In a little more than a month the seventh day of May will begin.
For many of you that day does not mean a lot, while, for others, that day could have some major significance.
If that is a special day for you, whether it be a birthday, anniversary or some other festive event, I offer my wish for you to enjoy the day.
If, however, the day brings sad reminders of loved ones lost or some other tragedy, to you I say “I’m sorry.”
For me, it will become a day mixed with emotion, as it brings to mind a major event in my life, and in yours, too. That was the day back in 1997 that I donned a button up shirt and tie, walked across Mill Street and started my job as a reporter for the Redwood Gazette.
Before you stop to do the math, this year is not a milestone in my career here. I will mark it for another reason in 2019. This year I will remember one of the people who took a risk hiring a guy off of the street who had no journalism background and who admitted his only writing abilities were because of a group of very good English teachers at Redwood Falls-Morton High School.
This year I will remember Lee Henschel.
Many of you may recall the days when Lee served as the local newspaper editor – most of you likely can recall the first time you saw him. I was in high school when I first encountered Lee, and, like other immature teenagers, I stared at him not understanding what was “wrong” with him.
Kids were mean to Lee, but I never got the impression that it really bothered him, because I am guessing he was used to hearing it.
Lee was very good at what he did, and he taught me a lot. (Please don’t hold my errors against him.) Lee has not been in town for quite a few years, and I have lost contact with him.
So, why, you might ask, am I writing about Lee?
Usually, there are only a couple of reasons why someone would take the time to pay homage to another. In this case, the reason is not a happy one. I was told a little more than a week ago that Lee had passed away in January.
I was saddened and a bit embarrassed that nearly two months had gone by before I learned that this person who made such a positive impression on me was gone. I know over the years I have thought about him and have even said in my head “I wonder what Lee is up to now.” I never found out.
I know that he had been involved with the newspaper in Blair, Wis., but beyond that I have not kept up with him. After the initial shock of realizing that Lee, who was just 62, had passed away, I began to think about all of the other people in my life that I have not connected with in a very long time.
That list is very long, but I know it is important for me to make the effort to contact them if only to let them know how much I appreciate their influence on me. I encourage you to do the same.
Reconnect before it’s too late.