I’ll call him Mac (mainly because I have forgotten his name) and he was one of those guys that people just seemed to cotton to instantly. A big man, with a big smile and a big laugh, he seemed a natural fit with the rest of the lab crew.
He knew who the jerks were, and made appropriate remarks about them, which we all appreciated. We all liked him. Even though he had only been there a short time, he was One of Us, part of the Crew.
Until . . .
It was a bitterly cold day, and snow covered Northwest Arkansas. A skeleton crew ran the plant, because like most other businesses, our plant was the sort of place which tended to wait to see how many people actually came to work before declaring a “snow day.”
Only a handful of us (Mac hadn’t made it in, or even called) operated the lab that day, and I sat nursing a cup of coffee, reading the day’s paper. I should say at this point that there were those who groused that folks in the lab did nothing but read the paper, drink coffee and talk about politics, sports, movies and whatever else might come to mind, but there are people who will whine about other people no matter what.
Getting back to the Mac at hand, after running my tests for the hour, I was drinking a cup of Joe and reading the woes of the world when my eye fell upon a headline that almost had me ejecting my coffee. Hurriedly, I paged my supervisor to come to the lab, because (like any good gossip) I could not keep this to myself.
When she arrived, I showed her the paper, and her horror was as great as mine.
Seemed like the day before Mac, along with a buddy, had decided to visit an old lady, sort of picked out at random, force their way into her home, badly beat her up, and rob her.
Which pretty much explained the reason for Mac’s not being in the lab that day.
As might be expected, we never heard from Mac - the all around nice guy with the winning smile and the booming laugh - ever again. I wonder if he is still in jail?
Just goes to show you, though. No matter how much you think you know people, and how much you may brag about a “sixth sense,” it’s gonna let you down, and sometimes in a pretty spectacular fashion.
This one’s for you, Betty Jo Dunn
It was with some sadness that I read last week’s obituary of Betty Jo Dunn, 77, who died on July 13.
Betty had worked for Campbell Soup Company for 42 years, which is where I met her and her husband Basil when I worked for the plant, which produced Swanson TV dinners in the 1970s.
She was one of the bright spots of Campbell Soup, and though I have not seen either of the Dunns since I left Soup in 1977, I grieve with her family at her loss.
Quote of the Day
A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm. - Henrik Ibsen