I only met Floyd Westerman once, at Max Gail‘s house in Malibu. I didn’t know at the time that Floyd was a celebrity. Actually, I’m not sure if Floyd was a celebrity or not. I figure a celebrity is somebody whose name I know or whose face is instantly recognizable to me. Floyd’s wasn’t, even though I’d seen him in perhaps dozens of movies, usually playing either an Indian or the Indian. He was in The Doors, Dances With Wolves, Northern Exposure and L.A. Law, to name two examples each from the big and small screen. In fact, I didn’t know, until I read his obituary in the Boston Globe today, that he was also a singer, songwriter and musician who had also performed with Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson and Don Henley, among many others.
Mostly I remember him as a thoroughly good man who helped guide me through a tough patch in my life
He and some friends, including Max, were holding a sweat in a small dome lodge at Max’s house. I had never participated in a sweat before, and wasn’t eager to this time, since it combined my only two phobias: claustro and extreme heat. Sticking it out was very hard so hard that I had to leave for awhile. But Floyd invited me back for a final round of hot rocks and steam, and to talk about what was in my heart.
I did, and Floyd’s guidance in response was warm, humane and deeply helpful. It truly turned me around and I’ll always appreciate it.
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