Email to DK

Hello, David!

It is a measure of the welcomeness and singularity of your newsy email that I wish to respond immediately – “…and I have taken a long sheet of paper to show my gratitude“. Casual correspondence represents what in this era might qualify as a lost art – though I have no way of knowing who or how many preserve this form of literary intimacy. What I do know is that two of my favoured authors – Tennessee Williams and Jane Austen – considered it wasn’t beneath them. I refer for example to a book you may have read; namely, “Tennessee Williams’ Letters to Donald Windham, 1940 – 1965”. The book was recommended to me a hundred years ago by a fine fellow I met in Cape Cod. The letters – which as you might expect of Williams are perfect gems – capture places on both Cape Cod and Key West which while perhaps not immediately recognizable certainly succeed to enliven reminiscences!

Regarding the shooting in Ottawa I read about it in the BBC news this morning while having breakfast before going for my haircut. I was disquieted to read such unfortunate and proximate news on an international site. The consternation was exceeded only by the on-going clashes between Trump and Iran, including the ambivalent presidential address this morning. It would be a treat to hear world leaders talk about getting together to have a discussion about how they might improve the welfare of their citizens. We sadly appear to be locked in archaic dynasties ruled by undisclosed forces. It is no longer sufficient to blame religious differences.

As for New Year’s celebrations we did nothing. This was by design. We avoid travelling on public holidays for the same reason. I can only add what a former lascivious title searcher once quipped, “If you’re not in bed by midnight, go home!” If the truth be confessed there is more than a bit of the nursing home flavour on Longboat Key – even if many of the residents seek to elevate the declension by driving sporty Mercedes, BMWs, Audi’s and preposterously ornate Bentley convertibles which instantly inspire the question, “Where do they get them fixed when something goes wrong?” Nor is it completely irrelevant to enquire. We have a dear old friend in Ottawa who just bought a Rolls Royce (he had it delivered on a flatbed from Palm Beach). When it arrived in Canada he had to drive it to Montreal (the nearest Rolls Royce dealership) to have the Canadian licence plate brackets installed. On the way back he had a flat tire! Another flatbed was sent – plus a chauffeur to get him home! I’ve heard Rolls Royce will arrange a pick-up anywhere in the world but it does seem a terrible annoyance to have to operate upon such a lavish scope!

Two confessions. First, so enthused was I to respond to your email that I am writing this while “baking in the sun” by the pool. Second, and more importantly, you do not wish to dwell upon the image of me lounging in the sun! The bloom – if ever there were one – has long since gone! You do not want to see me in lycra! Nonetheless I try to bicycle – as I did earlier today – about 15kms daily. I will punctuate this leisurely exercise with a short swim in the pool. I’ve been in the Gulf of Mexico several times shortly after our arrival here in October when the water was warmer. At the moment however I intend to wait several weeks before doing so again. The pool is heated.

I spoke with John about a week ago. I told him you had asked after him and that pleased him. I won’t say he is entirely addlepated but he continues to show signs of difficulty. As so often happens in these circumstances his memory for things long ago is better than for recent events.

Fond affection,


Good afternoon Bill,

Happy New Year to you and Denis. I hope you had a nice relaxing Christmas and New Years. I told you in a previous e-mail that I had gone to Halifax for Christmas week to spend it with my sister and her family. I was back in Ottawa for New Years. In fact, I worked last week with the exception of New Years Day. I didn’t want to waste vacation days to sit at home here in Ottawa. Ottawa couldn’t have possibly been more dull than it was here on New Year’s Eve. It seemed Christmas and New Years fun forgot Ottawa again this year. Honestly, I thought I was living in a Jewish retirement enclave. There wasn’t a Christmas light to be seen on Wellington Street this year, nothing on the lamp posts, no fireworks on New Years Eve, no street party on New Years Eve on Sparks Street, etc.. No idea what was going on this year. Did you and Denis do anything special on New Years Eve? I think I was in bed by 10:30 pm myself. I awoke at midnight to the sound of someone in my building ringing bells out on their balcony. It was actually nice to hear the bells to ring in the New Year. Once the bells stopped, I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. Exciting life huh?

So far, the weather has been quite mild for January. We do have some snow on the ground but the temperatures have been comfortable. Having said that, as a dear old Aunt of mine from Cape Breton used to say “we could have a whore of a snowstorm any day.” I’m sure we will have our fair share of winter as usual.

There was a shooting here in Ottawa this morning on Gilmour Street (between Lyon and Kent). When I left for work this morning, details were pretty sketchy. From what I have heard so far, the police are saying the shooting was a targeted event…drug related I think. I think one person was killed and three others are in hospital. No news on any arrests as of yet. Geez, the world has gone mad. Okay this paragraph is far too gloomy….time to change the tone of this e-mail and end on a more positive note.

Do hope you are enjoying your time in Florida. I can just see you Bill laying off by the pool baking in the sun. You always sported a nice tan. From what I remember, I don’t think Denis was much of a sun worshipper compared to you. Perhaps that has changed. Have a great day there and hope to hear from you again when you have a moment.

Best regards,
David xo