Michael and I saw Tamara Jenkins' new film, "The Savages," on Saturday night. I had heard it was great, but even if I hadn't the close-to-home storyline was what compelled me to part with $12 that night, arguably the best 12 bucks I've ever
spent had spent on me. In it, brother and sister Jon and Wendy Savage (played by the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney) suddenly find themselves responsible for their long-estranged father, Lenny (Philip Bosco, who also delivers an award-worthy performance), whose dementia has left him unable to care for himself.
Strangely, near the end of his life he was far more lucid than he'd ever been in that first decade I'd been reacquainted with him. Even his doctor noticed the change. Just before he died, Michael and I drove to see him one weekend. It was the first time I'd gone without one of my brothers. Dad never had a hard time remembering Terence, who looks so much like Dad's late twin, Kenny. Going alone I was eager to see if he would recognize me. We pulled up to Resthaven that afternoon and I asked Michael to wait in the hallway so I would have Dad's undivided attention. I nervously entered the room and his face lighted up like a Christmas tree as he screamed out "Hey!" (He may have even called me Terence, but I was so happy he "knew" me that I honestly don't even recall.) I sat there with him alone and we talked and talked and I was so wrapped up in the only father-son moment we'd ever had that I'd forgotten I'd brought company. Suddenly Dad looked up over my shoulder at the doorway and saw Michael -- who could easily pass for one of Dad's strapping blue-eyed Walsh brothers. Dad got quiet then sheepishly whispered in my ear, "Is he related to us?" (Without question the five sweetest words I've ever heard.)