“This is Cachaça” explains Phil Pillsworth “Between soccer, carnival and the samba, this drink is the most popular thing in Brazil! It tastes something like rum because it’s made from sugarcane. Would you like to try some?”. I figure nothing can be as strong as Grappa, so I agree to a small sample, just a small shot though.

Mary and Phil are my absolute favorite intellectual liberals! While working in the Peacecorp in Brazil in the 1960’s, they met, fell in love and traveled extensively ever since. Back in October of last year, I flew to Guadalahara, Mexico and had the exciting chance of videotaping their winning bid on a retirement home in Ajijic. I love listening to them lament about the out-of-control right-wing agenda, wrestle with society’s deepest social maladies, and argue about who forgot to turn on the oven for the lasagna to cook! Last nights evening in with them was all about their recent trip to Brazil during Carnivale.

“So what to do think”” asks Phil, as I cautiously wet my palette with the intoxicating Cachaça. “Hhhhmmmm…”

I’m no spirit aficionado, usually sticking to table wine and heffen weisen beer but this Cachaça is lethal stuff and I’m glad I’m sitting down! A kick, a bite, something like tequila, sort of like vodka, I’m trying to be place the flavors, like I would with wine — as if I’m any good at that either! “Ah hell, bring on the Caipirinha!” I squeal. Caipirinha is a cocktail with Cachaca in it and it’s all the rage in London, Paris and even here in NYC.

And so begins another memorable evening with Mary and Phil; a couple I can only hope to be and act like when I get older…whatever older is. They’ve spent the entire day preparing a Brazilian feast, Brazilian photos, and Brazilian videos for my sake. And though all of that is great, what I’m really after is listening to great storytelling – and nobody does it better than them. Verbiage comes so natural to both of them and since they’ve been together for over 35 years, each other literally picks off where the other left off in a conversation. My parents divorced partly due to a lack of communication skills so this intrinsic verbal compatibility between couples fascinates me. I marvel at Mary and Phil’s longevity, transient lifestyle, and thirst for learning. Despite the digs and wisecracks each other lobb at the other (albeit amusing as hell to me) their adulation and respect is obvious.

“Mary, Why is there so much smoke pouring out of the oven??? For God’s Sake, the Lasagna’s on Fire!”
“Phil, for God’s Sake, I left that Brazilian CD under the desk!! Look to the left!!”
“Mary, I can’t have my dessert yet, for God’s Sake, I’m still finishing up my salad!”

It’s like music to my ears!

I could blame it on my past or turning 33 (again) and still single, or my romantic notions felt during full moons, but for all the reasons I’m attracted to this older successful couple, saying goodbye always leaves me wanting to know their secret. If your reading this Mary and Phil, a note to remember – when the time comes that you decide you’d like to enlighten the rest of the world with this underground tidbit , I’ll be there, camera rolling!

Thanks so much for dinner.

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