Remanences of David Long Past

Since the alarm went off, I have been lying in bed musing on the people who have influenced my life. This morning I thought about David.  Hands down, he was the most important amour of my early years. Nevertheless, it has been decades since thoughts of him drifted past.

Our first date was an afternoon spent “stained glass viewing.” We visited all the churches in town to inspect and evaluate the quality of the windows. The the Episcopalian church was hands-down winner with windows filled with fifty shades of blue glass. We sat in a pew, bathed in blue light eating cheese sandwiches with pickles for lunch.

Edith Piaf, singing “La Vian Rose”triggered the memories.  Before I met David, I had never heard of Edith Piaf, much less heard her sing. I was introduce to the “song bird of Paris” on a dim November afternoon, with rain streaking the windows, and a fire burning in the living room fireplace. It was perfect Piaf weather. The whole afternoon we listened to Piaf records and imagined Paris. We should have been drinking wine, instead it was beer and tomato juice.

David also introduced me to the artist’s world: not by a painting or sculpture, but by a novel “The Horse’s Mouth” by Joyce Cary.  Gulley Jimpson is an aging reprobate who lives in a houseboat on the Thames. Rogue he may be, yet a painter to the core of his being. The descriptions of the world viewed through his painter’s eyes are indelible-I hope. Actually, I need to read that book again, too much time has passed. ( Note: a film was made in the 50’s with Alec Guiness playing Gulley.)

Then there were the letters. David was a great correspondent as good as the great letter-writers of the 19th century. For almost a year, we exchanged lively letters. Then one day we stopped. I don’t have a single one of those letters. I never had a photograph. If I ran into him in the street I doubt I would recognize him. Yet his influence remains. 

A toast in tomato juice and beer to David, whose memory is dim but whose echoes remain.

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