roots, were all tangled up. She was an emotional mess. Struggling to hold back sobs, Lyn reached over Suzanne to get a tissue from her bag.
She quickly pushed aside her problems. “Whatʼs wrong, Suzanne?”
There was no reply.
“Suzanne!” Lyn gently shook her friendʼs shoulder.
Most everyone was taking a snooze, but Jules was wide awake in the seat ahead. She turned around. “Whatʼs wrong?”
“I donʼt know,” said Lyn. “Suzanne looks really weird, and she hasnʼt answered me. I guess she could be asleep with her eyes open.”
“No, sheʼs not asleep.” Jules was worried. “I donʼt like the looks of this.”
Considering that Jules is usually one of the most positive thinking of our group, Lynʼs worry thermometer rose a full degree.
Suddenly, Suzanneʼs head slumped over on Lynʼs shoulder, and she closed her eyes. “Oh, no! What are we going to do?”
Jules turned back and yelled at Diana who was sitting in front with the driver, Tony, evidently the name of all Italian cabdrivers. “Something is wrong with Suzanne! Tell him to pull over and call 9-1-1 or else get us to a hospital quick!”
Dianaʼs eyes were round as the moon over Rome which, by the way, had just come in view. Itʼs a wonder the soft blue irises were not circling in her eyeballs considering the impossible predicament she now found herself in. Natural concern over Suzanne competed violently with the quandary of how on earth to explain all this to the broken-English speaking driver. Suddenly, however, she began to think more positively. Perhaps chubby little Tony understood English better than he spoke it. It didnʼt look very probable, but who knew? His big dark eyes were darting about from one woman to the other, obviously wondering what was going on in his cab.
“Tony,” began Diana in her usual confident and regal manner. “One of our friends is showing signs of dire physical distress, and she needs to get to a hospital. Can you get us there or should we call 9-1-1? Is there such a thing as 9-1-1 in Italy?”
Tonyʼs eyes were growing ever larger, now darting here and there and anywhere but on the road ahead. The traffic was becoming dense and chaotic, exactly like my travel books described. Lyn was terrified. The headlines in the county paper changed from “Seven American Women Kidnapped by Terrorists” to “Traffic Accident in Rome Kills Seven American Women.”
Beautiful old buildings shone brightly up ahead. The goal was in sight, but like the lady in my GPS box back home, we had some recalculating to do. Tony was obviously confused. At some point in the river of lovely Italian words he spewed out, Diana realized he thought she was talking about September 11, 2001…a la 911. Consequently, Tony, who looked just like Tony in my favorite movie, Lady and the Tramp, was as frightened as the seven women. And now, the cab was stalled in bumper-to-bumper traffic with the possibility that one of his passengerʼs middle sections was wrapped in explosives just waiting to be detonated.
Tony jumped out. Flailing his arms about and screaming something indecipherable in Italian, the man went from vehicle-to-vehicle warning people like Paul Revere on the eighteenth of April in 1775. Diana, lips pressed tightly together, turned to stare at Annie and me, her eyes almost as big as Tonyʼs when he alighted from the cab. My mouth was probably as round as Dianaʼs eyes.
Annie murmured, “Hmmm.”