Commonplace Book #19

No, no.  Lucia Santa had been fortunate to escape for so long a period of time that measure of sorrow due her station in life.  Her children  were strong, healthy, handsome, the world was before them.  Soon she would reap the rewards of all her travail.  So, courage.  America was not Italy.  In America you could escape your destiny.  Sons grew tall and worked in an office with collars with ties, away from the wind and earth.  Daughters learned to read and write ,and wore shoes and silk stockings, instead of slaughtering the bloody pig  and carrying wood on their backs to save the strength of valuable donkeys.

Had not misfortunate entered once even into heaven?  Who  could escape sorrow?  Who could pass through life without weeping?  Only the dead do not suffer.  Ah, the happy, happy dead.  The old women clasped their hands to give thanks giving for the day they would leave this earth, this unhappy vale of tears.  Yes, yes, the happy dead who suffered no more.

Mario Puzo, The Fortunate Pilgrim, 260.