Saturday, December 31, 2011

dinner with "The Big E" (m)

"E" could be the most colorful person I've ever met.  I loved working with him.  He was in charge of External Relations and was extremely competent at his job and fun to be around.  Perfect combination.  Larger than life in physical stature (topped out over 300 pounds) and personality.

Once our company was taken over, we all went in different directions.  While I definitely miss the intellectual stimulation of the work itself, I miss the people more.  E would be at the top of the list.

Each year, I hosted a gathering at my home of my favorite people from work.  It was just a handful of people and we laughed and ate and gave each other presents for Christmas.  We all agreed that this was the highlight of our holiday season....the people, the food, even the gifts.

Last year, we were to have gotten together on December 17th, a Friday night.  I planned the menu carefully as E had gastric bypass surgery the year before.  I planned lots of little things, easy to digest.

And then my mother died on December 12th. 

Instead of gathering with my friends on the 17th at an intimate dinner party at my home, I was standing in line at my mother's wake, greeting visitors. I looked up at one point and saw E, in the middle of the line.  He gave me a big bear hug and I cried and thanked him for coming.  "How could I not?" he said.  I understood then how much comfort a simple gesture like that can bring people at a moment when they need it most.

This year, I did not host the party.  Instead, my husband (who also is a big fan of E's) decided to take E and his wife out to dinner at a nice restaurant.  We went to Legal Harborside and ate a healthy, all-seafood dinner.  Mussels, oysters, clams, baked scrod, crab legs.   Steamed vegetables.  No dessert.

I know E is doing well at his new job and just built a large home on the ocean.  He drove up in his Mercedes and he has kept most of his weight off.

Still, he didn't look as happy to me as he used to be.

I asked him about this and he said, "I miss the people."

I do, too.

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