StoryRhyme After Dark: Perillo Tours
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By Harry Buschman
Mr. Lombardo took a Perillo tour to Italy this spring. He’s not going again for a while––not with gas prices as high they are in Italy. Most tour companies have put their plush air-conditioned buses in moth balls and are issuing bicycles to their customers at the airport.
Mr. Lombardo hadn't been on a bicycle in forty years, but by the time the tour was over and he left his bicycle at customs in Rome, he had pedaled more than 350 miles through Rome's historic countryside. Mrs. Lombardo chose not to accompany him, but instead stayed at the airport and shopped in the duty free store for the entire two weeks of the tour.
As everyone knows Rome is built on seven hills... Some of them quite steep. The tops of each of them are prime tourist attractions and climbing them on a three speed Schwinn can be an invitation to a coronary either going up or coming down. Even if the climb is successful, the descent can be suicide. Fortunately, Mr. Lombardo accomplished all seven of the hills, spurred on by frequent shouts of encouragement from the tour guide leading the way on his motor bike. One of the tourists, Mrs. Meltzinger by name, won the Perillo prize for quickest trip down each of the seven hills––she will be released from Ospitale Romano as soon as the bill for her hip replacement surgery is approved by Health Care Italiano.
We asked Mr. Lombardo if he enjoyed his seven hills tour of Rome. "I really didn't see much," he said. "A person must keep his wits about him while pedaling a bicycle in Rome," he observed, "I used to think Italians were the craziest drivers in the world when they got behind the wheel of a Fiat or a Lamborghini, but put them on a Schwinn with a load of wet wash on the handle bars and you'd best give them the right-of-way."
Mr. Lombardo has lost thirty pounds in the last two weeks, while Mrs. Lombardo has gained twenty. He stays he is "rump sprung," (a common ailment of bicyclists) and he plans to stand in the aisle rather than sit in his tourist class seat on the eight hour flight back to New York.
(c) 2012 Harry Buschman