It was the worst Christmas of my life. My 21-year-old son and I had
quarreled and were estranged for the first time.
A few days earlier, I had called him seeking a reconciliation,
but it was no use. I woke up Christmas morning feeling distraught.
After breakfast, I left my Manhattan apartment and walked in the
bitter cold to the corner of Lexington Avenue and 86th Street.
A man in tattered clothes stood shivering in front of a coffee
shop. I approached him and asked what I could do. He asked me for a
dollar so he could have coffee. I gave him quite a bit more than
that. He began to cry and thanked me repeatedly.
I went home feeling somewhat better. I knew I had only helped
the man for perhaps a few hours, but thinking about his situation
helped to put mine in perspective.
My son and I remained estranged for some months. One evening a
radio station for which I did some work invited me to a party at a
nightclub in the theater district.
The place was dark and crowded. I went to the bar and ordered a
glass of wine. I chatted with some people. Waiters were moving
about the room offering canapes on trays. As I reached for
something to eat, the waiter carrying the tray said, "Hi, Dad." My
son, who had been working in catering jobs, had been hired for the
party. He agreed to have dinner with me when the party ended. We
went out, talked things over and were reconciled.
That happened more than 10 years ago. We have never let it
In the ensuing years, we have been very close. He has been my
traveling companion on a number of occasions. We have enjoyed South
Beach together. He has come with me to California and joined me at
some travel conventions in the Caribbean.
This holiday, he and his younger brother and sister will be with
me, and we will exchange many gifts and much love.
I haven't forgotten the Christmas I spent without him. And I
haven't forgotten the man standing in the cold on Christmas morning
who cried because a stranger gave him more than he expected or the
evening, when my son and I unexpectedly met and worked out our
Whatever else happens in my business or personal life, I will
remember these moments and, so long as my family is together and in
good health, I will count myself the most fortunate of men.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and happy
holiday season. And as we head toward the final year of the
century, let me add my wishes for a healthy and happy 1999.