Other Husband & Wife Articles

ONCE UPON A TIME...

by Mary Rose Bacani & Richard Valenti


Mary Rose: Are you ready for a little story?

Audience: Sure!

Mary Rose: Okay, here it is ...

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Mary. She carried around a cobalt blue basket.

This basket never left her arm. People just assumed she was born with it. And maybe she was. 

Every day, little Mary filled up her basket. With a word, a face, or a feeling. The fuller the basket was, the livelier she became.

As she grew older, Mary forgot about the basket. 

Instead, she became preoccupied with her boring leather briefcase. 

This illustration by Richard Valenti appeared in the couple's wedding program.

This illustration by Richard Valenti appeared in the couple's wedding program.

Not too far away was a little boy named Rich. He pinned up memories on his wall. Like a movie ticket, a photograph, or a poster. 

Rich often rearranged his collection. And every day, he would throw a splash of color on it. Red. Blue. Yellow. 

As he grew older, Rich barely noticed the vibrant colors on his wall. He got worried about other things. 

He would lie in bed so tired while his wall collected dust.

One day, Rich met Mary, and Mary met Rich. 

Mary loved Rich’s wall. Rich loved Mary’s basket.

Mary helped Rich invent new colors for his wall. 

Rich helped Mary fill her basket with wonderful things.

And so, they’ve been splashing colors and collecting ideas ever since.


THE END.


Richard: Uh, tell them what it means, Mary Rose, because I’m not sure myself.

Mary Rose: Richard, we’re now talking about the glue that holds us together – other than God – our love of art and words. I remember the first time I fell in love with you...

Richard: Please go on in full detail!

Mary Rose: It was the summer of 2005. We were editing the documentary about my experience in the Holy Land. I was struggling with the story. You took the beautiful images and pieced them together into a work of art. You inspired me to dig deep into my heart for the story that was already there.  

Richard: How could I forget editing that with you? You looked at me with stars in your eyes.

Narrator: What is it exactly that you love about each other’s creative talents?

Richard: I love how Mary Rose sees beautiful things everywhere. But sometimes she gets so bogged down with work that she doesn’t notice anymore. When she gets inspired and writes, a different part of her comes out.  

Mary Rose: I love how you can penetrate into the heart of something. You take images and words and music and create something that is beautiful to hear and to look at. You can always find the truly beautiful person and show this beauty through a photograph.  

Richard: That is why I take photos of you, my heart.

Mary Rose: Will you stop that, please?

Narrator:  How are your creative talents a significant part of your life together?

Richard:  When we first moved into our condo, we decided that whatever we’d put up would be a reflection of us. My artwork is up on our walls. There’s also a 4 ½  x 4 foot mosaic mirror that we made together.

Mary Rose: One time, we joined a subway sketching group that meets on Sundays. Richard and I found out about them online and decided to make an adventure of it. We sat with these artists in one subway car for about an hour or so, sketching different people. Well, Richard did most of the sketching while I made up stories. But don’t get me wrong, Richard is a very good storyteller at heart. Sometimes I think he’s better than I am.

Richard: And Mary Rose is not only a good writer, but a great editor. If she only knew what buttons to press on my editing system, she could edit the documentaries herself.

Mary Rose: But I thought you said I always know what buttons to press?

Richard: Please, we are live.

Mary Rose: Richard and I both love beauty.  The more time we give to the appreciation of beauty, the closer we both feel to each other and to God.

Mary Rose and Richard work together at Salt + Light TV in Toronto. Next column, they share about the ultimate love of their life – God – and how they approach him differently.