Beauty and Grace on a Roman Sidestreet (Italy #4)

I have a particular fondness for those who take the ordinary tools of life and turn them into art. Implements like knives, belt buckles, boots, paper, and pencils make the list.

Fountain pens, in particular, convey a potent dose of delight. I am keen to share, like all who discover something wonderful. So, over the years, my wife has received Visconti pens which she faithfully uses, even though no small part of her says, “You can buy a whole bag of Bic pens for $20 and not worry about them at all.”

The Novelli Pen store, not far from the Trevi Fountain, remains one of the great discoveries from our last trip to Rome. They always have a wide-ranging collection served with a friendly, English-speaking style. I will take or manufacture almost any excuse to “pop in.”

In recent weeks my wife’s Visconti Rembrandt ballpoint developed a hiccup. We explain the problem. Our caretaker disappears to the back room to re-emerge a few moments later, saying, “I’m not certain this will fix it but let’s try.”


My wife smiles.

Quanto ti devo (how much do I owe you?).

Niente. Prego.


A refreshing experience, like drops of water on a hot, uncertain Italian summer day.

The gracious interaction with someone who loves and values what I love and value constitutes a blessing in my life.

As I continue across the threshold, the limen, into this next chapter of life, I vow to seek more intentionally those who have a passion for their work, paid or not, who appreciate the beauty in the ordinary and who live with a sense of grace.

Where do you seek or find those who appreciate beauty and live with a sense of grace?

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