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!