"An Evening With Ray Kanter" - Back in the mid 80's I worked for a Printing Company here in the Hartford, Connecticut area. During that time Ray came to work at the same company. That was the days when there were no computers used in the printing industry to do any of the photo and text layout. It was all done by very talented "offset strippers". Now I know what your thinking, but offset strippers in the printing trade were people who's task it was to place text or page layout and photo or "halftone" placement in books, ads or whatever the client's project was. We did a lot of trick things with film to create what I call masterpieces for clients. Ray and I were two of those people that had the talent to do all this by hand. Now, computers do all that in a blink of an eye.
During those days Ray would come to my home and he would bring his guitar and he and my entire immediate family would sing and have a good old time. Ray was a very talented musician. He sang real well also. This guy was just jam packed with all sorts of talent. I believed that his true passion lay in his music. You could just tell by the way he played and sang. He loved it! It came from within his soul.
Fast forward to the present - I was in the West Farms Mall a month or so ago. Yes I was in the Apple Store! As I am getting ready to leave the store I walked past a guy that, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I knew. Low and behold it was Ray Kanter. I hadn't seen him since 1986 or 1987. In all these years he hadn't changed much at all. He was engrossed in conversation with one of the Apple Store associates. I was very polite and waited, and waited and waited to the point that I couldn't wait any longer. I had to leave. I felt empty while walking away. Here I was passing up a chance to connect with a good friend that I hadn't seen in a long, long time.
A few weeks had past and I just couldn't stop thinking about Ray and that chance meeting. So what did I do? Yes, I Googled him. I found out that he was playing piano at the Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecticut. On March 22, 2013 I surprised Ray with a visit to the Inn. I got there early because I wanted be there when he walked in. I waited for him to start setting up for his evening of entertaining the guests and visitors at the Inn that night. I should explain something before I go on. You see, back in the days of working for that printing company, Ray and I did this, what I call "Stick". We had this way of talking to one another that words cannot describe. You just had to hear and witness us. It was a sort of New York, Jewish accent. It was very funny how we would banter back and forth using the same accent. If you should ever meet me or if any of my friends reading this just has to ask me to do the "Stick" and I will be glad to do it for you.
Back to the story. As I walked up to Ray who was still setting up, he smiled as I approached. I knew he had no idea who I was because I now look soooo different from what I looked like in those day. When I got to just the other side of the piano I said, in the NYC accented voice that we used to do, "Ahhh Ray deah". Well, his face went from smiling to a puzzled, perplexed look. And then he said, "Dave Oliver"? Well needless to say I stayed to enjoy his music. During his break we sat and did some catching up. We had a great time. It kind of made my weekend. We plan to stay in touch and get together from time to time.
The photos I have posted here in this blog post were from that evening with my very, very talented friend Ray Kanter. If you want to enjoy a night out, at the very beautiful Griswold Inn, in a very lovely setting, in a quant little area of Connecticut, you can check Ray Kanter out on Fridays, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Griswold Inn, in Essex Connecticut. You won't regret it I promise you!