In the 80's we spent a lot of time in New York. It was also before cutout curbs. In fact, most curbs in the city were a huge step up or down. But never once did we approach a curb when a cabdriver, a truck-driver, or another pedestrian didn't come to his rescue. Dozens of times truck-driver's especially would stop their truck jump down from their cabins and bounce him down the curb and up the opposite side!
New Yorkers have long been given a bad rap. Our experiences in New York have always been perfect and exceptional in many ways.
However, there have been many times when Philip was crossed streets he never intended to cross because some good-natured pedestrian wanted to "help" and pushed him across major thoroughfares and boulevards in cities across the nation from Washington, D.C. to Hollywood, California.
Philip never told these good-intentioned folks; he just enjoyed the ride and when they were out of sight he'd make his way back to me. He didn't want to hurt their feelings or dissuade them from helping someone else some other day.
I recall a sweet Spanish elevator driver in NBC's Rockefeller Center building who instead of taking us to our designated 24th floor meeting, instead put his hands on Philip in prayer and took us up to the 44th floor!
After his elevator departed, we took another elevator down to the floor we wanted. When I asked Philip why he didn't say anything he said, "He needed to feel as if he were doing something good" and added, "and it was a nice ride!"
Oh, my sweet, sweet Philip. He was such a sweet man. He used to have a favorite coffee house on a street in our town that is closed to vehicular traffic. He'd sit there for hours starting early in the AM. He loved watching the town wake up and he loved the daily parade. He'd sit, read his newspapers, and hold court with dozens of friends that would show up.
One day he told me about this captivating little girl that would come in to the coffee shop and how much I'd love this little child. He mentioned this child to me several times and always with a smile.
At the time I owned a spa that became very popular among the townspeople. On an occasion shortly after Philip's story of this little girl, I happened to be giving a facial to a new client. As I sat behind her massaging her face, she said to me, "Norma, you know everyone in this town. There's this really handsome man who I see often at the coffee shop. He has blue eyes, a mustache and a great smile -- and he's in a wheelchair."
Now, I'm beginning to smile inwardly, when she asked, "Would you know who he is, I really want to get to know him?" I thought about my answer briefly before I said, "Yes, I know him." "Really", she exclaimed, "Please, who is he?"
"Um, my husband".
She was so embarrassed, but I thought it was adorable. After all, I knew how handsome and charmingly appealing he was to everyone who ever met him. I got a kick out of the fact that she was the mother of the little girl Philip was so enthralled with!
Philip was always generous. He was generous with his kindness, with the time he'd give to another, and the honesty he gave of himself to any one in need. One of his best characteristics was how he actually listened when someone talked to him. It was a trait that endeared him to so many...and to me especially.
He never offered an opinion unless asked and even then he tempered his response. He never hurt anyone's feelings; he always made light of awful situations. He made everyone laugh, always.
"And he loved me more than life itself. I find myself asking, "Does anyone deserve so much happiness in life?" I can answer that now. The answer is a resounding, "Yes".
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