Michael Davis: Don’s A Friend
Don is a friend.
I wrote most of this some time ago but, as with about 20 other articles, told my editors not to run it until a suitable time of my choosing.
The first date I had for this was Christmas. I was going to London at Don’s invitation, but circumstances changed that. I was a bit bummed because Neil Gaiman and I would have hooked up and seen his play together. Rich Johnson had promised to take me to this private club he said I would enjoy. I wasn’t too keen on that until I googled the club. It wasn’t a brothel or a Satan worshiping club. If I told you the name, you’d have second thoughts too.
I then decided the day to run this would be on Father’s Day. Last week I changed my mind, so it’s running today.
I met my friend Don because of a favor. Don wanted to get Comic-Con tickets for some young family members. So, a mutual friend called me. Once I secured the tickets, I told the mutual friend where they could be picked up.
Don called me personally to thank me and asked if there was anything he could do for me. I thought that was nice but told him it wasn’t necessary. I meant that. I’m not a fan of the ‘you wash my back; I’ll wash yours’ way of doing things.
Fast forward, Don and I become friends. I’m at his LA home, and I’m drawn to a painting on the wall. I’m blown away by this work of art. I ask Don if the offer is still open to do something for me. Don says, “Anything.”
“Can I have this painting?” I ask. “Sure. It’s yours!” he answers. Then he realizes the painting I’m talking about.
“Sorry, that one you can’t have.” He says. Before I can go into my stick about keeping your word and how devastated I am, Don says, “My father painted that.”
I don’t know how long Don talked about his dad; it could have been 15 minutes or 12 hours; however long, it wasn’t long enough.
His father was a remarkable man, and hearing Don talk was like hearing a voiceover to a Ken Burns documentary. What struck me wasn’t just Don’s love and respect for his dad but the pride he took in being his father’s son.
I’ve never known my biological father. I thought my stepdad was my real dad. On Christmas Day, I found out he was not. My aunt got mad at him and told me he wasn’t my father. I was 15, just old enough to know that’s gonna hurt more as you get older. It did because I idolized my stepdad.
Listening to Don talk about his dad got me thinking again.
“So, no painting? How about you put in a good word and have your dad adopt me?” Don laughed and said, you can ask him yourself when you meet him.”
Don called me last Friday; his dad passed away.
It seemed surreal.
A moment before Don called, a water pipe had broken in my building; water gushing everywhere; the maintenance crew had just arrived, asking me questions while I was on the phone, I could hardly think.
Turning my back on everything and everyone, I asked Don for his dad’s service details and told him I’d be there regardless of a minor crisis I had to deal with. The line was dead. That often happened when Don and I spoke, but I had no idea how long it had been that way this time.
It occurred to me the massive amount of things Don had to deal with. I left a message but would understand if he couldn’t return my call.
I never met Don’s dad but felt his presence through his son, so I know I will miss him.
Don, my condolences to you and your family, may your dad rest in peace and power.