After talking with Princess Wendy the other day (she's now The Cheese Snob), and it being so close to the 8th Anniversary of his passing on, I have to talk about Our Henry.
We came along in the last 8 years of his life. He was by then, Henry the Cheeseman and I loved him instantly. He was, to me, one of those people you just know and love the second you meet them, and that never goes away. Seeing Henry, at any time, started off a kind of music in my head, and life was good. I'd yell after him, "Henry, My Henry!" as we crossed paths around the aisles of the store we worked in. He was, I think, the best boss I ever had. When I first moved here I worked 6 days a week, 1 in his Cheese Dept. I just adored him. Still do. The conversations we had while cutting together, jesus all over the place, but Henry had this look that he'd give you to see if you agreed and/or got what he was saying, and damned if I could ever lie to those eyes. The adventures we had doing slightly shady but fine dealings in cheese, his driving me to the hospital, his views on history and politics. I talked to him for hours about everything under the sun, except who he was.
I never knew the man they describe there. I do know some of his children and his widow. He was this man I worked with and loved, not a Hollywood guy. At his memorial, there was a great display of his lives, because he'd lived several. I had learned a bit by that point, after his death mostly, but I was still surprised at the albums of Hollywood pix. I mean, there was Our Henry directing Elvis Presley. Unreal.
What got us all in the gut was his ever-present chef coat and captain's hat, hanging there above us, clean and empty-pocketed; his equally ubiquitous shopping basket below. Those 3 things were Henry. But he'd left them for good now. There was something both sad and peaceful about it.
I don't think I ever got to thank Greg Howe for the roses he brought me as he was leaving work that day when Henry died. I was crying too much at his sweetness. Thanks, Greg.
Anyway. Henry, you Master of Cheese and Film, Explorer and Funny Guy, I still miss the Hell out of you. You were the only man who laughed with me as my Dad had.
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