|Rudy in his role in Casino, 1995.|
The graceful spirit of Rudy attracted my attention subtly in the place so familiar to me. Here and there, I found notes in his distinctive hand. I could imagine him writing down the dinner orders of his favorite customers. There were some crib sheets in the files, notes to himself how to execute certain operations on the computer. But it was the notes about the damned chicken that reminded me I don't have the same grace that Rudy had. George caters lunch on Fridays for quite a large group of workers, with enough for most to take home leftovers. Sometimes lunch consists of mountains of pizza or pounds of Memphis barbecue. I've seen shovels full of Panda Express served, Rudy having taken my personal request privately and serving it on a real (not paper or styrofoam) plate. But - oh - the chicken lunch. You see, I can maybe come close some Friday if I design the lunch to be chicken. Because Rudy left a trail. I know where to call to place the order. 75 pieces, no wings. Potato and macaroni salad. OK, I can replicate that. The napkins won't be as nicely set out and I'm kind of lax about making sure to get those salads into glass bowls rather than the catering dishes. But I can bring in the same chicken and try to lend some semblance of fellowship shared over a meal. And I can try to be as good to other human beings as was Rudy.
I can see some emails and blog post comments coming in - very kindly - asking about my first day back at work. It was wonderful, exhausting, poignant. I'm already writing about it. But this one will first stand alone in Rudy's memory. "Les, you look good!" I thank my readers for their indulgence.