Siena boar's headA couple years ago, I attended a metal smithing class in chasing and repoussé with master metalsmith Valentin Yotkov, who had arranged to take us to the nearby town of Siena to sightsee for the day.

We were dropped in Siena, in Italy, and my classmates and I broke into groups and agreed to meet back at a designated time. Well, we broke into groups to an extent. A pattern had been established where one participant consistently wanted to go off by himself, specifically to find a pub. This time around, some classmates placed good faith bets as to whether Todd would make it back on time. I alone was on what I called “Team Todd.” I believed he’d make it back. And I took a lot of good-natured ribbing for it. Given the track record, the odds were not in my favor.

We split up, wound our way through the craggy and steep streets, ate lunch at the town square, the Piazza del Campo, looked at olive wood in the small shops, dodged the rain on a bank terrace, and eventually found our way back to a butcher shop under the boar’s head. The shop had been about to close up when the shop owner spotted Valentin’s assistant Sharon, and immediately, the shop was re-opened for our group and we proceeded to indulge in wine and cheese that appeared out of nowhere for us inside the little shop. And lo and behold, Todd was in the shop when my foursome and I arrived. He was telling the story of his adventures that he began again for our benefit.

He’d walked the same streets as we had, down to the Piazza del Campo, and found a trattoria/pub that overlooked the square. When the rain started, he watched the square clear out as everyone huddled under the storefronts ringed around the piazza. The entire bustling place was suddenly hushed. That’s when he saw one couple, hand in hand, walk into the center of the piazza. Slowly they made their way, and once in the center, the man stopped. He turned to the woman, got down on one knee, the woman nodded and he sprung up, and they exchanged hugs and kisses as everyone in the distant perimeter erupted into cheer. Todd said the people on either side of him were in tears seeing this, and everyone in the pub started hugging. He’d been filming the event on his phone, and hoped to find the couple somehow and send it to them.

Siena, ItalyI think of this story from time to time, and it never fails to make me smile. It also reminds me, that no matter how many times someone has let you down or shown up late or managed to get lost at the most inopportune times, there is always room for belief in each other. Bet on that.

Go, Team Todd.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at