Today’s lofty temperature, though not the headline of the ambient conditions, unquestionably completed the idyllic picture. At the pool I was surrounded by a predominantly cloudless sapphire sky. There was only the breath of wind. It was another magical day on Key Largo. To speak of it less enthusiastically would be an omission. These are I know the days to recall with covetousness when facing some raging wintry slushy drizzling day. And they shall no doubt come but soon.
Afterwards, that is following an invigorating swim in the pool, I removed myself from the chaise longue onto my tricycle and then to my desk at the townhouse. Cooled by a mug of chilled tea with fresh squeezed lemon juice, clothed in what I jokingly call my lounging apparel (a combination of calming synthetics) and listening to schmaltz Musique pour Notre amour by Ferrante & Teicher, I have again activated the ritual customs of my late afternoon and early evening.
Ferrante & Teicher were a duo of American pianists, known for their light arrangements of familiar classical pieces, movie soundtracks, and show tunes as well as their signature style of florid, intricate, and fast-paced piano playing performances.
Arthur Ferrante (September 7, 1921, New York City – September 19, 2009), and Louis Teicher (August 24, 1924, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania – August 3, 2008, Highlands, North Carolina) met while studying at the Juilliard School of Music in New York in 1930. Musical prodigies, they began performing as a piano duo while still in school. After graduating, they joined the Juilliard faculty.
Ferrante and Teicher ceased performing in 1989 and retired to Longboat Key and Siesta Key, respectively, close to each other on the west coast of Florida. They continued to play together occasionally at a local piano store.
My Saturday afternoon Easter weekend liturgy was distinguished by a telephone call with Jeffrey E. Stafford in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I say distinguished because Jeff is almost twenty years younger than I, a separation which seldom vitalizes a casual relationship between virtual strangers as we are. It was only two days ago that we had our first meaningful conversation together, poolside on Key Largo. Nonetheless during our confab today we touched upon a number of elemental and captivating topics including my literary device of calculated obscurity and the more exact and intriguing themes of religion and the separation of state and theology. Jeff is well traveled and a man of many parts. His hidden (or should I say undisclosed) identity is one of the things about him which I find most appealing not only for its discoverable dynamism and plurality but critically because of his singular modesty. I am quite convinced that to date I have merely touched the surface of this clever chap. I am however spirited in the continuance of our acquaintance because his father and his stepmother live on Key Largo and there is a good chance we may renew our conviviality subsequently upon our mutual return to this common venue.
I was afterwards treated to a FaceTime communication with my erstwhile physician from his country estate in Canada. Our friendship goes back a long way and covers numerous paths. He too is exceptionally well traveled. It is no mis-statement to say that I am constantly uncertain upon which continent he is. For example, not too long ago I received a telephone call from him. When I asked where he was he replied, “I am in the business class lounge in the airport at Abu Dhabi en route to Toronto.” He was returning home from Australia. His vast traveling experience has afforded him a critical and perspicacious view of the many delights of travel. I am happy to say we have shared those themes of quality both at home in Canada as well as in Rome, Sardegna, Longboat Key and Sarasota. What percolates throughout is comfort and simplicity. Importantly we too engage in constant conversation, often fomented by the latest article in The Times to which he subscribes.
The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times (founded in 1821) are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, in turn wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times, which do not share editorial staff, were founded independently and have had common ownership only since 1966. In general, the political position of The Times is considered to be centre-right.