Lee was tall and thin with short black hair. He was probably in his 50’s. I was maybe 20. He never said much to anybody but he was always friendly enough, at least to me.
When he would come in around nine in the morning, I would notice that his hands were shaking a little bit. After lunch, his hands didn’t shake. I had a feeling when he went out to lunch, he went to a bar instead. Despite being young, I knid of figured this out.
In 1974, just before Thanksgiving, we exchanged names in a “secret Santa” type of thing. Lee got my name.
The day before Christmas, all of us exchanged presents. Lee got me a carton of cigarettes. . At least it was a gift that wouldn’t go to waste.
Shortly after 1975 rolled around, I answered the phone in the office early one morning. This was on a Monday. On the phone was Lee’s wife. Lee had a heart attack over that weekend and he was now dead.
When my boss came in, I told him what had happened. He showed no emotion. He told me to put an ad in the paper for a typewriter repairman. Within a few days, Lee was replaced. It was almost like he was never there.
I haven’t thought of Lee in years. Why the hell I am now, I have no idea. Somebody loved him. When it comes around to this time of year, the holidays, I wonder if his family thinks of him. I’m wondering if they miss him.
(Photo from johncrispernotebook.com)