Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Paul Newman Encounter

Ya know, about a year ago I was thinking about people who are sorts of legends, who happened to be alive @ that time. I was trying to think of people from all walks of life, ya know, every occupation and claim to fame. When I tried to think of Celebrities, I could only think of two or so, and one of them was Paul Newman. And then I thought how, yeah, maybe he was a movie star and all... and that was his launching pad, his day job so to speak, but this guy is so much more, due to his creation of the Hole in the Wall organization. I was listening to BBC the night he died and the Emails from people all over the world speaking about what he did for their children, sending them to spend a week in an Irish castle with other ill children and so many more examples.
In 1989 as I was working at the Russian Tea Room, the owner decided to use the less oft used second floor and create a Cabaret space. We had great acts, not that i was familiar with any of them at the time, but the small room was capacity for each of the two shows they performed. It was a great gig for us waiters because it was, get em' in, get em' out, make a lot of cash.
Anyway, one Sunday we were to have one of Paul & Joann's daughters playing. I honestly can not remember which one she was, anyhow. They had reserved a table in the front, a banquette seating 11 or so people. I was their waiter. I was never an ass kisser with celebs and this time was no different. Paul and JoAnn had to work the room but I kept him happy with some beers and I would always catch his eye (how could you not-those eyes) as he was across the room making nice for the benefit of his daughter. I watched as she performed and the look on both of her parents faces was of beaming pride. I was jealous of her (I think it was Melissa). He looked filled with pride. When the room was clearing out he told me he was not going anywhere and do not bring the bill to anyone but him. I think the total was like 600 bucks or so and he left me like 1/2 of that as a tip. A very cool and classy guy.
I still have the credit card copy of the tip and the autograph. Once I get my own PC and I can upload a pix (I can't on the library PC), I will update this.
I watched Letterman's tribute to Paul Newman last night and involuntarily, tears rolled down my face, as did the other night while listening to BBC World.
This is what a legend is.

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