46d-Spring Break 2017 (Part 1)

46d-S[romg Breal-Giuseppe_Castiglione_-_Gathering_of_Auspicious_Signs“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione.  Painted in 1723.
Public Domain.

I have one very vivid memory that recurs each year around the time of my Mom’s birthday on April 18th.  No matter what the weather was like or what was going on in our lives Mom said a birthday is a time to celebrate.  Each day is a gift no matter what we find in the box we open each morning.  We each have a role to play and bring our own unique gifts to the setting in which we participate.  Mom also held that each day is a re-birth because at the end of the day we should leave off the exhaustion, the gains and the losses and put them behind us.  Sleep was a renewing process.  All that happened the day before could be recycled and of use in the present or the future.  We just need to get on with the day ahead and not dwell too much on the past.  Answers will come in the course of time.

To illustrate this point Mom once told me that the newly found realizations are akin to Spring.  From within will blossom the knowledge we need if we just quiet the ramblings of the conscious mind and spend some time in a sweet solitude where we gather ourselves together.  “In springtime, the world is born anew!” Mom always said when it was her birthday.  She used that as a way to encourage me in the practice of seeking time out and spending it in quiet reflection.

Each year Uncle Sammy and I take a Spring break.  It is a time to rest, to socialize during the Easter holidays, visit the resting place of Josie and Sam and pray for those we are with in spirit but cannot make the visit to, whether at home or at their resting places.  We hope everyone is awakening after a very long winter and taking time to attune themselves to the cycle of renewal and rebirth going on in nature right now.  May it also happen for all of you, too.

To add an element of learning to this posting we have showcased a painting by Giuseppe Castiglione.  He was a Jesuit missionary who became a painter in the court of the Chinese Emperor during the 18th century.  We have also learned that Giuseppe Vivaldi, composer of “The Four Seasons”, wrote sonnets to accompany each of his concertos.  We present here Vivaldi’s sonnet to Spring in Italian and English which come from the website BaroqueMusic.org  Acknowledgements and links follow the sonnets.

We will return to WordPress in mid-May.

–EmilyAnn Frances May
–Sam Serrapede, Jr.
–April 9, 2017

Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.


Spring – Concerto in E Major by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
“Giunt’ è la Primavera e festosetti
La Salutan gl’ Augei con lieto canto,
E i fonti allo Spirar de’ Zeffiretti
Con dolce mormorio Scorrono intanto:
Vengon’ coprendo l’ aer di nero amanto
E Lampi, e tuoni ad annuntiarla eletti
Indi tacendo questi, gl’ Augelletti;
Tornan’ di nuovo al lor canoro incanto:”

“E quindi sul fiorito ameno prato
Al caro mormorio di fronde e piante
Dorme ‘l Caprar col fido can’ à lato.”

“Di pastoral Zampogna al suon festante
Danzan Ninfe e Pastor nel tetto amato
Di primavera all’ apparir brillante.”


“Gathering of Auspicious Signs” by Giuseppe Castiglione
Giuseppe’s Chinese name:  Lang Shi’ning
Public Domain.  Wikimedia Commons.

Giuseppe Castiglione
The Art History Archive-Chinese Art

Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Sonnets

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Spring”






41d-Christmas 2016 at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC

Christmas morning I went to mass at the National Cathedral.  My Uncle Sammy (who is my Mom’s brother and like a brother/dad/godfather and best friend to me), recommended I make the cathedral the focal point of the trip to Washington, DC.  He told me there is such a feeling of sanctity and history in the Cathedral that I would not leave without feeling uplifted.

He is right.  Not only did I feel uplifted, I was inspired.  The choir had the voices of angels. The clergy,  laymen and lay women at the service conveyed such dignity and joy.  I also felt the good will during the exchange of peace at the service.  Episcopalians, and Catholics too, exchange a sign of peace before the Eucharist is given.  In Brooklyn, it is a very anemic exchange.  People wave to each other while some make a peace sign and nod in your direction.  I’ve noticed in my parish most people only shake hands with those they know.  At the National Cathedral on  Christmas Day not only did I shake hands with all those near me, I had a few people hug me, too.  The warmth was very tangible.  I felt as if I’d received an energy transfusion.

At 1:30 p.m. there was a recital given on the grand pipe organ in the cathedral.  The selection ranged from The Nutcracker  Suite, to modern carols like “Bring a torch, Jeanette Isabella” and culminated in a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”. Two organists were needed to handle the four keyboards on the cathedral’s grand pipe organ for this last piece.  They are both young men in their late 20s-early 30s and so very talented.  As I watched the large screens placed throughout the church so we could see the organist I was so taken by passion and joy on their faces.  It brought such a feeling of happiness and joy that moved me to tears.  Again, other people nearby were responsive and just as moved by the recital as I was.  Strangers, we smiled and hugged and wished each other well without any reserve and without any analytical thoughts about who is this person and what are the thinking.

I think this was what I had come looking for:  that spontaneity and ability to feel with and for other people.  That it happened during the service and recital at the National Cathedral during Christmas day brought home the meaning and significance of this holiday that I haven’t felt for many years.  For me 2017 will be not only a New Year, but one with newer way of looking at what the real gifts of Christmas are all about every day of the year.

From my photo album

The National Cathedral, Washington, DC, Christmas Day 2016


Main entrance of The National Cathedral.

Continue reading

41b-A Christmas Greeting to Our Relatives and Paesani



For our family,
For our friends.
Those who are near,
Those who are far.
May Our Lord watch over you, guide you, provide for you and bless you always.
Merry Christmas!
And a prosperous New Year.


Per la nostra famiglia,
Per i nostri amici.
Coloro che sono vicino,
Coloro che sono lontani,
Possa il Signore vegli su di voi, vi guiderà, fornire per voi e vi benedica sempre.
Buon Natale!
E un prospero Anno Nuovo.

–Sam Serrapede
–EmilyAnn Frances May







Image: University of Dayton via Pinterest

41a-2016 Holiday Greetings to our blog friends and subscribers


Happy Winter Solstice!
December 21, 2016



Blessed Hannukah!
December 24, 2016-January 1, 2017



Merry Christmas!
December 25, 2016



Happy Kwanzaa!
December 26, 2016-January 1, 2017


It is the season of Light
when Joy, Hope and Love
shine upon us with blessings
from Heaven above.
May the flames of Love and Hope burn bright in your heart,
bringing Joyful inspiration as the New Year starts.

With best wishes,

–Sam Serrapede
–EmilyAnn Frances May


We will be on a one month holiday break starting this week.  See you all in the New Year.



39e-Dyker Heights Christmas Lights, 2016


Last night, December 3rd, 2016, I went to see the Christmas Lights display in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, NY.  It was damp and chilly.  Every so often the wind made the large evergreen trees in front of the mini-mansions sway to and fro.  Most of the area is still in the process of setting up their displays.  I wasn’t sure how much I’d see but decided to go.  I will be involved with several work related events this month so I decided to make the most of my day off.

To my surprise several mini-mansions, as well as the smaller 1 and 2 family houses, already had their displays in place.  The most popular themes I saw last night featured Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Bigger homes had their trees and shrubbery adorned with lights so that no figures were necessary.  The very big gardens that still featured large displays were big on well known Christmas characters such as The Nutcracker, The Wooden Soldiers, The Little Drummer Boy and Santa.

I hope you’ll enjoy this short tour of the best displays I saw last night.  I’m releasing these photos into the public domain.  You may circulate or re-use.  A link back to this posting would be appreciated.

The Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Display 2016




Continue reading

39c-Thanksgiving Day 2016


To all our blog readers and subscribers,

May this poem by the late Helen Steiner Rice inspire you, as it does us, to take time out and give thanks for the many blessings we have each day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

–Sam Serrapede
–EmilyAnn Frances May

Fill Your Heart with Thanksgiving
by Helen Steiner Rice

Take nothing for granted,
for whatever you do
The ‘joy of enjoying’
is lessened for you
For we rob our own lives
much more than we know
When we fail to respond
or in any way show
Our thanks for the blessings
 that daily are ours…

The warmth of the sun,
the fragrance of flowers,
The beauty of twilight,
the freshness of dawn,
The coolness of dew
on a green velvet lawn,
The kind little deeds
so thoughtfully done,
The favours of friends
and the love that someone
Unselfishly gives us
in a myriad of ways,
Expecting no payment
and no words of praise

Oh, great is our loss
when we no longer find
A thankful response
to things of this kind,

For the joy of enjoying
and the fullness of living
Are found in the heart
that is filled with thanksgiving.



Woman with Cornucopia
Italian Cermic Tile image

32b-Father’s Day, June 19th, 2016

“The Emigration Scheme” by James Collinson

In honor of the patriarchs of all our direct lines.  In memory and thanksgiving for those who bore the past hardships in Italy.  In memory and thanksgiving for those who had the foresight to bring their families to America so they and their descendants would have a better life.  We dedicate this posting to you all on Father’s Day 2016.

Our Patriarchs

Muro Family
Giuseppe di Giaimo
Francesco di Giaimo
Aniello Scotti
Francesco Scotti
Carmine Scotti
Luigi Serrapede (b. 1800)
Gaetano Ruocco
Nicola Ruocco
Nunziante Muro
Pietro Muro
Nicola “Nick” Muro

Serrapede Family
Alessandro Patella
Antonio Pappalardo
Nicola Pappalardo
Vincenzo Ruocco
Luigi Serrapede (b. bef. 1815)
Sabato Serrapede (1834-1893)
Gennaro Serrapede (b. 1867)
Sabato “Sam” Serrapede (1900-2002)


Continue reading