Dear Brady Family:
Thank you for the privilege of being included among the scores of family, friends and famous, gathered to pay tribute to Jim on a bright, brisk Saturday morning at the simple and moving service conducted within the splendid St. Ignatius Loyola -- majestic, imposing spires standing proud astride Park Avenue in welcome.
And thank you too, for the rare honor to experience what would surely have been far better ( and more skillfully) described by Jim himself: a genuine “bold face” moment -- as all those emerging from the sanctuary and celebration of this vibrant, caring, generous Irishman and his life well lived, assembled on the theatrically angled steps, in tight formation.
To stand at attention, as a time honored military tradition was performed with exquisite precision by a Marine honor guard -- a final salute to Jim’s service to his country. The cadre of priests, Jim’s cherished brother, Monsignor Tom, front and center, forming a crescent astride the broad expanse of the avenue, to watch over the ceremony; offering a farewell blessing, as a commemorative flag-of-our-fathers was presented to the family.
Avenue traffic -- normally aggressively loud, bustling -- paused. Suspended in serene silence. Brought to a virtual halt, with equal precision, by New York’s finest – the NYPD’s men in blue. There to bear witness, with us all, to a sartorial spectacle.
The sun reached high noon zenith. Solemn rites ended.
For a moment or two, the only sound: the whip-snap of frigid, January winds stealing through the crowd, then quickly charging up concrete canyons of a great city, whose glitterati, media moguls, fashion icons, literati and multi-faceted events Jim had so artfully chronicled.
The self-same city, which, for 80 grand, glorious (and, yes, glamorous) years Jim called home.
I’ll wager that as strong and cold as those citified avenue winds were, they surely could not compare with, measure up to, the bone-numbing power of winds of resistance once faced by an oh, so youthful lieutenant Jim, bravely leading his comrades, as they gallantly charged into the scariest of places, scaling ragged Korean hills through “The Coldest War.”
But I’m convinced, in Jim’s honor, they gave it their best shot.
I offer this personal reflection, with abiding respect and admiration for a man, who, I was indeed fortunate -- in the passing Parade of creative collaboration -- to call mentor, and friend.
Lorraine (Halpert) Baker
New York, NY
(Macy*s 1977-1988; Sony Music Entertainment 1989-2003)