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Mel Torme

Mel Torme

Many years ago General Electric hired me to speak at a sales conference at the Terra Verde Resort in Florida. In the fifties it was a balmy getaway for guests such as Frank Sinatra, Phyllis Diller and Liberace. Guy Lombardo was a frequent entertainer. My arrival was years late,r still of my favorite singer at the time I visited was Mel Torme and when I arrived I noted that Mr. Torme was performing at the club that weekend. When I awoke I called the phone operator there and identified myself and asked if there was some way I might talk with Mel Torme. I told her I would be in the restaurant for breakfast.

I had just finished eating and was about to leave when a waitress made this announcement. “Does one of you have a call in for Mr. Torme?” I jumped up excitedly and identified myself and another gentlemen did the same thing. Since I got there first the other gent nodded for me to go ahead and I picked up the phone and identified myself and Mel said, “Are you the gun collector?” I said “No,” and asked the other man if he was a gun collector and he said “Yes.” Well I stood there while they talked a while and evidently the man invited Mel to visit his home and look at his gun collection. Then he said to Mel, “What about this other fellow?” And Mel evidently said, “Bring him along if you want to.”

I remained quiet most of the time while they talked guns. When I got back from Korea in 1953 I had lost my interest guns. Later I noticed that Mel was wearing a heavy I.D. bracelet on his left wrist and I asked him about it. “Oh,” he said, that belonged to my friend Buddy Rich, the drummer. A few of us guys have a crazy practice that whenever we see one another wearing something we like we can claim it is ours and if asked we have to turn it over. Buddy’s left hand is a little weaker than his right and so for balance he wears this bracelet when he plays drums. I figured he had a half a dozen of them so I claimed it as mine and now I treasure it.”

It sounded like a great idea to me. Sometimes, I guess, some of us get too attached to our “stuff” and while I have never tried this idea out with friends I like the concept. Besides, about the only thing I ever wear is my wedding ring and nobody is ever going to claim that off my finger… no way!

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