How astonishing! Four score years. There is marvel in that alone. So to begin with I want to wish you a big Happy Birthday!
Why this letter? Well, a simple reason, perhaps. I couldn't, as I thought about it, imagine a gift that would be able to summon up for me the meaning of your personal and intellectual presence in the friendship we hold. Thus, acknowledging this failure, and in lieu of that gift, I have resorted to writing in order to try to capture a fragment of the texture that underlines the connection we have.
I can't now remember exactly what prompted me to try to contact you in early 1996 to see whether you would agree to an interview (indeed, I have no memory of how I got hold of you, though I distinctly remember the sound of your...