The truth about wintering in Florida is that, as grand as it is – and I mean that, seriously – one is inevitably drawn back to home territory for what I suppose can safely be called emotional and spiritual rejuvenation. I won’t say the yearning for the homestead is instantaneous; but certainly within a six-month period the capitulation is not uncommon – l’m saying not altogether frequently but by any standard at least regularly. One forgets what may have provoked the urgency to leave home in the first place.
So for example while fulfilling my constitutional bicycle ride to Bayfront Park today I fashioned I might usefully employ the latter part of a breezy Sunday morning while watching the sea birds race across the azure sky on Sarasota Bay to catchup so to speak with my Landlord and much esteemed friend JHK back home.
As luck would have it on this irrepressible day by the sea my long-standing friend and, for purposes of embellishing what I am about to account, the unquestionable senior living businessman of the Corporation of the Town of Almonte was conveniently able to take my casual call. If I may be permitted to interject an additional observation it is this; namely, that it is a supreme expediency in the modern age of technology that one such as I – lingering in short pants and a cotton pullover on a bench under the warm New Year sun on this tiny barrier island adjacent the Gulf of Mexico – can instantly cuff my trusty iPhone and with but the touch of an identifying button commence a perfectly audible communication with my 90 year old crony. We were instantly and agreeably connected from the lip of the salt sea water through the frosty air of the Shenandoah Valley and northward to the County of Lanark there reposed as I imagine under a white blanket of snow!
It bears notice as well that in spite of the geographic distance between us we never descend to compare one with the other. This is particularly so because JHK is of all the people whom I know the least inclined to comparison much less criticism or discredit. This purposive charity does not however contaminate his undisguised perception of truth and fact (sadly a much maligned resource in the days of “Trumpism“). Furthermore JHK would never measure the currency of one’s bearing or other state of affairs solely by outward appearances but instead by the sinews of a man’s being or other equally substantive element! I mention these details as warning of the categorical chronology that follows. In plain terms my friend JHK is a man of many parts and his kindness and beneficence should never be allowed to translate to pusillanimity! His is a fearless heart which evokes the frozen truth!
But forgive my dalliance! Allow me now to return to the thrust of this colloquy. When my wise friend and I had accomplished the requisite social niceties of enquiring after our respective health and co-vivants we lapsed somewhat abruptly I thought into matters of a more tensile nature. I should add by way of consolation that there was no impending gloom or imbalance which provoked the emerging analysis. JHK and I have for years put our collective shoulder to more than one dilemma. For the past 40 years I have had the privilege and distinction to convey to him in the most efficient way I know how the pragmatic angle of the sometimes esoteric configurations of what we signify as both the common and statutory law as enabled by Her Majesty by and with the consent of the ekected Members of Parliament.
All this is to say that my awakening to the ensuing terse assertion from my very knowledgeable – and I might add sometimes notoriously cryptic – friend was not entirely an unanticipated blow from behind. As we nonchalantly compared the current compelling features of our two disparate communities he uttered with the forcefulness yet aplomb you’d expect from a true veteran of life’s incalculable struggles, “The streets in Almonte are not heated!”
There it was in all its unabashed vulgarity and striking intuition, “The streets in Almonte are not heated!” What I ask could be more direct, more succinct! Like any of the great adages of history this seemingly self-evident statement (at least in retrospect it is) captures what I venture to say is an underlying germination – “The streets in Almonte are not heated!“ It is the very platform of divination.
Synthesizing this sort of blunt surveillance is never immediate. I do however thank my friend for the depth of his compassion in having shared with me – admittedly one of far less worldly experience – the strength of this assertion and the unwitting relief it imports to me at this remote resort (I am now by the pool about to take a dip) and the elevation it affords as I ponder the next four months confined to what frankly amounts on occasion to intolerable heat and relentless sunshine! It will lessen the abuse of having repeatedly to watch bobbing yachts and sailboats on the turquoise water to recollect that, “The streets in Almonte are not heated!”