Every night…before he signed off from his nighttime radio show, Henry Dickson would say, “This…is for you.”
And then his faithful listeners would hear the beginning lyrics of the song “In the Still of the Night.”
That huge 1960 Billboard hit by the Five Satins was Henry’s favorite song when he was seventeen years old and a dashingly, good-looking senior attending his high school prom.
His bright white dinner jacket highlighted his sun-bleached hair and recently sun-burned face.
Back in the 60’s no one wore sun screen…why would you?
He and his friends had spent most of the day surfing and playing volleyball on the beach close to their homes in Santa Monica, California.
Later that night…and to no one’s surprise…the very popular Henry was named “Prom King”. There had been a “Prom Queen as well.. Her name might have been Annie…but not many remembered.
As the years rolled by…and class reunions came and went…classmates all remembered the charming Henry…who had the endearing ability to remember all of them.
Henry was a gifted story teller and as he got older…that talent enabled him to become the most popular afternoon drive-time radio host in San Francisco.
His radio listeners especially loved it when he drifted back in time to share stories of his sometimes “sensational past”.
Occasionally, Henry’s stories seemed to push the boundaries of reality…but very few of his listeners minded.
“Sometimes a good story is just that,” he would say, “a good story”. And his fans most often agreed and eagerly anticipated more.
A perfect example of a “good story” was his very own personal account of how he…a life-long resident of California…ended up in a sleepy little town in northern Minnesota… nestled on the edge of Lake Superior.
Henry’s parents had died much too young in a horrific car accident. They had always told Henry…who was their only child…that they wanted their ashes to be sprinkled along the rocky shores of Lake Superior.
This is where they had spent their honeymoon many years ago…and this is where they had wanted to spend eternity.
The heart-broken Henry took a three-week leave of absence from his radio show and journeyed with his black and white calico cat, Cisco, to Rocky Point, Minnesota.
He dutifully and with tears falling freely from his eyes…slowly scattered his parent’s ashes along the shoreline as thunderous Lake Superior waves came crashing in around him and appropriate storm clouds gathered in the distance.
The next day Henry rented a rustic but definitely high-end cabin overlooking the magnificent Lake Superior.
He then stocked the cupboards with…among other things…Cisco’s favorite varieties of Fancy Feast cat food and filled the refrigerator/freezer with his favorite foods including rib-eye steaks, chicken filets and tomato juice.
He converted a closet into a pantry and loaded it with necessary staples and essential supplies.
He also made sure he had plenty of Jim Beam whiskey and cartons of Marlboro cigarettes…even though he planned to quite smoking…soon.
Finally, he bought two very comfortable patio chairs…one for him and one for Cisco.
The large, screened-in deck which faced the lake, provided a spectacular view and when he and Cisco chose to get up early…which was never very often…they were treated to magnificent sunrises.
The intense beauty of Lake Superior was magical and soon began to ease his broken heart.
Henry and Cisco never left.