Jackie Joseph article: “A sweet reunion with my dear pal Doris Day”

December 30, 1999 No Comments

Talk about a Spring Break! I spent the Easter weekend in Carmel having a sweet reunion with my dear pal Doris. Happily, it coincided with her birthday, to which she gives no consequence. “The sun comes up, the sun goes down, the sun comes up, the sun comes down….,” she sings songs. And, if there was ever an example that there is no such thing as “age,” Doris Day effortlessly defies time. Let me cut to the chase. She looks great and feels great. She has eleven dogs, approximately, and kitties too. She loves living in Carmel. She seems to have little interest in returning to Hollywood, or anywhere. Not for work, not for awards. The simple truth is, Doris Day is a gloriously happy person, living the life that she worked diligent decades to afford. She is cheerfully busy with her animals, walking, washing, and feeding (we’ll talk more). She meets friends for long lunches (her main meal), most often at the beautiful Quail Lodge Resort which is down the hill. It’s like her breathtaking back yard. Now, am I fudging, neglecting anything that might be difficult, or overwhelming in Doris Day’s life ? Sure, the mail…….

Doris’ intense respect for her friends and fans compels her to answer mail in a timely fashion. But the staggering amount of letters that have sailed in this year is startling. It looks like the Toluka Lake Post Office in her front room, garage and anywhere important stuff can be stacked. Postal boxes stashed with giant envelopes all stuffed with mail. On a one to one basis, each letter gets smiles, often tears, and always gratitude. She is deeply touched by those who care about her. Often, there are donations to the Doris Day Animal Foundation, and when I was there, many sweet gifts honouring her birthday. All these things require personal response, Yes, she has some help, but her thank you messages are all personally written. After lunch on my first day, I and Bill Glynn, one of Doris’ dear buddies from New York, joined her on mail detail. Daunting. But, like in all life challenges, she will prevail. As problems go, this is a precious one…

I’ve been wanting to send the most heart-felt of letters, thanking Doris for such a wonderful visit. But, dare I inflict her with one more adoring letter to read ? A Weird problem. Perhaps this column will have to do the trick at least until the mail clears… ….

I was a guest at the Cypress Inn, a landmark in Carmel. Doris and her partners created an atmosphere that is elegant and homey. Could it be the sweet presence of pets ? It’s just so pleasant to see guests in the library, or at the cocktail lounge relaxing with their dogs. And it’s so sociable. One just falls into easy and charming conversations with strangers when dogs are by their side. The Cypress Inn is very conducive to making friends. My first night, after settling in, sampling sherry from the lovely decanter in my enchanting room’s little bar-let, soaking in the whirlpool-jet tub, and resting by the fireplace (that works by thermostat), I felt like royalty. When Doris called, I said “this is the Queen of Carmel !” That’s how I felt. If you want to check it out, the 800 number is +1 (800) 443-7443. There is a two pet maximum, but you can go without one if you want to.

Doris has a larger pet maximum in her house. She shopped carefully to find just the right spot for the home and the lifestyle she wanted. Besides spacious, comfy, light and airy living quarters, there’s a special area with a kitchen, surrounded by built in doggie beds and cribs for the tiny and the infirm. At feeding time, Doris puts on a long bib like apron that hangs front and back, sits on a tall stool in the center island and mixes up special diets for each of her loving dogs. They have little rugs sprinkled about the room where they loll and wait their turn. It’s so precious, it’s hard not to grin to pieces…

Article © Jackie Joseph
First published in the Tolucan Times in 1999

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