A SIMPLE HUG

I have a dear friend. She lives in London. We chat via email, on and off, at times. Her work keeps her busy traveling about, but rarely to the States anymore. We met, so many years ago, on my very first barbecue. That is what we old timers call the first movie we ever worked on: Our first BBQ. My first BBQ  was cooking for Mike Myers on the film: So I Married An Axe Murderer. It was Mike’s first film after his success with Wayne’s World. I will say that I enjoyed working for Mike. I found him to be intensely brilliant and FAF! Even his spit gags made me . . . well . . . spit gag.

He, his assistant Fred, his girlfriend, and I ended up spending the better part of the movie packed inside a 30 foot travel trailer. I would cook and in between scenes I would feed them all lunch. I mostly had the trailer to myself to prepare, cook and clean up. Cooking for Mike was such a novelty at the time that People magazine wanted to interview me. I remember that Casey, one of the producers who rarely ever spoke with me, approached me anxiously one day to inform me that I was like a health care professional and what I was doing for Mike was privileged information. It was a weak argument on his part. I mean he was a nice enough man, but his point, however protective of Mike, I found un-compelling. I pondered. If I did an interview, I might just make a career out of being a private chef, I thought to myself. Never-the-less, I did respect Mike’s privacy and never said a word about how much he loved my chicken. (Oops!)

Now I will share that I was making decent money as Mike’s personal chef. The work was easy, maybe too easy. My career, as a chef, would have been better served had I chosen to find a position in a proper kitchen. As it turned out, the Production Coordinator for the movie had gotten ahold of my Nutrition Instructor at the Culinary Academy and she, my instructor, in turn reached out to ask if I was working yet. As it turned out, I had just returned the week before from a month long trip to Europe with my dear friend DV. My friendship with DV helped fuel my love for cooking. DV and I would, on a semi-weekly basis, get together and roast chickens and invent new Pilaf recipes, all the while pounding good, cheap red wine and beer that we had purchased from the local White Horse Liquor Store. (Can anyone tell me why The White Horse is such a popular liquor store name?) So, naturally, when I finally graduated from the CCA, DV became my favored choice for travel companion. We flew into Switzerland, rented the world’s smallest car and made our way along the backroads of Europe.

So on the day, my former Chef Instructor and I went down to the movie set and met with the Line Producer Bernie. It was awkward and took an entirety of 3 minutes. Our credentials spoke volumes, so my first real job as a cook, was in Hollywood, filming in San Francisco. Bernie was the boss, but I reported to the lovely Miss M. Now I have never been known for my subtlety and this was never more obvious then when I first met Miss M. Not only is she still one of the most attractive women that I have ever met, but in the years that followed I have found her to be intelligent, sensitive, super funny and kind. Mostly kind. Some years back there came out a movie entitled: She’s Out Of My League. I could only ever watch it once because the story stung so.  Emotionally it was the nearest parallel to our relationship. Me awkward, she, truly lovely.

Our friendship continues today, Miss M and me. I will tell you all honestly, that she is the very reason that I write.  Over the years I have sent her small pieces and she never, ever, responded with any criticism what-so-ever. She would always say, “I liked it. It was good. Keep writing.” Every now and again, while she lived in LA, I would fly down to visit friends and she and I would make plans to meet for dinner. Mostly we dished gossip about producers and celebrities. We would consume copious amounts of wine, and platefuls of amazing food. (How she keeps her figure, I will never know.) When leaving the restaurant we always hugged goodbye. Whenever we hug I always ask if we can linger for just a moment longer knowing that it will be months, maybe years before we see each other again.

I will tell you all that the hardest part for me, during this time of social distancing, is that I miss hugging. I miss that simple connection that physical touch gives. I miss reassuring my friends, this way, when times are tough. I miss being reassured. I look forward to the day when, in the summer sun, I can hug my friends again. I look forward to the next time I meet Miss M. To when we share a lovely bottle of Claret and some insanely expensive meal of epic quality. To when I hug her goodbye, and linger, until that certain sadness comes when the hug finally ends. Never knowing if there will be another.

Thank you for always being kind Miss M; for listening to me run on about my latest . . . whatever; for hugging me that extra moment; and for never, ever discouraging me with regards to my writing.

Until tomorrow,

Tommy Judt

One Reply to “A SIMPLE HUG”

  1. A very wise woman once told me, “To just say thank you.” Thank you for this, your always wonder snd goodness, insight and forever friendship. Keep writing.

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