What you don’t know about him: he lost his entire crew in Tbilisi covering the civil war in 1992. As the bureau chief, he had to go out and literally gather the body parts, pack them, and ship them back to the men’s respective homelands. He couldn’t track down the body of his Georgian cameraman. It had been buried in a mass grave and no one knew which. For the man’s mother, he had to write a letter. What you don’t know about him: he has a PhD in journalism from Duke University. But this was back in the 60s when Duke wasn’t the Duke we know now. He caught a scholarship in some way or another. When he studied, tuition was a thousand a year. What you don’t know about him: he married a Philippino woman in Tel Aviv in 1970. He had been assigned to Israel after the war in ’67. He calls his wife Butch. They have a son who studies Jazz Improv at a small university satellite campus on the coast of the Atlantic. What you don’t know about him: he’s the little man with the oversized spare tire and the Marlboro Lights, sitting in the garden area at lunch hardly talking to anyone. He always drinks a Diet Coke. From time to time, he carries ice water in an old, plastic cup yellowing at the brim, where his lips usually touch. What you don’t know about him: a few years ago he voluntarily underwent electric shock therapy to treat spiraling depression. And from time to time, on his days off, he calls me from his house, a bit high on wine, and invites me over to have dinner and talk. I’ve always declined.
In the spring, every year, just outside the offices in the back garden with Wisteria in bloom, clambering up the pergola, thousands of bumblebees rush around frantically pollinating and feeding on nectar. What you don’t know about him: