The 8:16

Bernie loved the Red Sox.
And he loved pretty women.
But mostly Bernie loved his Budweiser.
I say that because he always referred to it as ‘my Budweiser’.

Up at 3 in the morning everyday, he would open the train station where I catch the daily commuter rail to Boston.
Though he had seemingly no teeth to speak of, something inside him was always smiling.
You just couldn’t walk away from this man and not feel better about the world around you. His job was simple security, but he did it well.

About a month ago, I realized I hadn’t seen Bernie and asked around the station to see if anyone knew his whereabouts.
The ‘bagel & ticket man’ at the station said he probably took a long and much needed vacation.
Probably off drinking some ice, cold Bud, I thought.
Good for Bernie.
He so deserved it.

I got to the station this morning and bought a bagel and a New York Times and went upstairs to the train landing because it was a beautiful day.
On my way outside I saw a piece of paper taped to the inside of the front door.
From a distance it looked like an obituary.

As I drew closer I read the name: Bernard C. Jensen, 76.

I stood there reading his obit wondering how many people catching the train actually knew him and knew that he was gone.
Son of a bitch, I never even got to say goodbye (a re-occurring theme in my life).
I believe that one person can make a difference in our lives and Bernie was just that kind of man.
The train station seems different in a very subtle way.
For me, anyway.
It felt fitting for me to post this on Memorial Day weekend.
Bernie was a veteran of the Korean War and was awarded a Bronze Star.
No surprise there.

The red and green lights just came on, Bernie; the train is coming.
I still remember the day you told me your little ‘Commuter Rail conductor’ secret.
You made me feel special, but then again you had the ability to make everyone feel that way.
Sweet peace to you, kind sir; the sweetest of peace to you, Bernard.
Your long journey has reached its final destination, albeit prematurely.
Here’s to you, my friend . . .



Happy Memorial Day to one and all! 


9 thoughts on “The 8:16

  1. What a good thing that someone left this note in the station!
    This reminds me of when I was living in Venice (Italy). On the corner of the streete they leave notes of the people that died, including a recent and sometimes not so recent picture. This way everyone who wants to find out can find out. And also people without a name but whose faces are missed get a note.
    You will miss your budweiser friend now, have a beer for him tonight!

    I’m having a Wild Turkey for him instead.
    He would have wanted it this way. 😉
    Tanks, RW. . .


  2. I love people like Bernie. We all have at least one in our lives, the fellow at the local gas station, grocery store, library, corner market. They make us feel good and feel as though that precious human connection isn’t lost after all.
    Here’s to Bernie, hoping he’s standing at the big Bud station in the sky having a cold one.

    Amen, kiddo.
    He’s sucking down a cold one right now.


  3. i was taking a mouthful of bourbon and coke when i started reading this…i had another when i was finished…great post

    Could never do the bourbon and coke thing. Oh, well.
    Glad you had another one for Bernie.
    Thanks, Moe.


  4. Great post. The world would be a better place if there were more Bernie’s in it AND they were remembered like this.

    Bernie would say ‘why thank you, young lady’


  5. that was touching and brought a tear to my eye. RIP old friend.

    I thought he was deserving of at least a few kind words.
    Thanks, JB…


  6. What a lovely tribute. I love how you observe the people around you and notice the little things. I try, but I still seem to miss so much. Lucky you.

    It just takes practice, Lass.
    There are thousands of moments in everyone’s day that can be written about.
    You just have to open the creative eyes.
    It’s out there.
    Thanks for the comment.


  7. You know, you’re killing me! I believe that you probably brought him as much joy as he did to you – he knew you’d miss him too! 76 years, that’s a good life, and he was working right to the end, bless his heart!

    I certainly want to think that, Bella.
    He really was a good guy.
    btw- thanks for the link!


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