My dad could fall asleep anywhere.
It was important to know my father. He was a connector; he knew everybody. I first learned of this when I was eight, and he almost got our family on the set of The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. And then again when, at eleven, he almost got me a lunch date with David Cassidy because he knew the teen idol’s manager. He knew a record promoter and brought me home a stack of New Wave albums—The Cars, Blondie, Patti Smith, and Elvis Costello—before there was even a new wave. I remember he thought Elvis would have less-than-zero longevity, like Elton John.
|Here’s generosity for you: a family cruise to Bermuda,
everything paid, including kids’ face painting and
off-ship meals and a few souvenirs.
If you needed a back doctor, knowing him could get you a faster appointment. He could get you a last-minute reservation or a special deal on a car or just some extra nice treatment somewhere. There’s a waiter at the Prime Rib who used to fawn all over my husband Marty when we came to the restaurant. It took me years to figure out that it wasn’t Marty who was so special; it was my father. The waiter had assumed Marty, also Mr. Miller, was his son, so when he asked, “How’s your dad?” I said, “I’M Harvey’s daughter.” He sucked up to me from then on.
|Even in the hospital, my dad would work, though
each successive hospital visit would make that less possible.
When he became successful in his business, he became more generous. You couldn’t go anywhere without him saying, “You want it? I’ll buy it.” If you would so much as touch the fabric of a pair of $300 jeans, he’d say it. “You want it I’ll buy it.” But who needed a pair of $300 jeans? There’s a shop owner in Rehoboth who loves him but hates his crazy ass family.
|Panic: How is it that the most recent
photo I have of myself with my father
was taken 18 years ago at my wedding?
So I think of sandwiches and games and generosity when I think of my dad. And I think of love. He loved fiercely and loyally. And if something was wrong, he wanted to fix it for you. He hated seeing the people he loved struggle or suffer for a moment without something they needed or wanted.
It was so easy to love my dad because he loved so easily. And the best benefit of losing someone like that is that you never have to wonder if you loved enough or well. You did.