When I Shoved My Pinkie Up Florence Henderson’s Nose

Everyone is writing the most glowing, loving and funny tributes to the now late, dear Florence Henderson. It’s what she inspired; love, fun, joy, and admiration. Florence was truly a “gamer”, a “good sport”, and she proved that a woman could be sexy and alluring at eighty two years old. Here is my most fun memory of us together:

In the nineteen seventies, one day Florence Henderson and I were two of several guests on the “Mike Douglas Show”. She was a gorgeous, petite woman, and was so encouraging to a new comic; me. At the end of the show, they had us all come out, sit on bar stools, and sing a closing number together. Being a silly comic, I spread my arms wide for the last note. With that, my pinkie went up Florence’s nose, and I knocked her backward off the bar stool. Needless to say, the mortification was unbearable to me. I thought I was done for. The show ended, Florence got up laughing hysterically. Not only wasn’t she upset, she spent the next half hour reassuring ME. And then we went our separate ways, after I apologized for sixteen hours.

Several years later, I was to entertain at an industry event, and I knew Florence was going to be there. I hadn’t seen her in a few years, and I kept hoping against hope that she wouldn’t remember what had happened. Suddenly, there she was. Florence Henderson: beautiful, dressed to kill, perfect, stunning, gorgeous, regal, surrounded by beautiful people. She saw me, she came toward me, and in front of all her admirers, stuck her own pinkie up her nose and, laughing heartily, said to me, “Remember? Remember? Hahahahahah!!” While everyone around her stood there gaping, we laughed until we cried. And that became our greeting every time we saw each other for the rest of her life.

May this wonderful human being, who spent her life making the lives of others better, who understood the insecurity and the humanity in all of us and who strove to honor it, who always saw the positive, now rest in peace.

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