It's not nice.
I know I should let it go.
All the same, my stomach clinched when my dentist recently mentioned attending his Class Reunion -- in Viet Nam.
... which prompted a bout of self-examination: Am I becoming like the fellow we dubbed "Sergeant Major"?
Ted never tried to cloak his feelings about foreign automobiles - anything, actually, made in Japan.
Nearly a caricature, Ted came into my 1980's work-life when "the Franks" (sales managers) thought it a lark to hire a senior citizen to sell airtime.
Subtle as a sledgehammer. I recall Ted standing erect before the workspaces: In a booming baritone, "A.E.'s, police your cubicles!"
If he was aware of the banter surrounding his place in what was admittedly a cut-throat business, Ted never let on. Delighted to be a part of the team, he just smiled.
And talk? Oh my goodness!
You know that saying about someone chatting up a fence post? At my secretarial desk, I was usually the one stuck listening to Ted's tall tales.
Unfortunate, but not a year later - shortly after the station was sold - 'old Ted' was encouraged to share his stories on another stage.
For a while there, someone or another would accept his invitation to dinner. Then --- there's no getting around it -- it came my turn.
I remember feeling claustrophobic in Ted's tiny, dark apartment, surrounded by all sorts of military memorabilia ... all of which held NO interest. The starched table linen and weighty silverware were impressive, but it was his genteel manner and obvious delight at having company that touched me.
Not long after, the Franks and several A.E.s found themselves at odds with new owners/management and took their leave to other stations ... other cities. Pretty soon I did the same. Caught up in a personal drama, I pretty much forgot about Sergeant Major.
A few years back I asked my BH if she ever saw Ted around town.
"Oh Myra, Ted died."
In part, the obituary read --
"..... was a decorated veteran of World War II, serving in the United States Marine Corps. Dad was a member of the historic Edson's Raiders, First Marine Battalion, who fought numerous heroic battles throughout the South Pacific, including legendary Guadalcanal."
It went on to say he enjoyed writing. I can't help but think, Ted would have loved blogging.
He just wanted someone to listen.
RIP Sergeant Major
Hugs from Phoenix,