Remember the movie “Zelig?” This omnipresent character from the Woody Allen film was one of those persons that showed up everywhere….Good moments, bad times….always there…Right in the middle.
Permit me to introduce my friend Michael. Friends from the shining star days of the 70’s, through my abyss of the 90’s, to today. On and off the court—before, after, and in between life cycle events. Through decades of noxious Saturday morning breakfasts at a stale deli. When I wanted to smile, and when I wanted to hide. Always.
I used to joke that he only called me with bad news. Fact is he has been so wired to the Jewish community and the world at large that some still think he gets news alerts texted from G/d. (Flashback to his middle child’s Landerhaven wedding when across the dinner table David and I, with straight faces, advised his new machatonim that MJ served on the Warren Commission. Further, we asserted, if Michael chose to violate confidences he could indeed reveal who’d conspired with Lee Harvey Oswald that November Friday in 1963).
Truth be known, it has just been that Michael always cared about me enough to assure that even in my darkest times….even when my own mistakes had forced me from the world I’d lived in —even then he knew I needed to “be a part of.”
For years he was my primary link to the life I had left. Michael and Lana loved me when I was unlovable.
In the mid-80’s as my world was invisibly shrinking, my dad died in Columbus. There was Michael up in Cleveland directing traffic in Franklin County.
A quarter of a century later my Mom has passed.
There front and center are Michael and Lana—coordinating, comforting.
(“Bogie, you have to wear a winter coat to the funeral!”)
(“Bruce, your friends will send food in; please call Margie, please!”)
(“Bogie, do your kids need rides from the airport?”)
I have been blessed with a myriad of loyal, lifetime friends. Bobby, Stuart, Alan, Walt,  Arthur, Randy, Mark and more have been there from the Glory Days at Bayard and Wrenford. To this day. These childhood friends that remain throughout a lifetime, are priceless.
Making friends as adults is not always as special.
Unless G/d puts Michael in your path.
In the next month I will have plenty time to look through the old photos of my Mom …from the 50’s and 60’s….from my childhood. It strikes me now that as I wipe the dust from the black and whites I should look a little closer at the pictures. Somewhere in the backgrounds, smile lurking, I may just see Michael.
Thank you, Zelig.

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