My best friend and I used to sit up until all hours of the night on the dock behind his St. Petersburg home and discuss whatever came to mind. This is where we would discuss the presence (or absence) of life on other planets, whether there were any words we could think of that came from dead languages, and the meaning of "Life" in general. (And some times we'd just eat "Life." Hey, what the hey? Mikey likes it!
Unfortunately, that all ended a few years ago when a hurricane washed it out the canal to the bay. By now, that dock has probably floated past the arctic circle in the gulf stream and is headed to London. (Look for the Philosophy Dock coming soon to a pub near you!)
I bring this up because to day I am visiting with Fritz and his family in St. Petersburg. I am happy to report that while the dock itself is gone, the spirit lives on. Fritz' eclectic group of friends (a circle to which I am privileged and honored to belong) now convenes on the screened porch overlooking the waterway. The topics of discussion are just as varied and are just as interesting. (And lest my UK friends think I am a completely different person back on this side of the pond...) There is still a surfeit of alcohol to lubricate the tongue and keep the conversation flowing freely.
I must admit, the universe follows strange rules here in Casa de Fritz. I was just introduced to one of Fritz' friends who, when introduced, said he felt as if he had known me a long time. I have to say here (and not because a gun is being pointed at me or anything, but because I honestly feel this) I agree with the sentiment, I feel as if we have known each other longer than the couple hours that we chatted today. But it is more than this instant camaraderie that makes it strange, while chatting I mentioned my former local employer: WFTS-TV. Mark looked at me surprised and asked when I had worked there.
Cut to the chase. We both worked at the same television station. I left the station just before he joined the staff there, but we were probably within weeks of working together there. Small world! Anyway, it was a pleasant evening (although it was a bit warm) and it was topped off by a wonderful dinner that Fritz prepared. I do not get nearly enough time with my friends here in Florida but I treasure what time I do get.
I hope that wherever you are today, you'll make time to spend with the people who mean the most to you!
Don Bergquist - 12 August 2006 - St. Petersburg, Florida, USA