Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Going to the dogs

The north side of Metropolitan Museum of Art as seen from inside Central Park. 10:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017.  Summer Soltice; yesterday was the longest day of the year. We had 15 – 15½ hours of daylight yesterday.  With temps running between the mid-70s through the mid-80s and back by the midnight hour.

The weather has been dominating our thoughts for the past 36 hours. We had a terrific rainstorm on Monday where it got so heavy that our vision was clear for little more than 100 feet, along with some high winds and thunder. And then it miraculously cleared so the point where a friend living on the west side of the avenue took photos of the river from the terrace and discovered a wonderful rainbow.
Whirling winds and heavy rains blocking vision beyond 100 feet late Monday afternoon.
And then a couple hours later, clouds passed, sunset out and a rainbow declaring the pot o' gold for all of us.
Yesterday morning I had breakfast at the French Roast on 85th and Broadway with EJ Oshins, who is an old friend from Los Angeles. I met EJ through our mutual friend Beth DeWoody in the mid-'70s. When I decided in 1978 to move to Los Angeles and to launch a career as a writer, I stayed for the first few weeks with EJ at her apartment in West Hollywood. Two memorable moments. I was taking a snooze on a Sunday afternoon in early November. EJ wasn’t there; I think she was visiting her family here in New York City. Suddenly the pipes in the building started clanking, banging — which woke me — and then suddenly the bed I was lying on started moving. I thought, “Oh my God! It’s an earthquake!”

DPC with EJ Oshins at French Roast.
Frankly, aside from being other worldly in scope, it was exciting. So I got up and turned on the TV and sure enough, the voices were talking about a quake a few miles off Malibu in the Pacific. Earthquakes, like this one, and others that came after during my years out there, send one specific message: There’s something BIGGER than you, I and all of us: and that’s Mother Earth. That’s how powerful we are (not).

My second memorable moment was on Thanksgiving Day that same year. Again EJ was away on holiday. I was very new in Los Angeles and knew only two other people, both of whom were away. EJ’s next door neighbor was a man named Richard Tomlin whose sister is Lily Tomlin.

At that moment Lily Tomlin had reached a kind of zenith in her stardom, having started the ascent when she played the telephone operator on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

By now she was a big star. I had met her brother Richard through our mutual friend EJ, and before the holiday he had told me he was spending it with his sister and his mother at his apartment. Learning that I was going to be there and with no place to go, he kindly invited me to come by to say hello.

Richard Tomlin with sister Lily.
Lily wth her mother. ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo
As garrulous and sociable as I am, I also have a side that can be precisely described as shy. I am very self-conscious about not intruding on people’s private moments, such as a holiday dinner with family. However, this one afternoon, about three, figuring that the Tomlins had had their main meal,  I made myself a cup of coffee and decided to go next door to visit. The two apartments were in a small house, connected by an entrance portico, no more than a few seconds apart, door-to-door.

Arriving at Richard’s, I could see through the window that he, his sister, and mother were at table. I could also see that he could see me arriving at the door. Ordinarily with that visual information, I would have turned around and gone back to where I came from. But in this case, because I could see Richard had seen my approach,  I stayed at the door after pressing the bell. Lily opened the door with that friendly face that the world knows. She was also wearing a beautiful silk Hermes scarf. I was aware of it because it was a moment when Hermes had made a big fashion splash, and a lot of women I knew, women of means, were wearing them. As was Lily Tomlin.

I don’t know what I said to her at the door but I was clearly so nervous that in my momentary animation, holding my coffee in one hand and gesticulating nervously with the other, I splashed some of it on Lily Tomlin’s new, beautiful (and expensive) scarf!! I was embarrassed to the point where I umm-ed and awww-ed and apologized for interrupting their lunch, and returned quickly to EJ’s apartment.

I never met Lily Tomlin again in all my years out there, which was just as well. I never had the chance to apologize again. I haven’t seen Richard in many years although I hear from EJ that he’s living happily in Palm Springs. Lily, as the world knows, continues her blazing career as one of the most engaging and affectionate actresses on the screen, offering only the pleasure of her people’s-wit to the audience.

Going to the dogs. I’m a dog person, as friends and readers know. I’m also a cat person although I haven’t had any cats in many years. Right now I am the housemate of four canines, all of whom are “rescued.” Since Los Angeles, I have been a “rescuer” of shih-tzus. The first, Tiger, came to me through a friend whose family didn’t want him. That attitude astounds me. Over the years I’ve “adopted” nine Shih Tzu, as well as a Jack Russell and a couple of fancy mutts. I’ve learned a lot about myself and about us humans through my dogs. Their focus is greater and clearer than ours, most of the time. They pay attention for the simple natural reason of survival. They offer their presence for us to feel affection openly and without  conditions. Of course, they are also  practical and sensible about things – unlike a lot of us.
Tobey (ex-Bide-a-Wee), Lilttle Willy, and Rosemary (the boss), Shih Tzus from the Humane Society ...
I’m telling you all this because a few weeks ago, Bide-a-wee held their annual fund-raising gala at the Pierre. I have a housemate who came from Bide-a-wee. Tobey. He was a rescue from a litter in Alabama. I was told beforehand that he was a Shih Tzu and I had recently lost a dog from old age and heart trouble. So I agreed to take him, sight unseen. When I got there to pick him up, I could see he was not a Shih Tzu but a mix – part Maltese, they told me, and part Shih Tzu. At that point it didn't matter. He was six months old and a very friendly little guy.
Rosemary relaxing with the boys.
A couple years later I lost another girl, Missy/Madam who was fifteen (I got her when she was six months). I heard from somebody that the Humane Society had some Shih Tzus that they were trying to place. I called and said I’d take them. When I picked them up, I got Rosemary and Willy (they had other names but I gave them new ones). Neither looked any more like a Shih Tzu than I do. But I took them home because what could I do? One was a year and the other was a year and a half. That was more than a year ago.
A couple of months ago, a friend told me about an 11-year-old Shih Tzu who had been rescued from a South Carolina kill shelter. He's taken up residence with us now and a sweet addition. I calll him Ray.
Meanwhile, the Bide-a-wee Gala. On May 22nd, more than 400 pet lovers congregated at the Pierre to celebrate our animal companions and the organization’s life-saving efforts. The dog-friendly event, which included cocktails, dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions and awards to those who have made a difference in the lives of pets, raised over $600,000 for animals in need. 
Bideawee Ball host Jeffrey Toobin and Honoree Casey Galishoff.
Many thanks to host, Jeffrey Toobin, the distinguished journalist from the New Yorker; who was emcee. The honorees were: Mary Luria, Louis Vigorito, Casey Galishoff, Devin Shanahan and Joseph Sorbera III; and to John Olsen, Melinda Mora, Hillary Weldon and the entire gala committee. This is our collective efforts to help animals in need, our beloved four-legged companions who give us more than we could ever hope to give back, and to the many lives that will be saved in the days, months and years ahead, because of your support. 
Guy B. Lawrence, Pam Laudenslager, and Kenneth Kraus.
And then a couple of months ago, a friend told me about a shih-tzu out at Animal Rescue Fund in Wainscott.  So I got in touch with Lisa McCarthy who is the current president of the organization, and I acquired another house mate: Ray, an 11-year-old shih-tzu who looks like a shih-tzu, rescued from a kill shelter in South Carolina. He’s a sweetie and gets along famously with his canine brothers and sister.

They light up my days and keep Dave in line about what’s real and what’s not.
Bideawee Ball Honoree Casey Galishoff and family.
Anthony Rubio. Paul Yao with President and CEO Dolores Swirin-Yao.
Todd B. Richter and Henry.
For the Boys & Girls. Last month, Madison Square Boys & Girls Club hosted its celebrated 12th Annual Salute to Style event at The Metropolitan Club. This year's select honorees included Vanessa Noel, luxury shoe designer, hotelier, and gallery owner; Peter Thomas Roth, skin care mogul and jewelry designer; Vhernier Milano, Italian jewelry brand; and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson; Co-Founder of Fitz, GLAMSQUAD, and Gilt. Alex Badia, Fashion Director from Women's Wear Daily, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Raising nearly $100,000 for Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, support from this event provides life-changing programs to young people in New York's most underserved communities.
Joe Patuleia, Alexa Badia, Michelle Leary, Chassidy David, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Vanessa Noel, and Peter Thomas Roth.

Contact DPC here.