14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 15 And she said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law. 16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.(Ruth 1:14-18) … The story is that of a widow woman, who has two daughters-in-law, who have also been widowed. The mother-in-law, Naomi, encourages her daughters-in- law to return to their homeland where they can resume their lives. One daughter-in-law, Orpah, decides to return to her home country; Ruth, however, makes a strong statement of her decision to stay with Naomi, and lives up to that decision. Ruth later marries a man, Boaz, who is a kinsman of Naomi. They have a son, Obed, who fathers Jesse, who fathers David, from whom the family lineage leads to Jesus. This story of love between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is one that should be a model for all other such relationships.
Let’s consider God’s love. Sometimes, “it’s hard to explain.” When we consider the scope of God’s love, it goes “far, far, away,” from the world where we live, to the great expanses of outer space” (good news for astronauts).God’s love is truly, “beyond this world,” which explains “how much He loves us.” Let us now relate these thoughts about God’s love to the tender love story of a young man and young woman, and how it affected the life of this writer.
The year was 1962. I was fourteen years old. My home was in New Orleans, Louisiana, actually Gretna and Algiers. One afternoon, I looked at the movie section of the New Orleans Times Picayune and tried to figure out a good movie to see. There were many theaters in “The Crescent City,” so it took a while to decide on which one would have the best movie. I decided on the Abalon Theater, which was located in the downtown area of what is now known as “Algiers Point.” I road a city bus from the Mc Donoughville community of Gretna, where I lived, all the way to the theater. That is a time in my life that I will never forget, and would not want to forget.
The movie that was being shown was “Rome Adventure.” At my “tender age,” I was in love with the idea of being in love. The movie was about a young woman whose name was Prudence. She worked as a librarian somewhere in America. She wanted to go “to where they really know what love is all about – Italy.” So, she went! The role of Prudence was played by Suzanne Pleshette.
Almost magically upon her arrival in Italy, Prudence met a young man who had recently broken up with his girl friend. That man was Don, and was played by Troy Donahue. Love was truly in the air as Prudence and Don toured Italy together. As is shown in the movie, love grows between Don and Prudence – love that is tender and innocent. You can not imagine how much I would love to have been Don as he was gaining the favor of the beautiful Suzanne Pleshette.
The Rome Adventure theme song, Al Di La, has been in my mind throughout the years. While Don and Prudence were on a date, and listening to Emilio Pericoli sing that song, Prudence asked Don to explain the meaning of “Al Di La.” He explained it like this. “It’s hard to explain. It’s “far far away, beyond the beyond, beyond this world; that’s how much he loves her in the song.”
Rome Adventure was truly a love story, because it was just that – a story about love – young love. There was nothing out of taste or character for either Suzanne Pleshette or Troy Donahue; oh, how we need movies like that today. To help you to understand some of my thoughts about this movie, I have provided two links. The first, and opening, one will take you to the scene where Al Di La is being sung. The second one will show various film clips of the movie. I trust that you will get a feeling deep inside of you that will help you to remember, or appreciate, such a time in your life.When we also consider the love story of Naomi and Ruth, and the illustration of God’s love, may we never forget the following scripture:
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Troy Donahue and Suzanne Pleshette later married, although I am not certain how long the marriage lasted. They are both dead now. The singer, Emelia Pericoli, is also deceased. Such great losses for our world.
Al Di La – Ray Charles Singers & Connie Francis
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