Roz took my order, but not before asking AGAIN how New York was. (Hadn’t we had this conversation just yesterday? Did she think it changed?) “Great,” I repeated as my phone rang.

“Hello Bruce, “came the voice. “I thought you would call me about the weekend.”
“New York was phenomenal,” I reported.

It’s hard to speak of Max these days. Sometimes I feel like the late-night talk host that introduces each guest as “the lovely, the talented…” It’s difficult, though, not to dwell in superlatives. No, impossible.  I love that kid so much.

“What did you guys do?” she asked. (Fact was we did nothing special. When I’m with the right people, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts).

I wonder if Max knows the power he has. He sits there, focus of everyone, and whether he smiles, sighs or sleeps, we drool. Surrounded by attention, his bills all paid, he’s got (as Ben Selzer would say, “The world by the kalooms.”)

     “I can see a new expression on my face
     I can feel a strange sensation taking place
     I can hear the guitars playing lovely tunes
     Every time that you are in the room.”

OK, I’m a pushover. When the kid’s around even dirty diapers are fun and games

Heading upstate Saturday, Michael noted the next exit was Ossining, home to Don Draper. “Could we drive through there on the way back?” I asked, (unwittingly opening the door). Does Michael bust anyone’s chops but mine?

“Dad, did you really think they filmed it there?”
“Yes, Michael…–“
“And I suppose they filmed ‘Seinfeld’ in Manhattan?” he chided.
“Actually,” I told him, “I figured the outdoor scenes, yes.”
(He was still laughing, muttering something about a soundstage or studio as Max yawned).

Time was that Michael’s teasing made me insecure. Those days are gone. Our rapport today is cemented by a profound sense of family.  (Max, FYI, slept through it all).

Returning to Great Neck, I was exhausted from the fun of it all, the simplicity of it all. Could there be a greater joy than sitting in the backseat right next to The Prince?

It was a weekend replete with love.

As nights fall, SOP at Chez Bogart mandates quiet for Max and whatever adults be present retreat to the bedroom. Meredith cradles a black-and-white video monitor but all eyes see the baby in color.

“What do you think of your grandson?” asked Caryn. (My smile was my answer).
“That’s some kid you got there,” urged Stuart.

     “I can feel that something pounding in my brain
     Just anytime that someone speaks your name…”

It was family night at the compound. Five of us sat on and around the bed, laughing, cajoling, much like kids in a dorm room. Indeed, there was a collegiality to it that just cannot be manufactured.

Sunday Michael played ball. He was, I sensed, in the twilight of a great career. Not unlike his father, he was playing out the string still getting his hits, but surrounded by teammates that hit puberty long after Michael’d hit his prime. (He’d have started for Sol’s Boys, I thought as they swept the double-header).

Food followed, of course, at the Great Neck Diner.

”Where’s the baby?” they greeted us. I beamed as Michael brought the buggy. We were in a hurry for breakfast—lunch was approaching!

It was an afternoon of further warmth. Mothers Day, Casa de Miller…a family affair:  women in one room kvelling over the Max—men in another kvetching of the Yanks. Jeter, alas, was having a good day and Brother Matt felt vindicated. (Fools gold, thought I. My son’s career has more future).

Day’s end was approaching—the highlight yet to come. Rejoining the women, I found them feeding The Prince. Politely, I hung around.

“Do you want to feed him?” they asked in unison. My smile, again, was my answer.

Spoon in right hand, I eased toward his mouth. In an instant no less momentous than Moses parting the Red Sea…it opened! Not a clean shot, I’ll admit. Most of the rice, though, wet, sloppy as it was…found his gums.

One time was enough, (I figured), handing the spoon to the lady in the on-deck circle.  I was on the board having fed my boy. Dayenu!

I looked at the kid…and smiled. Soon I’d be returning to Cleveland. 

I packed my bags that night enriched not only by the weekend, but by the firm belief that I too, had the world by the kalooms.

     “…Everytime that you are in the room.”

                                      Jackie DeShannon

One Response to “AS GOOD AS IT GETS”

  1. Jackie DeShannon says:


    Very touching blog. You, indeed, have a lot to be proud of.

    BUT, one thing I must address is the fact that you misquoted my lyrics to “When you WALK in the Room”. I understand the Max is not yet literally walking. But given the choice of misquoting me or taking poetic license with the actual lyric (but still quoting it correctly), I believe you errored in your judgment.

    Nonetheless, I will keep reading your commentaries.

    (FYI, It is interesting that you refused to publish your Aunt’s reply to your last posting. I understand she was quite upset.)

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