Blog: My Friend Charlie

I ask you, my reader, to please indulge me while I use this blog to take care of a personal item. My dear friend Charlie Stolar is turning 70, and if I write something really nice about him, I won’t have to take him out to an expensive restaurant. You can see I am a man of the highest moral character.

Charlie and I met roughly 35 years ago while we were walking our dogs, both of whom have long retired into doggie heaven. We have remained fast friends ever since. (I have no idea what a slow friend is.)

As fate would have it, Charlie and I lived just a block away from each other back in the “old country,” and, coincidentally, we both moved to the West Coast at about the same time. He and his better half Carol live up in Santa Barbara, and you know where I live.

Charlie will be 70 this weekend and is hosting a grand party to celebrate. Unfortunately, I will not be there. I had previously agreed to attend an important function in Malibu, and as the Yiddish expression so aptly puts it, “You can’t dance at two weddings with one behind.”

This is not the first time I have been unable to attend a most important event for Charlie. Around 18 months ago, Charlie’s son Jacob was getting married in New York City. My bride and I had travelled back East to attend Jacob’s wedding, and that is when my brother Phil decided to fall down a flight of stairs and went into a coma. Fate works in mysterious ways!

Charlie is an exceptional human being—a veritable Renaissance man. He is a gourmet cook, a lover of the crushed grape with a sophisticated palate, a clarinetist and lover of classical music, an avid reader, and one of the world’s leading pediatric surgeons.

Previously the surgeon-in-chief and chief of the division of pediatric surgery at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian (a mouthful more than a title), Charlie pioneered work with the heart/lung machine for newborn infants, and there are literally hundreds of people alive today because of Dr. Charles Stolar. Not many of us can say that about our work.

By the way, he does not need your business, but if—God forbid—your child or grandchild needs surgery, you can’t do better than Charlie.

The funny thing is that if Charlie couldn’t fry an egg or didn’t know a Chateau Lafite Rothschild wine from Manischewitz, or never saved a baby, I would still love Charlie. He cares about other people, is a most loyal friend and has a heart of gold. But no, he does not have a better sense of humor than I do, even if that’s what he thinks.

And so thank you reader for bearing with me. My bride still insists we take Charlie and Carol out for dinner, which we will gladly do.  My bride always keeps me on the straight and narrow.

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