My connection and friendship with Michael Palmer dates back twenty years ... to when my family members were injured in a boating explosion at the Charles River Yacht Club. My grandmother spent six months at Mass Massachusetts General Hospital recovering from her injuries. I was living in Beacon Hill and working down town as a paralegal at the time. I visited my grandmother every morning before work, during every lunch hour, and again every night. I did this because I wanted to be by her side, and also, because she refused to eat unless I was present. Because she would dose off quite a bit during our visits, I often brought a book along to keep myself occupied. On a day when I had either finished a book or forgotten the one I was reading at the time, I visited the hospital's lobby shop in search of a new one. 'Extreme Measures' jumped out at me. Was it the title ... the cover ... the description? I thought mostly the genre. I began reading 'Extreme Measures' in my grandmother's room while she slept, until one day when she suprised me. I paused at the end of a chapter and the woman who I believed was sleeping said "Don't stop there; keep reading." This meant two things; Grandma had ecome a Michael Palmer fan; and, most importantly, she was getting better. After 'Extreme Measures', Grandma sent me on a mission ... to find all other books written by Michael. My journey began in the same lobby store where Michael just happened to be signing books at the time. The line was long and Grandma was waiting, so I slipped inside the store. There, I found no more books ... they were all out front at Michael's table. Knowing Grandma would soon have lunch, I headed back to her room. As I was leaving the hospital to return to work, a gigantic man approached me. It was Michael. He asked me what I thought of the crowd which had formed for the signing. I told him how impressed I was and how sorry I was that I couldn't stay. I explained my situation and told Michael I needed to hurry back to work. He was pleased to hear about Grandma being a fan and, before I scurried off, he offered to sign the copy of 'Extreme Measures' I had in my bag. "What is your grandmother's name?" he asked. After Michael addressed the book to my grandmother, I thanked him and raced back to work. I could not wait to tell Grandma over a luke warm hospital dinner that evening that I had met the author of the book; that he had even signed the book. When I arrived at the hospital that night and entered Grandma's room, I realized she had company. That company was actually feeding her dinner. That company was Michael.
Imagine; such a busy man taking the time to stay in town an extra few hours to visit someone he had never before met. Imagine; a large stranger getting my grandmother to eat for him. Imagine; this same person bringing signed copies of books he had written at the time to my grandmother. Imagine; this man who didn't live nearby ultimately visiting my grandmother on a regular basis and becoming involved in her complex medical issues. Imagine; this man staying the course until Grandma's discharge, and visiting her at her home or calling as often as he could, for the next seven years, until she died. At that time, I realized it was fate which caused me to pick up 'Extreme Measures' that day in the lobby shop. It brought Michael into our lives. He greatly enhanced the quality of my grandmother's remaining time here, on earth. Michael remained a close and loyal friend to me, and a mentor in my own writing until the end.
I'm sure you all CAN imagine these random acts of kindness having occurred ... because we are, after all, talking about Michael.