September 30, 2008


Remembering a great racing fan and man, Paul Newman (Frank Deford, 9/30/08, Sports Illustrated)

One time, years ago, when he was still indisputably the handsomest man in the world, my wife ran across him in a bookstore. All the other women were pretending not to notice, bumping into the aisles. Newman was with one of his daughters. At the checkout counter, he called over to her: "OK, honey, let's go." And, my wife swears, every woman in that store -- including my wife herself, I'm sure -- gave an involuntarily head feint toward the door. It was better than watching a vaudeville sketch.

The last time I saw him was a few months ago. There were already rumors that he was dying. He was never so large as he appeared on the screen, but now, even as he was still in good humor, he looked positively frail. We were at a small concert, and, just by chance, he and Joanne sat right next to me and my wife. When the lights dimmed I happened to glance over, and I saw that, right away, he'd taken his wife's hand. They'd only been married 50 years. He kept holding it all the way through, just like they were teenagers. Lord, but it was so dear.

I reached over and took my wife's hand. There are not many things any of us could do so well as Paul Newman, but, I thought, if you could follow his lead in any way, then you'd be a fool not to.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2008 3:44 PM
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