One of her favorite friends is Joe E. Lewis, the comedian, who likes horse racing almost more than she does. In the days when Lewis used to arrange to play an engagement at Saratoga during the racing season, Mrs. Payson hardly ever missed a night at his show, and she can still recite many of his routines by heart. One of them about "Linda at the two-dolla winda" is among her favorites, since it kids their mutual hobby.
Mrs. Payson first took an interest in Joe E. Lewis' act because, in her characteristic fashion, she thought it was something her children would enjoy. "Some friends took me to the Versailles to hear him," she recalls, "and I thought it was one of the cleanest and funniest shows I'd ever seen in my life. So the next night I took the children to see him, and we got a terrible shock. He was altogether different, and not exactly what you might pick for children. But of course he was terribly funny. It turned out that the first time I had heard him some friends of his had brought their child to the dinner show, and he had dug up every clean routine he knew just for that one time."
The late Jack White, who used to run a small Manhattan nightclub without benefit of oxygen, was another of Mrs. Payson's favorites. White, like Mrs. Payson, had been a fanatical Giant fan, and whenever the team lost he would drape his saloon in mourning crape. "He was wonderful," Mrs. Payson sighs as she thinks back on the days when the irreverent comedian used to insult, badger and humiliate the entire clientele at his Club 18. "I used to love to go there. And I'll never forget how he and all his friends like Jackie Gleason and those others would sit there sunning themselves in the afternoon at the Polo Grounds."
Mrs. Payson's life—a relaxed blend of family, sports, philanthropy and friends—is, to her, as normal as blueberry pie and stock splits. "I don't know what in the world you would ever write about me," she said with complete sincerity to an interviewer not long ago. "I don't do anything interesting."