Monday, December 13, 2004

Jacoby on Brudnoy: Death of a Gallant Man

Shortly after our post on David Brudnoy, we received a very kind acknowledgement from Marc Marc Comtois at The Ocean State Blogger. Today, Town Hall posted a piece by Boston Herald columnist Jeff Jacoby on his relationship with Brudnoy over the years. It is a very fine piece, and you can read the whole thing here.

Here are some excerpts:

In the spring of 1983, about a year after we'd first met, David Brudnoy took me to lunch. Most of what we spoke about that day, I have long since forgotten. But two things he said still stick in my mind.

One was a comment about wine, a topic about which I knew -- and still know -- next to nothing. Most white wines are drinkable, Brudnoy told me, but rarely do you encounter a *great* white wine. The really spectacular wines, he went on, are almost always red -- but, alas, most red wines are dreadful...

...Yes, ideology mattered.

But friendship mattered more. And what a talent he had for it! Brudnoy's pals were legion -- young and old, white and black, gay and straight, Republican and Democrat. I don't know how I came to deserve membership in that fraternity, but I know I didn't earn it for my politics....

...So many things delighted him, not least of which was his own sense of humor. In 2001 I wrote a column marking Brudnoy's 25th anniversary as a Boston talk show host, and he merrily shared it with his e-mail list.

"So Jeff couldn't think of anything nice to say about me?" the covering message read. "After all I've done for him -- officiated at his wedding, circumcised Caleb, took him to his first all-nude gay revival, taught him Tokugawa-era classical Japanese haiku, washed his car every Saturday, took him shopping in Milan for Gucci suits, got him into Skull and Bones -- and still he can't say a kind word about me. Jeez!"

Actually, the Milan reference was accurate. We really did travel there some years ago, and spent a week exploring northern Italy by car. One day, driving our rented Fiat from Bergamo back to Milan, we talked at length about religion -- in particular, about the afterlife that he doubted was real.

"Just wait," I told him. "One of these days you'll find out it's as real as Milan. And what will you do then?"

That day came far sooner than any of us wanted, but there can't be much doubt about what David Brudnoy is doing now. He is making friends, stimulating conversation, spreading cheer -- and doing it all with the gallantry and grace that none of us who knew him is ever going to forget.

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