Old men find comfort and stability in traditions.
Normally, whoever arrived first at Rudy’s would stake out that day’s meeting place in the restaurant by taking one of the metal chairs, folding it up and leaning it into one of the tables. This was their missing-man formation.
The chair represented the passage of time and the respect old men have for the breath of life which becomes more relevant and revered as each one of them comes closer to taking their last. These old men always remembered their own. They had lost several of late. G. died two days ago. At their ages, this was always anticipated but never easily accepted.
They had developed a tradition to help themselves move on. This was their sixth such traditional gathering, which, by now, all of Rudys’ employees knew about.
It was their practice to get together within 24 hours after the death of a friend. The old men had tried to gather yesterday, but no one, least of all Jim, was ready, and they needed Jim at his best during times like this.
Peter E. Greulich
Pete has been studying IBM and early American corporate history since his retirement in 2011. These are his thoughts and musings, and of those whose biographies he has read with links to articles and book reviews on this website.