LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

It’s a quiet night at Bellasera in Naples. Buck is stretched out on his side of the bed, reading Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turrow. Earlier, we walked over to ZiZi restaurant here in the hotel, talked with a sweet maitre’d named Jean about the ins and outs of indoor or outdoor dining — this being significant because there was an acoustical guitar player indoors and a Christmas Party sound system about to crank up by the pool outdoors — not to mention three obnoxious drunk couples at the outdoors bar who had cranked up the volume beyond all recognition. Buck’s deteriorated hearing makes these nuances a practical consideration. Unlike some couples, we like to hear what one another has to say. We are engaged; plugged in.

We opted for an outdoor table, lulled by the breezes and a three quarter moon into a contented private bubble.

Ah, well, over the years Buck has learned to read my lips with surpassing accuracy, always reading my heart in the bargain. We had a nice dinner. Our server, Melena, seemed to see something unusual in us, and we spoke to one another beyond weather talk.

Buck and I shared a “crab tower” appetizer, a concoction of crabmeat stuck together with a Thai spiced mayonaise, layered with tomato slices and Holland rusks. His entree was a grilled salmon marinated in olive oil and oregano, topped with a pine nut pesto; mine was chicken picatta with garlic sauced capellini. Very nice.

We drank a glass of Mark West Edna Valley Pinot Noir. It was unusually yummy.

Melena, operating strictly on intuition, brought us a  berry tart with vanilla ice cream topped with a wild berry sauce, and a glowing candle stuck in the middle, and urged us to make a wish “in honor of our love”. We did. My wish was for Melena to find romance and enduring love. Buck’s was to live to ninety years old with his curent fitness level, so he could spend another 22 years loving me. 🙂

The weather for December 1 in Naples, Florida can only be described as perfection, just right for moonlight walks and al fresco dining.

Oh, by the way, there is also a lot of silliness here, more money than sense, many over the top fancy cars, Bentleys, Rolls, high-end Porsches and the like, plus an unusual number of end of the spectrum elderly men lunching with rail thin angry looking twenty-something young women.

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