Born July 26, 1923 Montreal Canada
Died December 2, 1979 Hollywood Florida
I would like to take this opportunity to salute and remember my father, David Holt, who died thirty years ago. My dad was a regular guy. He was born in Montreal and grew up in what was then Jewish Outremont, not unlike a character in a Mordecai Richler novel. He met my mom in 1946 and they were married in 1947. When I asked her what was the thing she remembered most about him during that whirlwind courtship, she said, "He was a terrific dancer."
They moved into an apartment and had their first child, my brother Leon, so named after my maternal grandfather who had recently died. A few years later they bought a tiny duplex, and they had me.
In the early years of his marriage, my father struggled to make a living, and he struggled with anxiety. During that difficult period of his life he expressed himself in poetry. Some years later, he shed these problems. He stepped into the sunlight and became the wonderful father I remember. But he was and remained a regular guy. He did not run for office. He did not become a famous celebrity. He did not become fabulously wealthy, nor did he command a great empire.
Dad's time on earth was short. My parents had just sold the family home and moved into an apartment in downtown Montreal for what was to be the beginning of their new life. They were in Florida at their condo when he noticed some unusual bruising on his skin. Admitted to hospital for tests, he died a few days later. They had not even unpacked the carton boxes in the new Montreal apartment.
Gandhi said "My life is my message." David's life was a great message to all of us regular people. He loved his wife and kids. He loved his friends. He conducted his business with honor and integrity. He gave generously - of himself. He was funny. He saw the joke in life. And he used his humor to engage people, to disarm suspicion, and to spread joy. David was genuinely interested in people. He had time for people. And he was in awe of the mysteries of life and death.
It seems my mother's comment was profound: Where life was concerned, he was a terrific dancer.
Without realizing it, my Dad was a creator and purveyor of God's will - of the flow of the Universe. Simply by being himself, he took part in the creation of others. To this day, I can hear his voice mingled in my own at certain times. I can hear his influence in my own expressions, and I acknowledge with gratitude his part in the creation of me.
"This song of mine will wind its music around you,
my child, like the fond arms of love.
The song of mine will touch your forehead
like a kiss of blessing.
When you are alone it will sit by your side and
whisper in your ear, when you are in the crowd
it will fence you about with aloofness.
My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams,
it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown.
It will be like the faithful star overhead
when dark night is over your road.
My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes,
and will carry your sight into the heart of things.
And when my voice is silenced in death,
my song will speak in your living heart."
- Rabindranath Tagore