Happy anniversary Joanne and Marty! @TonyVallone

Above: Dinner in the wine library at Tony’s last night began with a simple risotto alla parmigiana topped with a few black truffle shavings.

The Levys gathered last night in Houston to celebrate Joanne and Marty’s fortieth wedding anniversary.

Above: My cousin Jon toasting his parents. His girlfriend Chiara, seated to his right, is from Viterbo… they’re super cool.

Joanne and Marty play a very special role in our lives: even though I didn’t know them growing up (because my father, Marty’s first cousin, was estranged from our family), they have welcomed me into the fold of their family’s life in Houston with unconditional warmth and generous spirit and love.

Above: Tony does classic soufflé in the old world style, something I’ve only seen in New York. It’s presented to the table as soon as it rises.

When I moved to Texas in late 2008 to be with Tracie P, I never imagined that I would find a “new” family here that would embrace me the way that they have. But as Willie Nelson wrote in one of my all-time favorite songs, Yesterday’s Wine, miracles appear in the strangest of places.

Above: Marty and I share the great fortune of having married gorgeous ladies, despite our schlubby looks.

Three and a half years later, I can’t imagine my life without them.

Happy anniversary, Joanne and Marty!

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