Can any drug, any food compare with the feel of a trusting big old dog against your stomach?
It is the fourteenth anniversary of my mother’s death and I am here in Beverly Hills, lying on a long blue couch in my sunny office. My wife is sleeping on the bed in the office along with our dogs, Brigid and Cleo. In the distance, I can hear kids screaming at a swimming pool. The sound makes me think that Beverly Hills is a neighborhood and not a showroom, which is really what it is.
I fell asleep for half an hour and when I awoke, I saw right in front of me some large blowups of photos of my family. They’ve been there for years.
There’s one of my son when he was about eight years old listening to my father play the clarinet in my parents’ bedroom at the Watergate. My mother is resting her hands on Tommy’s shoulders and looks happy and calm. Tommy looks ecstatic.
To its right is a black-and-white photo from about 1958 of my mother and my sister standing out on the deck of our fabulous fifties-modern home in Silver Spring, Maryland. The deck overlooked Sligo Creek Park. It was a beautiful setting. Both women are wearing full skirts, the fashion in that era. They look pretty, but a bit wary of each other.
Just under that is a gloriously colorful photo of my mother in about 1987 sitting on a couch in our home in the Hollywood Hills. Gathered all around her are our dogs of that era: Martha, the nutty Weimaraner; Trixie, spectacularly beautiful German Shorthaired Pointer; and Ginger, also perfect GSP. My mother looks so happy. She loved dogs. She had Irish setters when she was growing up, and always loved dogs. Not as much as I do, but considerably.
Once, I left Mary, the original Weimaraner, with my father and my mother for two weeks when I moved to L.A. in the summer of 1976, while I looked for an apartment that would allow me to have a dog. Mary stayed with them in their apartment at the Watergate. My mother told me it was the happiest two weeks of her life. She played with Mary all day. She sat on the couch and threw a ball for her and marveled each time Mary brought it back to her. Why didn’t she get one of her own? I don’t know. She was apprehensive about many things. Let’s see, she was then about 60. She could easily have had the strength for a dog. It was a mistake by her.
Now, it’s been 14 years without my mother. I lie in my office and I look at those photos. I also have photos in my bedroom of my mother and father sharing a milkshake at the McDonald’s on Route 50 in Maryland on the western side of the Bay Bridge. They look contented with that shared milkshake. They were never pretentious. I can so well recall going to the counter and buying them that milkshake.
I am sure I never imagined a time when my mother and father would have been dead many years. I still get postcards to send them from wherever I am, and keep saving the postcards, as if my parents would reappear. I talk to them at night and through the day.
I hope they forgive my ingratitude and selfishness.
For most of my life, I only thought of what they had done wrong to me. It never occurred to me to think of what I had done wrong to them. Never even occurred to me to thank them on hands and knees for the lush life they gave me after their own modest beginnings and to thank them for how hard they had to work. I wish I had that time back. I thanked them plenty when I was older, but I wish I had done it much more when I was young. How selfish we children are. Or at least, how selfish I was. It’s painful.
God bless you, Mom and Pop. I miss you.
As Wlady would say, “A soul is gone.” But is it, if it’s a soul?
A FANTASTICALLY BUSY DAY in New York City promoting “my” new book, The Wiley Little Book of Alternative Investments. I awakened at about six, Eastern Time, which is about three my time. I was feeling fantastically sick. Just as if I had been poisoned. But what could it be? I had almost nothing to eat the day before. Maybe a stomach flu. I drank some of the wonderful herbal tea my sister taught me about many years ago, Tazo Refresh mint tea. It helped a lot. It has something to do with the mint hitting some smooth muscles in the intestines. Anyway, it helps.
I ate a modest breakfast, got dressed, and went off on my rounds along with my publicist, Monique, and my driver, Harold.
First stop, Fox News. I got made up, talked to fellow Fox and Friends guest and my great pal, Michele Bachmann, looked at my book, which really should be called Phil DeMuth’s book, because he wrote 99.99 percent of it — he’s listed as co-author but he did all of the serious work on it — and then went on the air. It was a fast, fun show.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?