I pick up the phone and it's my good friend Steve. He says, "JRock!! Pack your bags!! I'm gifting you a trip!! Don't worry about a thing, I'll even pick you up and drive you to the airport to see you on your way!!" Now I know what you're thinking, there are too many exclamation points, no one could possibly be this excited. No, you're wrong. Steve is without a doubt the most genuinely enthusiastic person I have ever met, hands down, bar none. .
So we hop into his sick classic ride (I hope he doesn't mind me borrowing the pic):
Since we're running late, he kicks it into high gear, evading police at every turn, and he drops me off at the airport for my trip with only minutes to spare.
I make my flight, and after landing in Italy, I get ready to board the cruise ship. It's one heck of a boat:
After the first couple of days enjoying some rest and relaxation, I run into the cruise ship's Captain, and I start to become concerned. I feel like I've seen this guy on the news before but I can't quite remember where:
A few hours later, the boat starts tipping and I make it to the deck where I jump over board just in time:
I swim for what seems like days and I happen upon a wonderful tropical desert island:
Although the island is deserted, I make it to shore with the following ten items:
This might not be the most practical selection, but at least I will be able to keep track of the days and the months as time passes by (as well as the phase of the moon, just in case there are werewolves on the island). More importantly though, this is a watch that will never leave my side. It is the watch that was my wedding gift from my amazing wife, and the one that I wore on our wedding day. If I could only have one watch for the rest of my life, it would be this one:
The second watch needs to be able to withstand the elements, including an underwater dive or a brutal tropical storm. Without question, I would have to choose the PAM 372. To me, it's the ideal sport watch and embodies the perfect mix of a vintage-inspired modern Panerai. I cannot think of a single improvement I would make to this watch:
I also have two songs with me, and they have to be songs that I could listen to for the rest of my life. This was a difficult decision because my second passionate hobby is collecting vinyl records. I love so many different genres of music, but ultimately, if I could only listen to two songs for the rest of my life, they need to be timeless and worthy of infinite repeat listens. The two songs that I chose come from two of my favorite albums of all time:
The first song is Grant Green's version of the Thelonius Monk classic "'Round About Midnight":
The second song is "Somethin' Else", written by Miles Davis, but appearing on the Cannonball Adderley album, Somethin' Else:
If you are a jazz fan, or even have a passing interest in jazz, and you have not heard these two songs, do yourself a favor and listen to them as soon as you have the time, preferably on vinyl. You will not be disappointed.
I also have one book with me, and this was an easy choice. On the solitude of a desert island, I cannot think of a book that could provide me with more inspiration and peace than this one:
As for a single meal, it would be Wagyu Beef prepared medium rare with a side of spinach and Key Lime Pie for dessert. I'm not too fussy when it comes to food, and am happy with just about anything, but man, a good Prime Cut steak prepared medium rare is like a taste of heaven for me.
A single movie is a difficult choice, but there is one movie that just moves me every time I see it (and I've probably seen it more than 25 times):
Rocky may be a simple story of perseverence and redemption, but it is also a beautiful love story that is gorgeous in its simplicity and ernestness.
I can have a single picture with me, which doesn't seem fair. There are so many pictures that remind me of so many wonderful times in my life. Even just choosing one picture from among the people I have met through Paneristi would be difficult. This is a great picture from one of the best GTGs I've ever attended:
Or there is this picture, with a wonderful friend (and one of his twin boys) who I would have never met without this forum:
Or even this picture, which gives me a good laugh every time I see it (apologies for not giving proper credit to this picture - I can't remember who took it). My wife and I joke that it took dinner at an amazing Chinese Restaurant during P-Day for my Italian heritage to finally start to rubbing off on her (at least to the extent that she has the whole talking-with-her-hands thing down to a T) :
But when I look at all of the pictures I have saved from so many years, there is one single picture that rises above the rest and it's this one:
This is a picture of me and my wife (then girlfriend) out of the balcony of our hotel room Hotel Ukraina in Kiev, Ukraine. I took this shot with an extended arm and everything turned out perfectly, right down to the bird flying in the background. It doesn't even look like we had been traveling for 20 straight hours when I took this picture because we were so happy and excited to be in Kiev. My wife's father lives in Kiev and before I could ask her to marry me, I needed to meet him. Even though he speaks very little English and I speak only a few words of Russian, I felt like I needed to have his approval before I could ask her to marry me. I guess I'm old-fashioned in that way, but I felt like it was the right and honorable thing to do. I obviously could not ask my wife to act as our interpreter if I wanted to ask him THE question, but I at least needed to see that he approved of me. After spending three days together, he took her aside and told her that he liked me and that he could tell that I would treat her well and be true to her. I never had to ask him directly, he understood based upon my actions and I understood as well. This picture will always remind me of our trip to Kiev. A trip that forever changed my life. The day that I returned back to the United States, I purchased the engagement ring and proposed two weeks later.
Which leads directly into my one memory, our wedding day. Words cannot describe the joy that I felt on that day, when I married my soul mate and the woman of my dreams. It is a day that I will never forgot and still gives me goosebumps just thinking about the vows that we shared, the people who were there to share the day with us and our friends and family who were not there, but supported us with their words and their prayers.
And if you've read this far, then I'm sure it comes as no surprise that my one person is my amazing wife. Not only is she smart and beautiful and patient and compassionate, but she accepts me and encourages me every step of the way. She even embraces my fascination with watches and has become a WIS herself. I could not have dreamed that I would ever find someone like her and I for that, I am thankful every single day:
If you made it this far, thanks for reading and coming along with me for this journey!