On Monday, I arrived at the office and made a most disheartening discovery. Henry, a lizard who has been my friend at the office for the past five years, passed away.
I first met Henry two months into my employment here at the paper. It was a very trying time for me, for I was still learning the ropes and had doubts if I was even cut out for this job.
While I could always talk to my parents about things, I did not want to burden them with my troubles. My brother Jimmy had moved to Albuquerque and long-time friend Dustin Gray was going through some trying times of his own.
I was sitting at my desk one afternoon when my eyes caught something waddling across the floor. Staring back at me was this lizard.
At first glance he was just your average lizard, but as I approached him he had the most peculiar walk. I am not sure if he was injured before and never healed right, but Henry always had this little waddle, sort of a sashay if you will.
I chose not to pursue him and let him go about his business. A couple days later I saw Henry sashay back inside and he made his way over to the copy/fax machine. As I looked over at him he was looking up at me. I told him “Back again I see.”
I know this will sound crazy. Strike that. It was crazy. But I began to talk to Henry. I vented my problems to him and he sat quietly and listened. The funny part is it helped to vent. I found myself feeling better about the work I was doing.
I was always happy to see my little friend and often asked him where he had been. Over the next five years Henry made many appearances at the office. He scared a few of the associates but he never really did any harm.
He also kept the bug population down. If it was crawling, chances were Henry would take care of it.
One night former Managing Editor Chelle Delaney was putting together the paper and Henry ran across her feet. This of course made her scream things I can not repeat.
I’d like to say she was the only one Henry startled but one another co-worker was using the photo computer and as they began to type, Henry sprung out from behind the phone onto the keyboard. My guess is Henry climbed the wall or telephone cord up to the desk and was lying in wait. He always was a kidder.
So let me answer the question some of you, if not all, may be asking. Why did I name him Henry?
Well, one night I was working on the histories, or the Looking Back, as they are called now. The TV was on and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was showing.
I looked down at the floor and my little friend was watching the TV. I asked him, “Enjoying the movie? It is one of my favorites.”
The movie was ending and Sallah asked Henry Jones (Sean Connery) why he calls Indiana Jones “Junior.” To which Connery replies “That's his name, Henry Jones Junior.”
So, I looked down at my friend and told him, “Well I guess I’ll call you Henry.”
I’ve prepared a coffin for Henry and plan to bury him. While to most this may seem excessive, to me it seems only fitting to give my old friend a proper good-bye.
Thomas Garcia writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: