My fondest childhood memory was my father taking me to see the Chairman in concert. I grew up on the Rat Pack, could perform their Sand's routine as if I were the sixth member of Pack. Screw Shirley McClaine, it was me damn it!
Anyway, after the concert my father took me out to dinner at our favorite restaurant in Syracuse - Grimaldi's. Now why I didn't think that Mr. Sinatra would be there was beyond me because every celebrity who came to town ALWAYS dined their in Freddy's (the owner) private dining room. Well Freddy was an old friend of my grandfather and my dad, and he asked me if I might like to say hello to Mr. S. My jaw fell into my penne and I said FUCK YES! Got slapped for that, but I got to meet him.
So we are going to the private room and Freddy stops me and explains the ground rules. Basically say hello, shake his hand if offered and always address him as Mr. Sinatra. No problem, I can remember that. Last rule, do not compliment him on anything. Couldn't figure out why, but agreed.
We walk in, Mr. Grimaldi introduces me and I say it is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Sinatra. Freddy tells Mr. S. I just saw his show and Mr. S. asks me if I enjoyed it? I told him I couldn't answer. He laughed and asked me, why is that kid? I told him Mr. Grimaldi said I wasn't supposed to compliment him. He looked kind of confused and laughed again.
I'm getting ready to say goodbye and he says by the way kid, nice tie. I smiled and said thank you Mr. Sinatra, that's a nice tie you have too. I turned around to leave and he says hold up kid and hands me his tie. I tell him I can't take it and he tells me go on, I have another dozen back at the hotel just like it! I tell him I couldn't possibly, that it must have cost a lot of money. Stupid kid, it probably did, but this is a guy who used to tip everybody in the restaurant from waiter to busboy to dishwasher a $100 before he left.
That is when I learned one of life's great lessons, and the important part of this story. Mr. Sinatra looked at me and said, "Kid, the day I can't give away something I have, I don't own it, it owns me."
So that is one of my most defining moments. Learned a lot about possessions and character that day. Too bad I lost the tie years ago in a move [:(]. Still, I have that memory. Having said that, don't think by complimenting my weapons you stand a chance... My guns definitely own me. That is why he was the Chairman, and I am but one of his biggest fans.
BTW, the Tender Trap is on Turner Classic Movies as we speak. God bless you Mr. S. Hope you and Dean and Sammy are having a little ringading. Until we meet again...