Magdalen-College-courtyard

In my ill-spent youth, I tended to travel lightly (backpacking) and historically. I visited cathedrals, crypts and castles because of my genuine love of literature and western history. I admit to an abiding admiration of all that is Shakespeare and the British detective novel.

Coming to Oxford, England was an opportunity to view the well manicured lawns of centuries together with a certain culture of entitlement as only the British can serve up with cold enthusiasm. Punting, an exotic manner of boating, on the Cherwell spelled hours of enjoyment visiting the tableau of murder mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers.

I was in heaven.

But, the lasting image I have is that of a well dressed elderly gentleman and a posh young woman. Both sat together upon narrow folding chairs in a Magdalen College courtyard. An open bottle of champagne in a silver wine server separated them. Small plates of strawberries balanced on their knees. They gazed serenely into the courtyard oblivious to the tourists (like me) who wandered through time along the ivy covered archways.

Time was held in check. A moment was forever etched in my memory.

I have no idea who these people were or their relationship to one another. Because of my Puritanical heritage here in New England, I thought “Hell, it’s only 10 AM and they are drinking already.”

But, I have come to discover through the years that the companionship of a kindred spirit transcends time and establishes bonds of experience. Maybe they were a grandfather and granddaughter coming together for the ritual of another summer through the quiet consumption of champagne and strawberries.

It doesn’t matter.

It was a time, in a place, in a moment.

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