As I am prone to do in my more sentimental moments – and closing up our house for a couple of months while we return to our boat in Connecticut is such an occasion – is to linger over the piano, a friend I have to leave during that period. What to play, what to play? I found myself drawn to a piece written by the great jazz pianist, Erroll Garner. He was a self-taught pianist, couldn’t read a lick of music, and played strictly by ear. Like me, his hands were small – very unusual for a jazz musician. They say his hands could barely span an octave (I can reach it, but not much more). Oscar Peterson, by comparison, could easily reach an octave and a half! Yet, both Garner and Peterson were comfortable playing stride when called for. To hear Garner’s performances is to understand that he was simply in love with playing the piano, a process so natural that the effortlessness belies his great gift and distinctive sound. I can in no way imitate his talent, but one of his compositions, No Moon (Young Love), seemed to suit the moment, and with my audio-flawed digital camera, I recorded my rendition. When I listen to him play it I think I’d give my right arm (but I’d need it!) to even remotely play like that. He was given the gift.
On an entirely different subject,I have to thank my son, Chris, for bringing this New Yorker article to my attention. I’ve been practicing “bibliotherapy” ever since switching my major from psychology to literature in college and didn’t even know it! No wonder I enjoy reading so much, becoming “involved” in other people’s lives. Reading fiction is a mind and emotional exercise, an exploration of the writer’s imaginative world, both the outer and inner. To immerse oneself in it is to help understand this mystifying journey we call life.
My last entry was about William Trevor. His short stories are an addiction, so much so that I’ve ordered Trevor’s subsequently published Selected Stories and thanks to Amazon I’ll have it just in time for our departure. This collection includes his After Rain (1996), The Hill Bachelors (2000), A Bit on the Side (2004), and Cheating at Canasta (2007) which as the Booklist notes “merge all their pages into this deep reservoir into which avid fiction readers will dip repeatedly.” Now that I’m finished with his earlier collection, the characters seem to inhabit my mind, and I’ll miss them. Thus I look forward to reading Trevor’s more recent stories. It’ll be a “reunion” of sorts!
So armed with some books, we soon begin our trek north to our boat in Connecticut, living in a few hundred square feet. However, most of the days and many of the nights we are out, sometimes on the water, but there will be theatre in NYC and at the Westport Country Playhouse to attend, and friends and our two sons to see - and perhaps a brief return visit to Asheville on our drive back in September or, in other words, a nice break from Florida. We’re fortunate to still be able to do this.
One of the last details is to put away the boat we have in Florida. Early Monday morning I was following a 60’ sport-fish out into Lake Worth, the Parker Bridge was just closing after it had passed under – so this was the view from my console.
It was indeed like a lake on the water early that morning, the sun rising, the air temperature “just” in the high 70’s, but alas returning the boat to the dealer for storage and maintenance over the summer made it sort of a bitter-sweet trip.