I’ve known Jefferson for more than 10 years. He was a friend of my manager at Celestica, and he was recruited to join our team because we were sorely understaffed. Jefferson began our relationship by telling me he wasn’t wearing any underwear. He wasn’t trying to be sexy, he was being funny. I found him to be disturbing and tried to avoid him. But he was always around. He was a little like Rose on Golden Girls – always having interesting stories about eccentric people from Lindsay (instead of St. Olaf’s) – and was making people feel happier. I still wanted no part of him – after all, if he told me about his commando status first off (and who knew if he meant it), I really didn’t want to hear about what came next.
Celestica was ramping up, so they were recruiting a masses of new graduates. They also paid overtime to their office workers. (Who does that?). So, you had half the company in their early to mid-20s in their first office job working paid overtime. Few were married – most weren’t even in relationships – no burden of kids, with excess income. You can well imagine the social scene – drinks out frequently, parties, pub crawls, events. And Jefferson was the centre of it all. He rented a house with a pool nearby the plant, and it quickly became the place to be. Or the place to meet before going to the place to be.
I had to make my peace with Jefferson and I discovered someone with similar values to me. I liked him because of his dynamic ways , he liked me because I can actually tell when he is lying. I haven’t quite joined his inner circle – that is reserved for people born in Lindsay with him, I think. But if I call, he’d come running. Through the years, I have wanted to kill him at moments. We cooked one – and one only – Thanksgiving dinner together, travelled together often, screamed at each other, been so annoyed with each other we couldn’t talk for weeks. I’ve told him what spades are spades, he has told me how it is. But if you can bark at your friend, they are a true friend.
I am never quite sure what Jefferson is thinking or doing, but through the years, I’ve learned to accept it. So when he showed up in Huntsville at 7 am Monday morning for a visit, who knew what he was doing? Just go with it. And it was a good day.
April 2, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Don’t judge a man by his underwear, but keep your wits about you.