Posts Tagged ‘grateful people’

No Complaints

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

I’m Maurice Duke’s daughter, remember me? I said that a lot growing up. Still do. Just said it a lot at a memorial I crashed for one of my dad’s friends. The only time in my entire life that I asked someone if he knew my father and he said no was when I was a teenager eating lunch at Nate n’ Al’s deli in Beverly Hills. The person who said no was Johnny Carson. And I spent the rest of that lunch not believing his answer. Because my dad knew so many people, there was an illusion that he was much more famous than he really was. I actually didn’t and don’t care if he was famous; he was my idol just based on how wildly unique he was.

I can never celebrate my father enough. In our family, my dad’s birthday is a national holiday. We tend to celebrate him every day, so on his birthday, we step it up a notch. Last year, October 27’th, would have been his 100th birthday. I invited a lot of my friends — and what friends of his were still alive — and I screened a movie I made about him.

I should be ashamed to say, greatest night of my life!!! I gave birth three times. What gets me off the hook here is that the births were during the operative word, day. Technically, I might have been married in the early evening, but let’s just say late afternoon so I can keep saying the screening was the greatest night of my life. You know, without hurting anyone’s feelings.

My father never hurt anyone’s feelings on purpose. He was, however, blunt and outspoken to the point of being shocking. He used the C-word as if it were a term of endearment. When he used the word cooze, that’s when we knew the person he was talking about was a real c-u-n-t. A bathroom he always called a terlet. He moved to California from New York in the 40’s, yet a toilet was a terlet until the day he died in 1996.

Speaking of terlets, he often didn’t get up to use one. I cringe when I think of it, I didn’t speak of it in the movie I made, though others I interviewed did (I cut it) — but my dad used what he called a pish bottle. Shamelessly. He kept it sitting right there next to him all day long. Oy. And my brother and I had the nasty job of emptying the pish bottle. You see, my dad was handicapped, in case you haven’t been following my blog. He had polio and throughout his life he was saddled with a leg brace and a cane. It wasn’t always easy for him to get around so he ordered us around instead. We would bring him, fetch him, do for him. And we loved every second of it.

My dad woke up every morning of his life singing. He was happy to be here, always. We all strive to maintain being grateful. Everyone is always reminding themselves and others, be grateful. This was his natural state. Eternal gratefulness. Happy to have been given a blessed life. But we were the blessed ones. The ones who got to be around him and loved by him. (more…)