It was eight years ago today, almost to the exact minute as I post this message, when my great father passed away. I’ll never forget that moment. Everything he was, everything he cared for, everything his fans and friends loved, everything we had as friends, everything as father and son, it was all gone. Finality.
Before he died, we spent decades with each other. He would call me numerous times a day. In the years before his passing he even moved just blocks away from my office so we could be closer. He was my rock, my anchor, my buddy. I was his sounding board, and he was mine. We protected each other.
Last week, I was visiting with one of my best friends. He and I grew up together. He mentioned that he was heading out of the country on a trip with his father, for a major event. His father is a well known actor. I’ll leave his name out but you’d know him from television over the years. I said to my friend “become the biggest sponge you can while you can. Once that line is crossed, there’s no going back.” My friend still has both of his parents, yet he understood my point. As we continued to talk, I flashed back over the years when my father and I would travel to various appearances. He would do shows. I was, for lack of a better term, his tour manager. We really had a blast. Like two kids running loose on an airplane, we played together. These times were great, but for my pop it was more than that, it was also the chance to ignite and let loose his unstoppable talents. This was more fun than anything to him. He was soooo good on stage.
I always thought Ernest T. Bass was a pretty smart guy. Crazy, silly, yes, but smart at his core. Why? Because the lines between Howie Morris and his characters would often blur. This was my pops formula to building solid characters.
Even though we were close and spent a ton of time together, looking back, there was still room for more with him. I would give anything to have another hour or two together. I do get brief moments with him in dreams. Suddenly, he’ll just be there. We’ll talk, or he’ll just smile.
Sometimes it’s as though he never died.
Become a sponge with those you love.
Dad, I’ll always love you.