Does this look like two round trip tickets to Italy?
Well, in a round-about way that’s exactly what this it. It is an ARMILLARY sphere. They were originally designed by the Greeks and were used as teaching tools. The rings and poles and arrow represent the equator, the meridians and parallels and the center ball represents the earth following the sun.
In today’s world the Armillarys are most often used as garden ornaments and that’s where my story begins. As some of you may recall my daughter and her husband have an antique business in New York state. They’ve been collecting and selling for almost 20 years and they both have the gift of seeing a treasure where someone else might just see a dusty object. My son-in-law is especially creative with metals and he has a large stockpile of discarded metallic pieces.
One of their regular clients was aware of his talents and asked him if he could reproduce an Armillary and what would be the cost to him. I don’t know the particulars of the transaction but it evolved that the client’s wife was a world traveler and had many free air miles that were going to waste. My children, being not only amazingly talented but resourceful as well, jumped at the chance to barter … and the end result was … “One very large armillary in exchange for two round trip tickets to Rome”.
Here is the satisfied customer out in his field after the Armillary was installed. You can see how large it actually is. What you can’t see is the big grin on his face. However, that didn’t compare to the grin that I had when my children informed me of the swap and presented me with the tickets. !! They knew that my dream was to return to Italy one last time and they made that dream come true.
My oldest son was my companion on the trip and we spent two wondrous weeks amidst the treasures of Rome and Florence.
Now I am back home and, as I try to come back to earth, I envision the bright red Armillary silhouetted against a snowy landscape in upstate New York. It is so much more than just an outdoor ornament. It is a symbol of the generosity and love of my daughter and her wonderful husband. I can never thank them enough.