The death of a friend of monumental proportions.
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We would have drinks in Sid’s gorgeous study, then Sid would do a little dance and move his delicate hands like a fighter and say, “Let’s go bug it up,” and off we would go.
Sid was wildly generous. He always picked up the tab and I made sure that after Martha passed on, Alex and I did that, but his generosity was of a piece with his elegance.
I tried and tried to think of a movie hero as elegant as Sid, as much of a gentleman as Sid, and I could not really think of anyone. I know I keep saying it, but he was in a class by himself.
An example: long ago, a famous diva in Hollywood sued me over a humor piece I wrote about her in GQ. There were TV trucks outside my house and sneering comments about me on TV. Sid just called and said, “Let’s go out to Morton’s.”
We went, and I felt as if no one could harm me if I were under his care. The waiters all applauded when we walked in, and disastrous clouds turned to sunshine.
Sid was a walking, talking miracle of caring and good nature. I just never saw him display anger or vindictiveness or envy. Never. He was good natured and he was a philosopher.
I can recall many times when I said someone was angry at me and would probably never speak to me again, Sid would laugh his good hearted laugh and say, “That’s how she feels right now. In an hour, it’ll be completely different.”
I remember the night we were having dinner at Mr Chow and Martha told us she had cancer. Even then, a truly horrible night, Sid was encouraging, positive, upbeat.
The night she passed on, he was out of his mind, Literally out of his mind with grief, but he was upbeat then, too. He said we should all go to Vegas and shoot craps. I never knew what he meant and I still don’t.
After Martha died, Sid was lucky enough to have Leslie and the kids take care of him, because, as we all know, he was a changed man. He was still brilliant, still elegant, still charming, but he was a changed man. He had Leslie, an angel of caring, and he was still Fred Astaire, but the slide was on.
Then, some years ago, Alzheimer’s began, imperceptibly. I can still recall his asking me about a medicine he was taking for it and I thought he was joking. But he was not joking and he was now not just a changed man but a marked man.
Still, he was elegant and upbeat.
I saw him for the last time in lucidity a few weeks ago, and in a bare whisper, he was still a gleaming flame of insight.
Well. He was blessed to have Claude and Jason and Leslie Susie and wonderful, wonderful, glorious Anna to take care of him. We were all blessed to know him. The reason I cannot come up with an example of someone like Sid is that there was no one like Sid. The perfect Christmas card, off white vellum with a red border and a little bow. The perfect Christmas gift, a perfectly shaped poinsettia. The perfect friend. The perfect father and husband and support.
Sid’s friend and ours, Barbara Bernstein put it well.
When you lose someone you love, the damage is permanent. It is as if there were a brick wall right in front of your door. But eventually, there is ivy on the brick, and after that, there are roses. It will happen.
In the meantime, there will never be another Sid. We will not see his like again. But we will see you again, Sid, somewhere down the road. And we’ll bug it up and then it will be time to dance.